Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This is my "prove it to me" face

There's an interesting article on Kotaku about the spring release of MLB 2K10, which amounts to your only option for a simulation-based baseball game on the Xbox 360 this year. Obviously, you can always go out and buy "The Bigs" but if you want a game that most closely resembles what you see on TV (especially in the post-Roid era) this is it.

For the record, last year was the first time in a decade that I opted for none of the above when springtime rolled around and I needed my baseball fix. If you need any explanation as to why, look no further than the review's first few sentences:

2K Sports' baseball franchise, maybe more than any other sports title, will have this year's title judged against and compared to last year's offering, and not for its good qualities.

It's hard to tell whether last year's MLB 2K9 - one of the worst-reviewed (and deservedly so) games ever for this class of sports simulation - raises or lowers consumer expectations for MLB 2K10. 2K9 suffered from glitches, clipping, bizarre baserunning and fielding AI, and, frankly, unacceptable graphics, especially in the player modeling.

Setting that aside, I was unimpressed with the buggy nature of the previous offering and decided that I wasn't going to waste any more money until I saw some signs of improvement.

It's become industry standard for sports titles to update rosters, add new stadiums and introduce a new control gimmick, regardless of the sport. Jump around to reviews of the Madden franchise and you'll likely see complaints that echo those thoughts.

At the core, however, I require the games to play and play well. Unfortunately, after signing the exclusive license, 2K went off the rails with its baseball offerings. Those shortcoming are well-documented here. And here. And here (which is my favorite, as I got to title a post, "Thanks for the bobblehead, a-holes).

By this early report, it looks like the franchise might be on the mend - but I still find it appalling that the reason they claim last year was such a failure was a nine-month production timeline. While I can appreciate that the team is apparently taking responsibility for such a failure, that doesn't do much to restore their credibility until they start to produce a worthwhile product again.

More than that, where's the pressure from MLB to get this right or to step aside for someone who can produce? They have essentially handed their exclusive license over to a company that not only shoots themselves in the foot, but also edges baseball out of a market that is already dominated by the Maddens and FIFAs of the world.

By my count, it's been 2 or 3 years since I've seen a respectable game for the 360 and I'm out of patience. I can only imagine how upset the league must be at this point.

(Image from:



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