Siberian Baseball

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thanks for the bobblehead, a-holes

The next in a long line of disappointing releases surrounding Major League Baseball
is apparently Major League Baseball 2K8 for the Xbox 360.

Just a quick glance at the 2K Sports message boards seems to support this perception. Unfortunately, without any competition because of the exclusive licensing deal, there's not a lot of room for gamers to take their dollars elsewhere. As happy as I was to see Electronic Arts get screwed after they locked out competition in the NFL market, it seems that many of the worst case scenarios imagined by angry sports gamers are now here.

I won't get into too much detail right now - in fairness, I've only been able to play the game for a very short period of time so far - but with overhauls of the pitching, batting and fielding mechanics, it's just asking for trouble.

I appreciate the effort made by the developers as they tied all of the essential game functions to the two analog sticks on the controller and are getting away from traditional button pushing. For example, instead of pushing a button to swing, you pull back the stick on the controller to start your step and push ahead to swing - it's an impressive step towards a more intuitive game and I understand that.

Here are my concerns after limited time spent with 2K8:

* In two games with my franchise mode, both have been rained out before the fifth inning, making the game's stats irrelevant by rule. However, the calendar won't advance without the game being recorded. So, I'm back where I started, having to play Opening Day for a third time this evening.

* The printed instructions that came with the game are incorrect. They apparently cut and pasted last year's manual, changed the headings to SwingStick 2.0 and sent off the game. It took combing through the forums to confirm that the instructions were misprinted. Awesome.

* For 60 bucks, I get a free Jose Reyes bobblehead and a buggy game. Luckily, the Xbox 360 accepts updates via an Internet connection, so some of the glitches will be fixed. While I can appreciate the fact that games can now be patched in order to correct problems, you know what's better?

A game that's properly tested and programmed before its release date. That's like 100 times better.



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