Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Game Review (MLB 2K12 - 360)

MLB 2K's potential final hurrah as Xbox 360's only MLB game is that of MLB 2K12. Since MLB 2K4's release 8 years ago, I've played roughly 6 of the 8 editions of the game. Of the versions I've played, 2K7 remains my favorite, despite its large number of glitches. The graphics were, in my opinion, the best in the series, and the soundtrack was also really good. Anyway, 2K12...

Let's start with the graphics. As I said a full two lines ago, I thought MLB 2K7 had the best graphics. The fans didn't look so great, but the players looked decent, and the jerseys looked really nice... why with the whole blowing in the wind and whatnot... MLB 2K12 just looks average at best, with more negatives than positives. Let me start with the positives here, as there is just... one positive.

+ Stadiums (Even though Comerica Park is lacking its new scoreboard, and there are STILL generic-only minor league and Spring Training ballparks.)
+ Shadows on the field (It's been in the game for a couple years now, but it's still nice to see that shadows move in over the field as the game goes on.)
- Jerseys (The dark/royal blue that is used as the primary color for teams like the Yankees is not the right color at all ... it looks more like New York Mets blue.)
- Player models (A vast majority of the models look atrocious, with few actually looking like their real-life counterparts. Where are Ryan Roberts and Prince Fielder's tattoos?)
- Animations (I'm still seeing a lot of the horrendous animations from years' past. What's going there, 2K?)
- Frame rate online (It's not terrible, but it's noticeable, and WILL cause you to swing badly on some pitches, and over or under run a LOT of balls in the outfield or infield.)

Yeah... MLB 2K12 may not be the best looking game - in fact, it's far from it - but it's alright looking, to be fair.

To me, 2K11 had a pretty good soundtrack, with some quality songs from a lot of unknown bands, for the most part. This year, 2K Sports has a soundtrack consisting of indy, rock, rap, and even dubstep. If you've got eclectic taste, you can appreciate a good number of the songs in 2K12, but it's pretty average overall. Below is the setlist in MLB 2K12:

Atmosphere, "Just for Show"
Bass Drum of Death, "Get Found"
Explosions in the Sky, "Trembling Hands"
G-Side, "Put Me in the Game"
Grouplove, "Colours"
JEFF the Brotherhood, "Shredder"
My Morning Jacket, "Holdin' On to Black Metal"
Pretty Lights, "Hot Like Dimes"
Skrillex, "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Telekinesis, "Please Ask for Help"
The Cool Kids, "Boomin'"
The Joy Formidable, "Austere"
The Vaccines, "If You Wanna"

Recognize many of those bands? I didn't either... only about three of them.

I may as well get into the other sounds in the game, starting with the commentary... if you liked 2K11, you'll like it again this year. 2K12 brings back Gary Thorne, John Kruk, and Steve Phillips with "over 80 hours of new commentary." Even though I've only played a few games, I've yet to hear anything repeated ad-nauseum, so that's a good thing. As for the crowd in this game, they're as depressing and emotionless as ever. Hey there champ, hit a walk-off homerun, didja? Yeah well, the home team doesn't give a fuck because they - apparently - aren't paying attention! They hardly react when you get a clutch hit, be it game winning or not, and that's also frustrating. They don't get up and cheer, you just hear a slight clap as if you're at a golf tournament. Why they haven't ever really improved this over all these years is beyond me.

Now that I'm done with that vent... the controls. MLB 2K12's controls tend to be more frustrating than anything else. Primarily, the fielding. If a ball is blooped into the outfield and you have a chance to catch it, if you at all twitch the left stick in the wrong direction, you have virtually no chance of getting to the ball because I guess the outfielders aren't athletic enough to turn around. Online, this is made worse due to the lag - especially the "throw bars" that come up on screen. When you're playing in an online match, you have to release it early to time it properly and get a "green" throw to wherever you're throwing it.

For pitching, I have no problems with it, other than that it can be considerably difficult to get a perfect pitch, especially when dealing with the occasional lag that pops up when playing online. I feel like I should say more about the pitching, but if you played 2K11, you know what to expect.

The hitting in this game feels right and wrong, all at the same time. Getting your timing right and smacking a ball to left field or over the right field wall feels pretty rewarding, but when you hit the ball the same way over the same part of the plate and get out, it's sort of depressing... but I guess that's baseball. The biggest problem I have with the batting in this game is that you will knock COUNTLESS balls foul, often times many in a row. Whether you swing at a ball over the plate or way outside, you'll be hearing "And that's a foul ball." over and over again. I know foul balls are pretty common in the MLB, but it just feels way too excessive in 2K12.

Aside from the countless things I pointed out about this game that I didn't like, MLB 2K12 remains a decent, playable baseball game. The ugly player models and animations as well as the rubber-band A.I. can take away from the experience quite a bit, but 2K Sports has at least made the game tolerable. The pitching can actually be FUN and rewarding when you strike a batter out when you need to, the commentary is better than The Show's, and the menus look about as good as ever. Even though MLB 2K12 is far from a perfect baseball game, it's not too shabby of a final effort from 2K.



Anonymous said...

Rangers Ballpark also wasnt updated, MLB 12 The Show has all the stadium updates. Its like they gave another half hearted effort and want to charge $60 for a game that you could buy once and they could just send out yearly updates.

47Reviews said...

It feels pretty much the same way to me. I've been watching MLB 12: The Show videos on YouTube, and I wonder why 2K Sports doesn't even TRY to put out a game HALF as good as that one.

Will said...

I agree with both. You would figure that the stadiums would be a top priority in the game, esp since these two teams have been in the playoffs. Rangers Ballpark has changed alot and looks like them boys at MLB 12 THE SHOW got that memo.