|Review: Major League Baseball 2K10 (PC)||| Print |||Send|
Written by Bjoern Hartig (Contact & Archive) on April 23, 2010
If you have been looking for a MLB baseball game on the PC, you did not have much of a choice recently. While the Playstation 3 has the (apparently*) great MLB The Show franchise, ever since EA Sports lost the official license in 2005, on the PC, you were left with either (albeit great) simulation games like Out Of The Park (OOTP X review, OOTP 11 review upcoming) or Baseball Mogul (review) or with the old MVP Baseball games from EASports, which, while great and kept alive by an active modding community, were getting a little long in the tooth.
Then in 2009, a new player entered the scene: 2KSports released Major League Baseball 2k9, playable on pretty much all major platforms (Xbox, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii), including - finally - the PC. Unfortunately, the game disappointed all along the line. Reviewers criticized the abundance of bugs and complained that the game generally appeared half-finished. Now it is one year later and the new version 2k10 has hit the shelves. Can it do better than its predecessor*?
* I should note that I neither own a PS3 nor any of the earlier versions of the 2KSports franchise, so all comparisons made are to the old MVP games, which in my mind are still the benchmark for PC players. Also, let me say that you need to play the game with a gamepad. The keyboard could be used, but it really is not fun to do so.
I did not encounter the graphical bugs that I read about in other reviews, but I guess these things are often as much the fault of the graphic card then the game itself. My Radeon 5770 at least performed perfectly. The only glitches I encountered were during the automatic swing replays. They did show something, just not the batter. My guess is that these problems are due to the different resolutions on the PC, but since you would turn the automatic swing replay off sooner than later anyways, I would not make too much it.
With the left stick, you can aim your swing up and down or left and right in order to pull or go opposite field. Alternatively, when activating the batter's eye function, you can focus on a particular spot of the strike zone, waiting for the right pitch.
Even though I was used to just pressing a single button to swing, I like the way MLB2k10 does it better. The only drawback is that the game has no check swings implemented. Still, hitting is fun and with precisely adjustable difficulty settings, it never gets frustrating.
The only gripe I have about the pitching system is that it is too easy to aim the fastball when behind in the count, so you rarely walk people. Still, this is much more fun than just pressing and releasing a button, especially since your pitch selection will more closely resemble real life now.
What I liked was the flashing of win probability changes after big plays. At the same time, crowning a "clutch performer of the game" is a feature that 2KSports had better delayed until next year. While the game occasionally gets it right, the majority of the time is chooses someone who is the definition of un-clutch. In a game in which my team scored 10 runs on 20 hits, it chose someone who went 1-5 with no RBI. Seriously?
One thing I noticed though is that the AI seems to stick too long with starters. Sometimes way too long. In the game mentioned above, I had scored eight runs after five innings, yet the pitcher was allowed to stay in the game until the eighth inning, giving up two more runs and throwing more than 160 pitches. It is not always that drastic, but 120 pitches is more the norm than the exception.
In the game, there are several drills to learn the different aspects of the game. Unfortunately, the controller does not work in them. No reaction, nothing. Using the keyboard is no option, because you just do not want to play the game with the keyboard when you have a controller. You just do not want to play with the keyboard, period. Not sure if I had missed the drill modes if they had not been included, but when they simply do not work, it reflects poorly on the whole game.
There is a "My Player" mode allowing you to create a player and guide him to the majors through the minors. You receive points for getting hits, scoring runs, making plays on defense and executing plays like hit-and-runs, then use those points to improve your skills. It can be a lot of fun if you are a pitcher, but for position players, the system is still quite flawed. For example, even if you are becoming a big and slow slugging first baseman, you still have to accomplish some baserunning feats before you get the call-up to the Bigs.
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