Game Reviews
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MLB 2k8 Review

With the baseball season in full swing its time for us to take a look at MLB2K8 and see if it delivers in the clutch or if it’s a complete failure like the past few years installments of the series. So lace up your cleats and strap on your cup ‘cuz like Roger Clemons with a 15 year old (allegedly), we’re ready for some action.

Here in lies the biggest problem that plagued this series in years past, sloppy, poorly executed game play mechanics. Well thankfully this year, all those issues of the past have been resolved. Fielding animations, which where atrocious in years past have been completely reworked and for the most part look great although glitches do spring up from time to time. Now momentum plays a role in the fielding process and throwing is more authentic as now a meter fills to dictate the amount of power you wish to put behind a throw. Too much power and you’ll throw it away, like the Rocket did to his legacy (allegedly), too little force and you’ll lob it to the base and the runner will beat out the throw. While much improved these mechanics aren’t perfect.

As I stated, glitches pop up which is a real problem with this game. Too often your fielder will simply stand there doing his best Bill Buckner impersonation and let a grounder roll right past him or even worse, your outfields from time to time encounter invisible barriers that prevent them from catching routine pop ups leaving them looking more foolish than a terrified Bobby Abreu nearing the right field wall. Sometimes you will even bounce off these barriers and your fielder will be sent sprinting in the opposite directing leading to extra base hits on what should have been outs.

The pitching system also received a major overhaul this season as the 2K crew introduced total control pitching. This system implements the right thumb stick and uses intuitive movements (much like Fight Night) to mimic the actual pitching motion. While a nice idea the novelty wears thin pretty quickly especially while playing through a full season. Most of you will find yourself switching back to the old pitching style after a handful of games and only utilizing this feature against other human players.

Batting was also nicely improved with new controls that allow the player to accurately pull the ball. After only a hard full of at bats you’ll feel like you have more control than ever before. Soon after you pick up the controller you’ll be hitting the ball harder than Brett Myers hits his wife(allegedly). Bottom line this aspect of the game they nailed perfectly.

Base running on the other hard still has major problems. Quite often you’ll find yourself getting thrown out at a bag because the run command didn’t respond. Worse, from time to time when in a run down or retreating back to a base your runner will literally freeze in place as if Sub-Zero was on the opposing team and was about to perform a fatality on the infield. Another issue that plaques running as well as much of the other elements of the game is how inaccurate the player attributes are, too often you’ll find players who are fast as lightening in real life shackled with mid 80’s speed ratings.

Granted you can’t expect the fine people at 2k to be psychic so you can forgive inaccurate ratings for unproven talent and prospects, but when it spills over into veteran players, I’m less forgiving. Especially when some inaccuracies are so glaring. Take Ryan Howard for one. The man broke Adam Dunn’s record for number of times struck out in a season yet somehow 2k gives him an incredibly high contact rating. Fausto Carmona and C.C. Sabathia dominated the majors last year yet neither can crack a 90 rating. These are just the tip of the iceberg as you will find yourself fuming with rage like Ugueth Urbina with a machete in one hand and gas can in the other when you pick up the game and spend 10 plus hours simply correcting roster errors before you can even play the damn thing.

These glitches and roster errors underscore the games ultimate unraveling flaw. It simply was never finished. The product ship and sold was at best 80% complete. You don’t believe me? Pick it up and try to play a season as the Padres, you can’t even make a single roster move for that team, the feature is simply broken. Also broken lies most of the games presentation. All the detail that went into distinct batter walk up animations goes for naught as cut scenes and replays play choppily and bring the frame rate to a screaming halt, even causing freezing at times, leaving you no course but to turn them both off. As far as the commentary goes, its not very good, so expect to be hearing the same shit every single game.

So all in all, MLB 2K8 was a solid game that had the potential to be great, with this being perhaps the last installment of the series, if the EA takeover takes place, it’s just a shame they couldn’t go out on top. However one last thing needs to be said. Releasing a game for $60 that isn’t finished, that isn’t even close to being finished, and then failing to promptly release any sort of patch to fix the problems is complete and utter bullshit. Never disrespect your customers like that because remember there’s always MLB The Show.

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