So I decided to buy MLB 2k9 today, which is the release date of the game from Sega's 2k Sports. The past two years I bought the MLB 2k games and really enjoyed them, so as you could imagine, my expectations were very high. And you may be asking yourself, why not buy MLB 09: The Show? Well, I downloaded the demo and hated it. So, without further adieu...
The first impression you get from any game is the home screen which automatically jumps the user into the "Exhibition" mode. Yeah, it's your standard setup for multi player modes. However, to bring up the menu you must use the right stick. Without knowing that, I found myself button mashing with no effect.
From there, I went right into the Franchise Mode which was pretty simple. Everything was going pretty well until I tried to call up/send down prospects. This was a complete mess. Instead of the side-by-side format like past versions, you couldn't compare players from the 2 different levels. It's hard to explain but it was a pain in the ass.
And my other pet peeve in franchise mode is the trading. I acquired Pujols, Mauer, Peavy, Chris Young, Ben Sheets, and Manny Ramierez and I actually made my payroll cheaper. CPU's accept trades too easily which can leave you with a super team. Let's be honest, the Cards would never trade Pujols.
Well, honestly, the music is comical at some points. You have Europe's "The Final Countdown" and can't help but laugh. But honestly, the music is pretty solid. As always, you have some established artists thrown in with some indie bands... But one thing is lacking: there is no song from the Cool Kids.
Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips were a huge relief to hear rather than another year of Miller and Morgan. Wow. This is sensational. The commentary is not perfect, but the retooled a lot of it. I was pretty impressed and I love Gary Thorne, so I can't complain much. One cool feature is that Phillips will start a conversation, Thorne will interrupt with the action, and then respond to Phillips comment.
Grade: B+ (The Final Countdown? Really??)
Well, I'm playing on a standard definition TV because that's the kind of TV that my roommate brought to school. Damn you Ken. But, it looks pretty good still. The players characteristics look great and the fields are well-designed.
Animations are sub par at best though...
They didn't change anything really...
Well, this was completely redone (again). I'm not too thrilled about it. It's a two-step system that is just the wind-up and the stick motion. There is no release this year which makes it rather hard to time up your pitches if you are used to the old style of pitching. Luckily you can choose to add the final step which I did. For those of you old-schoolers, you can still assign a pitch to each button and do the old wind up. It works well. Overall, the pitching is not as good as last year's, but it is still good
I think my biggest issue of the game is this. Fielders are slow and have absolutely no urgency. My outfielders jog to a ball casually and to switch to the nearest fielder, you have to press X/A... It's stupid.
Infielders take their time when making a play which can leave you with men on base from a casual ground ball at times. Turning a double play is very hard and it leaves you frustrated...
Base running is the same as last year essentially. The only difference in fielding (other than the slow reaction time) and base running from past games is the fact that the controls are all completely different. It routinely messes up players that had this game in the past. 2k, why did you mess with our controls?
Well, they use a different system that rewards the best players and punishes the average player. Most of the all-stars peak at about a 90 overall rating while the superstars are the only ones that can get into the high 90's. Pujols is a 99 (deservedly so) and Lincecum is a 95. Most of the other players on your team will tend to be in the lower 80s or mid 70's. However, some of your relievers may get as low as the mid 60's!
As far as team ratings go, the Yanks reign supreme after a 400+ million dollar summer. Besides the Red Sox, they were significantly better than just about every team. Well, the Yanks the past few years have been nothing special, so I have an issue with this.
Time will tell if the ratings get fixed as the rosters will be updated each day. Stay tuned for those.
The foundation is there, but the execution isn't. Next year, 2k has to redo a lot of things in this game. If they can, they will have one of the great sports games on their hands. Let's hope that they can turn it around after great games from the previous two years.
My advice to you is to rent or download a demo of the game first. Form your own opinion...
Grade: B- (with room for improvement)