Major League Baseball 2K10 Reviews

AuthorReview
Tasty Pastry
186,537 (113,580)
Tasty Pastry
TA Score for this game: 2,310
Posted on 25 March 10 at 23:49, Edited on 27 November 10 at 22:34
This review has 20 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Forward Notes:
If you know me you know I’m an avid baseball fan. I’ve purchased all of the MLB2K games in the past, though often to my dismay. Despite their issues however, I am usually adamant about playing them, willing to overlook some of the glitches and server shutdowns for any attempt to play baseball. In fact as I’m writing this I am listening to the Dodgers/Brewers Spring Training game (6-3 Dodgers if you’re curious laugh). In any case, let’s get this started.

Single Player:

If you don’t know how to play baseball, this game isn’t for you. Obviously the game is centered around Major League Baseball, and that is to be expected. First let me go over the basics here. When you play a regular game you’re going to do both the offensive and defensive parts of the game. You’ll hit, bunt, sacrifice, baserun, steal, pitch, and play defense for your team. I’ll go over the controls in greater detail later in the review, as they play a major part in the gameplay. This game comes with a couple of game modes, let us go over them individually here:

Exhibition/Play Now Mode:

Like many sports games you can jump right into the action, picking a team for yourself and a team for your opponent. It’s default set at the Yankees vs the Phillies if you’re curious, in a rematch of the World Series. The computer AI is set as default on “Pro” difficulty, 9 inning game, with player fatigue and all that.

Franchise Mode:

Pick a team and play the whole regular season with them, trying to ultimately win the World Series. This mode comes with the ability to change settings (Force computer trades, do a fantasy draft, make trades, control injuries, etc) and is a long mode in general. You can choose how many innings each game will be and how many games are in the season (to an extent, there are set values) if you’re not up for the full 9 inning games in the 162 game season. You can also choose the computer’s difficulty (autoset on Pro). Follow the real
team’s schedule.

MLB Today (New!):

One of the more interesting features is the MLB Today feature. This is almost identical to the play now mode except that you are only able to play the games that are physically happening in baseball’s real time schedule – choosing whatever team you would like –and using the starting pitcher that the team intends to be sending out there. It’s a pretty interesting little feature, and a fun little innovation, but it doesn’t really differ that much from the play now mode.

My Player Mode (New):

And I left to last the most interesting and probably biggest change to the MLB2K games – the My Player mode. Create yourself a player, individualize their batting stance, their attributes, their looks, and pick their position. I personally picked Starting pitcher (You get three pitches initially- I chose Screwball, Slider, and Eephus). You then only play the parts of the game in which your player appears. So therefore I was only pitching every five days, and only did the at-bats of my pitcher. The rest of the team plays defense around you and baseruns just like a computer AI. Depending on how you do during your gameplay you will earn experience points which you can use to level up your player. (For example, a strikeout gets me twenty-five experience points, a groundout 10, etc). Depending on where you got the points (Hitting, Fielding, Pitching) is where you can use the points. For my starting pitcher here are some of the categories if you were curious: (Hitting): Contact vs lefties, contact vs righties, power vs lefties, power vs righties, bunt, batter eye (Pitching): Purchase new pitch, *Pitch* Speed, *Pitch*Control, *Pitch* Movement, Composure, Stamina (Fielding): Glove, Speed, Acceleration, Range, Anticipation.

You start off in the minor league system and try to make it into the major leagues. You do this by accomplishing goals – think of them as similar to the COD:MW2 goals. I had to have an ERA under 3.75, a WHIP under XX, etc. The game will constantly present you with new goals, both in game and totality type goals. Your ultimate goal is to get into the Hall of Fame, which has a relatively large amount of requirements (Changes depending on your position of your player, but some constants are like win the gold glove, make the postseason, win the world series).

Although this may appear to be done in one season and not extend replayability enough, the goals for the hall of fame are set into different areas (complete X from group A, complete X from group B), and for my starting pitcher I’ll need to play at least 6 seasons (Have an ERA under 3.5 for 6 seasons, Have a WHIP under 1.5 for 6 seasons, Win the Cy Young twice, etc). This greatly keeps the incentives going for completing the game, and I’m set on completing all of the requirements, despite there not being an achievement related to it.

In short, the My Player mode is kind of a ripoff of the MLB The Show game that is Playstation exclusive, and the game mode of The Bigs/The Bigs 2. While this might make it a little less innovative, it is definitely what the game needed to separate it from the boring consistency of the other MLB2K games. It is a significant improvement that drastically increases replay value.

The controls of the game build yet again on the control stick controls that the MLB2K games have been working on since MLB2K8. However, it is much more refined, and I have little problem with the pitching now. Firstly, you choose what pitch you wish to throw before doing the “pitch movement” with the control stick, insuring that you don’t accidently throw a slider when you wanted a circle change. If you mess up the movement of the pitch via the control stick you will either throw a pitch that doesn’t start where you intended it, it doesn’t move as much, or it’s a wild pitch. I’ve only thrown about four wild pitches through fifty games, so it’s not as abundant as it was in MLB2K8, do not worry. All in all I very much like the pitching system. If you do it perfectly you get a “max pitch” which has the maximum amount of control, velocity, and movement that your pitcher possesses.

The batting of the game is a simplified swing stick. Move the stick forward and you’ll swing for a contact hit. Pull it back and then push it forward and you swing a power swing for more homerun potential. You can also use the control stick to throw to bases during defense if you’d like, though I use the A,B,X,Y buttons to do so. I’m pretty sure you can change the controls to classic if you decide you don’t want to deal with the control stick.

Single Player Score: 9/10

Multiplayer:


You have your choices in multiplayer. You can play an instant game with another person on your xbox, choosing what teams you each want to be. Or else you can play on xbox live instead. You can set up a tournament league with at least 4 of your friends, and have a fantasy draft if you’d like. Or else you can just go and search for a ranked or player match and play against the community. Last time I played was about two weeks after the game came out, and I found twenty different people in ranked matches within searching in the first twenty minutes. In short, it’s a very logical multiplayer and exactly what you would expect, but no amazing changes from 2K9, and I wouldn’t be confident about the servers staying online forever…

Multiplayer Score: 8/10

DLC/Graphics/Sound/Intangibles


No DLC as of yet. The graphics are relatively good, but I don’t see that much of an improvement over 2K9. The players look like players – I can tell Harang from a mile away with his weird nose, and Bobby Abreu has that batting stance with his butt sticking out. Dan Haren keeps his knee up before throwing the pitch and Daisuke does that annoying rock, while Dempster does the glove twitch. The sound is actually upgraded from the other 2K games in that there is some new commentary. There’s actually three announcers, though one only talks on very rare occasions.

Perhaps the best improvement in the graphics comes in the increased amount of stats from last year’s season. I’m constantly being told how many homeruns my team hit, how many hits my player had, and other stats that are fun to know. Overall though it's relatively disappointing. You can choose signature batting stances and players look like players as they should, but in comparison to MLB2K9 I'm definitely not astonished, as well as to other sports games of the current time period.

Now to probably the most crucial part of an MLB2K game – the glitches and nuances that annoy me. I’ve had the game had issues twice where by pressing the “A” button to skip some of the cutscenes / video replays, I’ve been frozen on the batter coming up on a weird angle that wont let me pitch. In this instance I’m forced to do one of two things – intentionally walk the batter by pressing in the control stick, or save and quit and return to the game. Although this is annoying and has me yelling at the television screen, it wasn’t as negative on my gameplay as MLB2K7 which deleted my saved rosters and locked up in the 7th inning, or some of the oddities of 2K8 and 2K9.

More annoying to me is how some of the computer AI acts for me during the My Player mode. Now as I mentioned already I’m pretty astute with baseball, so I know how things should work in a game. Whenever there is a sacrifice fly hit by the opposing team into the outfield, no matter how shallow, the outfielder throws to a cutoff man who is near the pitcher’s mound, and then throws it to the catcher. You don’t even know how many times this has cost me potential outs at home plate. Secondly the computer has a severe issue with turning double plays sometimes. When the shortstop fields the ball and wants to toss it to the second baseman, especially when they are really close, he throws it overhand as hard as he can, instead of a low toss underhand to make it quicker to turn it to first. Also often times, instead of just touching the base himself and throwing to first, he’ll attempt one of these overhand throws from one foot away, which often costs me double plays.

If there is double play potential and the ball is hit to the third baseman, he will often run towards second base instead of throwing right away, which also loses me quite a bit of double plays. My last complaint defensively comes from the center fielder rarely making the catch – often times my right fielder will make the catch in front of the center fielder (which if you know anything about baseball the center fielder almost always makes the call).

But definitely most upsetting is the computer baserunning. Say I get a hit and then the computer hitter behind me gets a hit. Now we are on first and second. About 1/4th of the time the guy on first will actually try to steal my base that I’m holding on second, without any warning from the game that the player is going to do that. As a result of this I actually have only two runs scored despite having a .300 batting average and playing about fifty games.

Also there are numerous spelling and grammar errors in the pop up text in the game, which is kind of disappointing for a full price retail game. They use the wrong form of "their" in multiple instances.

But despite all this, this is the only baseball game for the 360 besides The Bigs and The Bigs 2. And despite the rants the game has made significant advancements since MLB2K9, and I’m thinking that next year this game will really reach its true potential.

DLC Score: N/a

Graphics Score: 7.5/10

Sound Score: 8.5/10

Intangibles Score: 4/10

Achievements:


The achievements in this game include your pretty standard ones that you would expect in baseball games. They bring back the cards that showed up in MLB2K8 and 2K9, but unlike in 2K9 you do not have to collect all of them, just 25 hitter cards and 25 pitcher cards. Playing through the franchise mode will probably net you enough of them since you need to play a minimum of 20 games in franchise mode to activate those achievements. Probably the achievement that will take you the longest is making the Hall of Fame in the My Player mode. I’ve played about 50 games and made it only through one and a half seasons. You must play spring training, and unlike what you know about baseball, starters don’t just pitch/play for 4 innings and get taken out, you’ll play the whole game. I actually rather like the achievements because they increase the replay value of the game and get you to check out all of the game modes. However, there are online achievements, and we all know that these servers will shut down sooner or later…

Achievements Score: 8/10

Total Score: 8 + (4+8.5+7.5)/3 + 8 + 9 = 31.6 / 4 = 8/10 = 4/5

Final Thoughts:


I think you have to be into baseball to really appreciate this game. The new My Player mode really gives this game a story worth playing and keeps you wanting to play the game over and over. Honestly I’ll probably try playing through more than one position in the game, despite there not being achievements for it. It’s fun to have those in-game goals to shoot for, and makes a similar draw like the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer “goals”. Leveling up your player and figuring out where you should put your stats is a fun way to make your player however you want him to be.

If you disagree with my review or feel I misrepresented something, please leave a comment instead of leaving negative feedback, and give me an attempt to change it. If you feel I do not do so properly than the negative feedback is definitely deserved.
Thanks for reading!

Given 4 stars by Tasty Pastry
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Vermin360
248,909 (158,477)
Vermin360
TA Score for this game: 1,902
Posted on 08 March 10 at 17:39
This review has 14 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
I picked this up on Saturday and have logged three Spring Training games in my Cubs franchise, one MLB Today game, and about 10 games in My Player as a shortstop for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Overall this is a much-improved game over last year's. Unlike most, I actually liked and enjoyed playing 2K9 and was doing so right up until Friday night. Here are some of my first impressions.

At the Plate:
I find myself taking far more pitches than I did in 2K9. One reason, because it's easier to read a pitch coming in using the new default camera angle, and also because they give you some new batter's eye feedback when the pitch is inbound. It definitely feels easier to hit a pitch with a contact swing vs. a power swing, but a slugger can still use a contact swing to go yard sometimes. I had an 0-2 count with Aramis Ramirez, and used it to launch a solo-shot over the fence in a recent Cactus League game. I'm using the Spring Training games to get a feel for the timing of the pitches so that I hopefully have a good rhythm by the time my regular season starts.

On the Mound:
2K's pitching system is one of the most fun that I've ever played. This year, the addition of choosing your pitch before you throw it adds a new level of fidelity and need for accuracy. Sure the motions between two of your pitches might be similar, but there will be no more throwing a curve instead of a slider because your movement was slightly offline. Instead, you'll throw a pitch further outside (or inside) the strike zone with varying results. In 2K9 I could paint the corners like Michaelangelo, but it's much trickier in 2K10. Much like the Tiger Woods swing mechanic, slight variation from the intended movement can make a subtle change to where your pitch actually lands. Overthrowing the pitch (by holding the first movement too long) can provide similar results. Ryan Dempster had a bit of a tough go, missing more than hitting his mark before easing back and aiming more toward the centre en route to throwing 58 strikes and 34 balls in his last outing. As your composure starts to slide, you'll get a heart-thumping rumble through the controller, and when you're really stressed, the outline of the strike zone disappears altogether when you're aiming your pitch. You'll pay much more attention to pitch count in this year's edition.

In the Field:
I have yet to see a fielder put up his glove only to have the ball drift lazily over his head and to the wall. This was a persistent issue with 2K9 that was clearly addressed. One of the biggest improvements is a subtle change to the controls: the diving catch button was moved to the Right Trigger from the X button. Too many times last year did I try to dive for a ball, only to end up catching it and throwing it to third base (also mapped to the X button). Now the movements are distinctly separate - nice catch, 2K! What can be difficult to adjust to however, is the change in perspective in My Player Mode. In My Player, when you're at the plate or on the basepaths, the buttons are mapped as you would expect - Up for 2nd, Down for Home, etc. But when you're in the field, they reverse it to the player's perspective so that Down is 2nd base and Up is Home. More often than not, I've found myself throwing the ball to third base instead of making the play at first. It makes sense to map it that way on some levels, but consistency might have been a better choice.

Presentation:
I love baseball because I'm a stats junkie. And 2K10 delivers in spades. As you've probably seen in the videos, there are a lot of statistical review overlays that show last season's rankings, player stats in different situations, and so forth. I've seen career stats for Craig Counsell's against Ted Lilly, Kosuke Fukodome's lifetime stats with a runner at third base and less than two outs, an much more! I love it. The commentary is pretty solid as well. One thing I don't care for as much though is the new two-stick menu system. I liked the simple navigability of last year's menus much better.

Little things:
I have noticed a few oddities that aren't deal breakers but show that a little more time could have been used on the QA side. Often when replacing a pitcher, the current hurler disappears, leaving the manager to take the floating ball from mid-air before handing off to the new reliever. It looks like when your next game is loading up and the previous game's results are shown, that the scores are doubled. (After beating the Brewers 6-3 on Tuesday, the recap screen going into Wednesday's screen reported a 12-6 score. I've noticed it each game so far.) Player collisions are a welcomed return, but I did manage to beat a throw to the plate by sliding headfirst into the catcher and pushing him backward - not trucking him, just sliding him.

All in all, I'm very impressed by this year's version. Framerate is more constant this year, the visuals are still as good as you'd need for a baseball game, and the new My Player Mode is pretty fun to play so far. My shortstop's fielding needs some work, but I've been slowly improving his ratings with the skill points I've earned.
Given 4 stars by Vermin360
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dropK1CK ninJA
255,959 (149,260)
dropK1CK ninJA
TA Score for this game: 1,249
Posted on 05 August 10 at 01:13
This review has 8 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
I like Major League Baseball 2K10. I really do. I find the pitching mechanics engaging, gameplay satisfactory, and a game that I spend myself dumping all my spare time into without a second thought. I like to sample the yearly MLB sports games through their demo on the Marketplace. This is the first year I found myself wanting more and this is the first baseball game I have purchased since Nintendo’s Baseball back on the Gameboy.

Game Modes: 5 out of 5
MLB2K10 offers a variety of modes. I am unsure as to how new some of these modes are to the franchise itself, but I think it is fair to explore each of them. The modes of play offered are: my player, franchise, MLB today, Online Leagues, Online Versus, Home Run Derby, Practice Drills, and standard Quick Matches.

My Player allows a person to create a Major League Baseball personification. They can choose any position on the diamond or in the bullpen. I decided to go with a starting pitcher and I really have no complaints about that decision. Offering an RPG style reward system, each play on the field (where your player is directly engaged with that play) offers a goal that will award additional bonus points on top of executing the play successfully. For example: Goal get a first pitch strike. Throw a strike, you get a bonus of 10 pitching skill points. Miss that strike and you get nothing. At the end of each game, your points earned in that match will be totaled and you can spend them on your player advancing different statistical areas. It is a rather addicting system.

Franchise mode allows you to pick and control a specific franchise and try to get them all the way to a World Series Championship. You can propose trades, accept trades, sign free agents, call up players, etc. You play the players and the GM. You do not have to play the entire season, but you must manually player 20 games of the season to get the achievements. You can sim the season and test your luck and make it to the post season without your intervention or play the entire season. It is up to you.

MLB Today allows you to use Live Rosters to play a match up that will be occurring today using the exact starting line-ups that major league teams will be using. Live Rosters also provide the best up-to-date ratings on current players. This is a nice feature for playing with the most recent rosters available instead of having to manage your roster, promoting, demoting, trading, or signing the necessary players.

Online Leagues operate in a manner that allows friends to play as co-op teams against other league members. Online Versus and Quick Matches operate in the desired manner. They are basically pick a team, pick a jersey style and play.

Gameplay Mechanics: 4 out of 5

Gameplay revolves entirely around the baseball experience and the baseball mechanics. Pitching is exceptional. You select a desired pitch using A, B, X, Y, or RB depending on how many pitches a given pitcher knows. Some can be throw more efficiently than others. You then use the left thumb stick to select the location of the pitch and begin a two directional motion with the right thumb stick to determine how well you throw the pitch. The first motion (usually pointing the right thumb stick in a specific direction) is held to determine how powerful the throw will be and then the second motion is a distinct motion that is unique for every pitch. An example, a fastball is holding the thumbstick down and then flick the thumb stick up. A curve ball is moving the thumbstick to the southeast direction and then moving the thumbstick clockwise 180 degrees to the northwest position. It allows the user to really feel like they are throwing different pitches.

Batting is a bit lacking. You use the right thumbstick to determine how you swing. Moving it directly up provides a weaker contact swing, moving it back first and then up to swing provides a power swing, and moving the right thumbstick to the left or right will attempt a defensive swing to foul a ball off. You can also hit the X button to go into the bunt stance and use the thumbstick again to attempt a drag bunt. Because it is a video game and the strike zone disappears once the pitcher enters his wind-up , there is a lack of depth perception that makes hitting harder than you think. There is a huge learning curve with batting in MLB2K10.

Fielding can be a pain if you have to control the players. There is no sprint option and it seems at times the computer, who should help lead the player in the correct direction, will give up on the play right away and not allow you ample time to adjust from pitcher to fielder. With the lack of a sprint option when you have to control the fielder, it makes it equally frustrating in an attempt to run a ball down. If you play the “My Player” mode, computer controller fielders DO sprint. It is really a head scratching design decision.

The pitching controls are really the bread and butter of this game. The other mechanics drag down the score slightly.

Gameplay Logic: 2 out of 5

Gameplay Logic? This is a category I added so I had somewhere to separate how the game handles baseball logic issues. In a brief word: badly. Bunts that drop dead in front of the catcher, the catcher will give up on and expect the pitcher to field theball and toss it to first. Left fielders dashing across the outfield to cover a clear center field fly ball instead of allowing the center fielder to field it. First and third basemen will run parallel to a ball hit along the baseline instead of attempting to dive perpendicular to ball’s path and cut it off. And my personal favorite: with runners on first and third, the runner on first will steal second, the catcher will throw the ball to THIRD base instead of SECOND base. The third basemen will then relay the ball to second base. This always guarantees that second base is stolen.

It feels like they brought in beta-testers of this game had no baseball knowledge and just figured this would all work out. If they allowed some baseball fanatics play this game for a week they could’ve ironed out all these issues.

Online Play: 5 out of 5
Online play works like it should. Matching up is easy. Playing the game is easy. Finishing can be a pain because of quitters, but you can’t fault the game for that. It does what it is supposed to.

Achievements: 5 out of 5
Unlike most sports games, you will not get all the achievements in a handful of play throughs and you cannot get them by simming games. The grinds don’t quiet feel like grinds in this game, as the game modes are addictive enough. The achievements are spread evenly across all facets of this game and I give the developers a thumbs up for that. Boosting can be fairly easy with a partner or a group of 4 using the online leagues.

Conclusion
The game play and the pitching mechanics make this game very addictive, if you are a baseball fan. Other issues drag the score down from a 5 star to a 4 star game. I am very pleased with this purchase, since it has been a while playing a baseball game.

4 out of 5
Given 4 stars by dropK1CK ninJA
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