After last year’s disaster with MLB 2K8, 2K Sports went with another studio this year when they were developing 2K9. This year Visual Concepts was given the task to rebuild the series and, hopefully, return the series to its former glory. While this year’s title is a definite improvement over 2K8 there are still issues that need to be fixed. For starters this years version still has its share of graphical glitches. There was one time I hit the ball against the left field fence and the left fielder simply disappeared so I was able to get an in the park home run. Now out of all the times I have hit the ball to left field that has only happened the one time but it was still pretty funny. The crowd reactions tend to be a little off at times too. Whenever I would hit a ball into the stands there were times where the crowd didn’t act like they were going to try and catch it until after the ball already hit the ground. There are just little instances such as that and while they don’t break the game it can be very annoying. One of the other complaints people had about 2K8 was how it controlled. Fortunately in this years version the developers simplified the pitching and hitting mechanic so it wasn’t quite as punishing. Now to pitch you just have to make two motions with the right analog stick and to hit you simply pull back on the analog stick and then push up to swing. It is a pretty simple system that seems to work really well.
As soon as you boot up the game, assuming you are logged into Xbox Live, it will immediately check if you have updated rosters. If you don’t then it will quickly download the updates to insure that you are playing the most up to date game possible. After that you are brought to the main menu where you are presented with a whole bunch of different options. You can either play an exhibition game, begin a franchise, go to the minor leagues, create a trading card team and more. Visual Concepts seems to have worked really hard on the presentation of this year’s title and it is very evident in the MLB.com presentation style you will encounter in franchise mode. You can also play a management role as you can manage the roster, the lineup, position alignment, pitching rotation and more. This year’s version also has a brand new commentating team giving the game a fresh feel and making the commentary itself a lot better than previous years. In this year’s version Gary Thorne provides the play by play calls alongside color analyst Steve Phillips. If all you want to do is jump straight to the post season then you can do that as well with the new post season mode where you can immediately jump into the playoffs.
The online aspect of the game seems to have received quite a bit of attention as well as there are numerous things for you to do. There is “2K Share” where you can create, upload, and share rosters, sliders and even players. You can also use the “Reelmaker” feature to direct your own digital video highlight reels and post them on 2KSports.com for everyone to see. If you so choose you can also create and manage your own online leagues so you and your friends can see who is the best. If you don’t want to participate in a league you can always just jump into a game whether it be simply exhibition or a ranked game.
Overall MLB 2K9 is a definite improvement over MLB 2K8, yet there are still issues that need to be addressed. Once they have been addressed and subsequently fixed then this will be a tremendous baseball title. As it stands right now it is a fun title to play with your friends but it isn’t living up to its full potential. If you are a baseball fan I would definitely recommend giving this game a try though. There is a free demo on Xbox Live for everyone to try and see what they think. If you like it then by all means pick the title up at your local game store. It should definitely be interesting to see how the game evolves as the regular baseball season starts up and evolves.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network