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It might actually be a winner
Published on February 28, 2007 By terpfan1980 In XBOX

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2KSports Major League Baseball 2K7

A much improved sophomore effort...

Last year's effort by Kush Games and 2KSports was something to be forgotten -- if you could actually forget it -- due to bugs and obvious signs of having rushed the game out the door without an adequate level of quality control and testing.  (Somewhere in my prior articles you should see my comments on the game actually).

This season it seems that things have been righted and an adequate amount of time was taken -- perhaps all of the time since last year's horrible effort -- and the product is much improved because of it.

This article isn't meant as a full review.  Please check other sites for that.  This is just a quick first impressions type article with some comments on the game.

Some reminders of last year's problems:

Last year the game would literally crash 99.9% of the time, at least as it was released.  Until a patch was released, it was a virtual certainty that you'd not be able to complete a game.  Even when the patch was released, there were still game stopping problems and workarounds were required before you could actually play a regular game.  Some modes had to be completely ignored as they were guaranteed to crash/lock the game up.

Those problems do seem to have been resolved this season.

How is the eye candy?

Last year the player models looked ok, this year they show obvious improvement.  Overall the graphics for everything seem a bit crisper and better.  Not worlds better, but better.  Enough to notice.  For the player close-ups quite noticable in fact.

The stadium graphics also have been improved, and there's been a very noticable improvement to the crowds in the stands.  They still look a bit too much like cartoon characters at times, but not nearly as bad as last year.

About the audio:

The game still features play-by-play calls from the great Jon Miller (of ESPN) and color commentary by Joe Morgan.  It also features a studio voice from Jeanne Zelasko and analyst commentary from Steve Physioc.  All of these folks seemed to have recorded a fairly deep selection of audio for their roles in the game.  Of course, over time it can get repetitive, but such is the nature of the beast with most of these sports games (football, hockey, baseball all included).

Is it worth my money?

Well, if you want Major League Baseball, in the current season, then your choice is 2KSports' game or no game at all.  (Thank Electronic Arts for starting the battle of the exclusive licenses )  EA is prohibited by license/exclusive contract from releasing an MLB baseball game.  They instead release an NCAA College baseball game using their previously developed (and improved over time) baseball game engine.  Personally I like 2KSports' baseball better anyway -- at least when it's "on" and right.  When it is "off" or screwed up like it was last year, it really doesn't deserve anyone's support.

This season seems to be worth the money.  It has lost it's rough edges and problems related to being rushed to market last year, and has gained enough little improvements and fixes to be worth your gaming dollars.


Comments
on Feb 28, 2007
I'll try to remember to add some additional comments as I play through more of the game and test out all of the various modes and features in depth.
on Feb 28, 2007

A friend had a few questions following a copy of the original article contents from above that I had neglected to include words on this article being intended as quick comments only (and not a full review) in the introduction to the other copy.

Some of his questions were:

How about some game play specifics...

  • pitching tougher?
  • hitting easier?
  • catchers calling pitches?

Thanks

My answers to his questions are included below for benefit of others that might have some of the same questions and a few more.



uh, try renting it

or, give me a little more time to play through more than just a couple of games.

or, check out full reviews at other sites.


Actually, I deleted the "disclaimer" that I put in at the top of my original of those comments. Sorry about that. It wasn't meant to be a full review, it was meant to be some quick comments about the game and a comparison against last year.

Not that much has changed since last year's game really. What has happened is that the problems that were there last year have been resolved and things are improved where they should be.

The game mechanics last season weren't bad but unfortunately most people couldn't see that because the game was full of bugs that would lock it up or freeze it at the worst and most frustrating times. Those problems are fixed now, the game plays smoothly through full games (gee, who'd have expected that ) and delivers a reasonable baseball experience for your money.

If you really want to know about the hitting interface, pitching, etc., then I'd say check out full reviews elsewhere. Each reviewer/commenter will bring their own bias to the game and I tend to be someone that plays on easier levels and uses simpler interfaces. I don't much care for gimmicks like hit sticks or other more complicated ways of hitting or pitching. I don't have the time to sit and get the timing and controls down so using something other than the classic swing doesn't normally work for me.

On the pitching front, I was happy with the pitching system last year *once I got used to it* I was forced to get used to the games pitching system though as I previously preferred the pitch to zones type interface. This year uses the same pitching system as last year and works fine for me. Of course other player's mileage may vary so get the demo or rent the game and see what you think yourself.
on Feb 28, 2007

And a few more words and follow-up:

See player reviews and other comments at Gamespot.com

Most people seem to be very pleased with it (the game), with scores averaging 9.1 (out of 10) currently. I notice one obviously unable to be pleased reviewer gave it a 6.0, another fairly picky individual gave it a 7.5, and the rest are hitting 8's and above.

If you aren't too picky, I think it's a good game, and would spend the money on it. If you hated the way the pitching was last year, or the way the hitting was, then don't expect a lot of change and perhaps consider a different game instead (though I'm still not a fan of the EA game myself. It's too arcadish, too easy to hit home runs, and it's not MLB. I have virtually zero interest in college baseball, and probably never will have interest in it until they do away with the aluminum bat and get real).

on Mar 02, 2007
I had a little gaming time last nite and actually got into an online MLB 2K7 match. Picked up the "cake walk" achievement for completing a 9 inning online game. I sucked hard at offense (though I did get one dinger in the game ) for the most part, and totally blew the pitching job in one inning, but over all had a good time. My defense let me down at a few points (stupid shortstop!!), but the game played smoothly throughout.

Was a bit disappointed because it seemed that my opponent wasn't using his microphone (never heard any thing from him/her) and was more frustrated in not being able to easily figure out how to START a game for myself. I used the quick game option to jump into a game and was stuck with whatever I'd get there.

The game has a couple of different levels broken out in their lobby system so you are supposed to be able to jump in with beginners/noobs, etc., or with hardcore gamers, etc. I could get into those rooms (with morons chatting and trash talking), but couldn't figure out how to just start a game from within that area (it seemed to make sense that you'd have to challenge someone to a game, wait for them to take the challenge, etc.)

Most definitely a better game than last year. Was pleasantly surprised that my opponent was able to change his batting options without affecting mine. I could see where he/she changed to using classic batting, rather than swingstick (I'm trying to force myself to use the swingstick though I suck badly at it).

I can see myself spending a good bit of time playing through a season in the game and that's a great thing. Looking like it'll be well worth the price of buying it this year, and also looks like next year would be a truly great game if they keep tweaking and fixing. Fix the few little glitches that remain, tweak a few features and perhaps add more depth to some modes, but mostly keep on the same path they're on this year and the game will definitely be a classic.
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