Major League Baseball 2K8 Reviews

AuthorReview
Tasty Pastry
167,356 (104,006)
Tasty Pastry
TA Score for this game: 2,005
Posted on 04 January 10 at 01:35, Edited on 04 February 12 at 19:53
This review has 22 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
MLB2K8 Review
Forward Notes:


I’m a big baseball fan, and divulge myself a lot into the baseball world as a whole. That being said, it seems obvious that I would purchase all of the baseball games I can get my hands on – and I have. However, I’ve been more than annoyed at the MLB2K franchise as a whole – 2K6 locks up on me, 2K7 corrupts my saved data, and 2K9 has deleted my saved files and glitched some cards.

Single Player:
The single player of this game is where you are going to spend most of your time. The game has your classic exhibition mode, as well as your assumed season mode that you expect with every baseball game nowadays. You can choose what team to play as in the season/franchise mode, make your trades, and balance your payroll and minor league teams. One of the perks of this game is the ability to actually play the minor league games in the franchise mode if you truly feel like it, and there is an achievement that relates to it. I can’t say I’m familiar with all the minor league stadiums, but I was able to identify the Tampa Yankees stadium as looking relatively similar, which was pretty interesting to say the least.

There is substantial depth in terms of the players that you’ll find – you’re going to be able to recognize some of the names in the minor league systems, all the way down to single A. I noticed Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Kei Igawa in the Yankees minor league system as well as now traded Austin Jackson, and now free agent Shelley Duncan, when I was getting the achievement that is related. Of course, the rosters are what they are supposed to be for the beginning of 2008, so you’re likely to see some guys on teams that aren’t there anymore / were traded, but that’s the reason that new MLB2K games come out every year.

The newest feature of this game is the total control pitching. Unlike the previous MLB2K games you will not just be holding down a button, trying to time the “circle” to make a good pitch. Instead you will be using the control stick to “draw” how the pitch should go, in an attempt to make you feel like you’re actually pitching. Although this is very interesting, it was clearly not perfected, and the amount of FAQs you can find on the internet makes this obvious. MLB2K9 perfects on this technology, but 2K8 is the victim of too precise a technology for the controller we are presented. If you do not move the control stick perfectly, which can be very hard, even just trying to make a straight up-down line, you will throw a poor pitch, or even a “meatball”, which allows the opposition to see where your pitch is coming in.

The game also utilizes Swing Stick, the hitting feature. In this you pull back the control stick to take your “step” as the pitch is coming, and then push it up to take your swing. Again, this calls for way too precise of a movement, and you will rarely get a perfect timed step and a perfectly timed swing, making the hitting frustrating and irritating. The game does give you some general information such as “too early” and “too late” for both hitting and pitching, and it does have some very good in-game tutorials, but knowing does not translate to doing.

Of course, there are plenty of interchangeable in-game settings that allows you to change it back to classic arcade control (Press the A button to swing), but that basically reverts the game to MLB2K7 with updated rosters, which is a real shame.

In short, MLB2K8 controls are ingenious and interesting, but way too difficult to control for the most part without significant practice and time investment. For some of the more hardcore baseball fans out there it may actually appeal, but for the more common gamer it will most likely lead to frustration.

Single Player Score: 6/10

Multiplayer:


The game does have local multiplayer and online multiplayer. However, like you would expect, the 2K servers are shut down, which means that the League Play system that they put into this game is no longer functional, which also means some discontinued achievements. There doesn’t seem to be too much improvement on the multiplayer locally, and even if you do find someone to play with you online (you can still play online, just can’t play in the leagues), there is a substantial amount of lag that makes the game almost unplayable.

Multiplayer Score: 3/10

Graphics/Sounds/DLC/Intangibles:


The game’s graphics are relatively good, an improvement on MLB2K7. You can tell Manny Ramirez is Manny Ramirez, and each player has a relatively personalized batting stance. Some of the odder pitcher pitching mechanisms are very noticeable, including Mariano’s “lean” and Daisuke Matsuzaka’s long pause. The crowd is still disappointing, but that is almost to be expected in baseball games now. The stadiums look pretty good, with one of my favorites being Miller Park, which has Bernie Brewer come down the slide (their mascot). The game has some decent cut-scenes before the start of the game, and the replays are solid. You’re going to find some players running into walls and odd jump arounds every once in a while, but relatively solid.

The game brings back the same announcers that have been in the MLB2K system for the last couple of years, and this is pretty upsetting. They simply added a couple more catchphrases, but if you avidly played MLB2K7 you will recognize quite a few of the sayings. They also get way too excited on certain things, specifically when the pitcher covers first place, yelling about PFP – Pitcher’s Fielding Practice. If you pause the game, or don’t do anything for a couple minutes, they will do “fan mail questions”, which answer basic questions that anyone with any baseball knowledge knows (If the ball hits the foul pole, is it fair or foul?).
There is no DLC, and I don’t know what they could have.

The game is great in those settings categories. You’ll have the ability to change difficulties, mess with your controls, change the amount of replays you see, turn on and off injuries and weather, adjust how often you see broken bats even. You are also capable of doing fantasy drafts, putting on trade restrictions, and forcing trades. The game is very indepth when it comes to messing with settings, which makes it nice.
The game also puts in a collectibles and unlockables system that I’ll go into more in depth about in a second under the achievements category.

Group Score: 6/10

Achievements:

The game has your generic baseball achievements – throw a no-hitter, hit for the cycle, draw a walk, etc. It also has some season completion achievements, and your online achievements. This also means that there is a discontinued achievement, which will annoy a lot of completionists. There is also achievements for collecting cards, which, although a fun idea, has some severe flaws which are fixed in MLB2K9, but sadly not this one.

You unlock these cards by performing certain actions in game – for example, to get the Bill Hall card you must hit a homerun with Bill Hall in a game. Simple enough, but when you realize there are nine cards per team on thirty teams for a total of 270 cards, it can get a little daunting. Luckily the developers saw this too, and the maximum card achievement they put in was 100. However, it doesn’t have even that nice a TA ratio since there is a nice workaround of winning wildcards – cards that you have a __% chance of getting when hitting a single, double, triple, homerun, rbi, run, strikeout, etc, etc. If you put the game on the hardest difficulty you are almost guaranteed a card a hit. However, there is an annoying glitch in the game that will only let certain users redeem their wild cards. This glitch also occurs in card packs, an item you can buy in the game’s store by saving up tokens you get in the game. Open a pack and grab yourself a couple more cards. What does this mean? This means that the achievement is easy to get for people that don’t have the glitch, and hard to get for people that do have the glitch. There are four achievements related to this off the top of my head.

Achievement Score: 6/10

Final Score: 21/40 = 52.5/100 = 5.25/10 = 2.625/5

Final Thoughts:

A game that is highlighted by an attempt at bringing in ingenious control schemes that unfortunately implodes in the game’s face due to too high demand of precision. If you find it for $5 and you aren’t worried about ever getting all the achievements in the game, I’d recommend it, but if you just wait a couple more months you’ll be able to get MLB2K9 for the same price, which is a far superior game. Hope you liked my review. Please consider leaving me a comment on how I can improve my review instead of voting negatively – I’m always open to change. Thanks!
Given 3 stars by Tasty Pastry
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