Major League Baseball 2K8 Review

First thing’s first, let’s get this out of the way before I even get into the review. If you love going to the ballpark, have at least two bobble head figures in your room, a big foam finger mitt on your desk and a home team pennant tacked proudly on your wall, MLB 2K8 will appeal to you. For all others who either laugh at the sport of baseball as a boring and tedious event or only have a mild interest in the game, you might as well pass this one by and move on.

The production team who put MLB 2K8 together are true baseball fans and this peeks through in all the various little details that baseball fans can appreciate. Things such as the accuracy in throwing a pitch, the way you bat, AI opponents that are worthy against your managing skills, signature player moves that you’ll recognize immediately for each player, and a new baseball card reward system that will have you playing this game for a long time in order to fill up your virtual baseball card album–these features and more will appeal to the diehard baseball fanatic.

Appealing to baseball fans is one thing, but successfully implementing these game components so they are fun is another matter altogether. Without going into excruciatingly fine detail about how each and every element of gameplay works, let’s just say that for the most part, MLB 2K8 does a pretty nice job of simulating a baseball game. But in saying this, the extremely hard-core fan will pick on various things such as inaccurate commentary by the announcers Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, notice that the AI players can sometimes react slowly when you try to steal bases or are too fast in reacting to game situations, and a host of other things.

The Swing Stick 2.0 method of batting, using the right and left joysticks, forces you to do what the big leaguers do–time your bat swing and guess where the pitch will be. The effectiveness of how well you hit the ball is tied in with the real stats of the player–you may or may not like this feature because it’ll slow down the game–and the tradeoff was for more realism in lieu of action. If you take the easy route of just swinging in the strike zone, you’ll see more pop flies and groundouts then you can shake a stick at, so to speak. It takes a bit of practice to get your batting down, but it can be done. Get lazy with your pitching by not timing your release or following through with the right stick pattern of your particular pitch and the opposing batter will get a nice big fat meatball to hit out of the park or hit a triple off the wall.

If you are an armchair manager, you’ll be happy at the chance to prove your skills in the franchise, manager showdown, tournament and situation modes. If you love collecting baseball cards, the game has a reward system that will give you various cards based upon winning games and performing spectacular plays, or if you want to save time, buy them with game credits. You’ll be able to compete against others online or trade your cards.

If you expect an arcade environment where you can strike out every batter or hit a home run every time you go to the plate, you’ll be in for a big disappointment because there really are no arcade features in this game. But although MLB 2K8 is meant for the hardcore, it does have just enough wiggle room to include gamers who are not baseball junkies but still follow the game; they’ll just enjoy it on a different level.

The graphics for this year’s MLB 2K8 are a mixed bag. The player moves look realistic and the detail of the ballparks is good. The replay scenes are nice but unfortunately most gamers will just button through these or turn them off in order to speedup gameplay. This is a shame because the sequences are done quite well. On the other hand the game has frame rate problems. Action sometimes jitters along and on one occasion the game actually crashed as I quickly switched from live gameplay to the in-game menu. The music isn’t as good as it was in last year’s game, but that’s really a personal opinion and your mileage will vary, as they say.

MLB 2K8 has improved on the realism of a baseball sim and because of this, true addicts of the game will appreciate the nuances most. The sim plays realistically. Whether you’re pitching to the batter with a full count or coming to the plate with two men on in the bottom of the ninth with your team one run behind, you’ll feel as though you just spent a day at the ballpark. If that’s your idea of having fun, you’ll be just fine with MLB 2K8.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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