Siberian Baseball

Sunday, March 07, 2010

This year in baseball titles: Steak vs. not poop like last year

Given the current state of video game production contracts, most of us are locked into one sports game or another. Sure, there's the small handful of lucky bastards who have a shiny new Playstation 3 sitting in the cabinet next to an Xbox 360, but most of us make a decision early on and live with whatever comes our way.

(For the short story on background, 2K Sports has the contract for Major League Baseball, like EA has for the NFL with its Madden series. If the console manufacturer decides to produce a game solely for their console, they're allowed. Hence, the standard bearer for MLB games - MLB The Show - is made by Sony for Sony and is not allowed to be sold for the Xbox or Wii.)

The two releases this year are the above mentioned MLB: The Show (PS3)and MLB 2K10 (All platforms). Last year was a total write off for 2K after they re-assigned the title internally, cut their production cycle short and generally pissed off everyone who bought a copy of the game. Personally, I never touched the thing - I saw the awful, awful reviews and steered clear - but much of this year's marketing centered around members of the development teams telling the various blogs that they had embraced the suck that was last year and that they swore they'd never do it again.

Also, that they'd be giving away a million bucks for the first verified perfect game pitched in 2K10.

Here are the reviews for the games (both from Kotaku):
The Show

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the respective arcs of the two games. The Show continues to set the pace, while 2K10 (which owns the multi-platform license, for crying out loud) has just managed to pull itself up out of sewer.

The two reviews stand in stark contrast, with 2K10 getting marks for fixing last year's fiasco of a game and some basic gameplay tweaks. The Show's review reads like a love letter to Sony, and damn if I don't want to rush out and buy a PS3 just to see this:

At the end of a play, players don't go into mannequin mode. They greet each other at first base, shake their spikes out and adjust their caps. Fans lean over the railing at foul balls. Boston's Victor Martinez flexes his bicep at each base on a home-run trot. I saw an umpire get blasted by a foul tip and drop to his knees in agony. This isn't core gameplay. But just like doubles off the wall and diving catches, this also is what happens in baseball.

That sounds like so much fun that I wouldn't even care if it took me a few days to finally win a game.

(Image from