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The only area that needs work is Franchise mode. It's not bad, but it doesn't offer anything new. Up to this point, this generation's baseball has been about replicating the look of the game. With this release, it's now about replicating the game itself.
This is definitely a solid sim franchise that keeps making strides in the right direction, and seeing a darn-near photorealistic #57 suit up in a Twins uni again is great, but the series still has a ways to go before being crowned the champ.
Major League Baseball 2K8 is fun, especially with the Total Pitch Control; the addition of playing cards will have you collecting for weeks at a time; and the presentation isn't half bad. You don't have too many options when it comes to swinging for the fences, but this is still worth playing.
MLB 2K8 is a positive step forward for an already good series. The doom and gloom predicted by folks back when the sports licensing war stuff finally shook out still has not taken place. 2K has really delivered the goods year after year, and it seems like 2K8 will be an excellent successor.
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.
We daydreamed during the offseason that 2008 would be the Year of the Baseball Game, and while we know there's a whole lot to like about MLB 2K8 and plenty of reasons to play it, it isn't the seminal new-gen baseball experience we were hoping for. It's a solid effort, but one that leaves us feeling more like "Wait 'til next year" Cubs fans than we'd like.
At the end of the day it’s the lack of authenticity while on the field that really hurts MLB 2K8. Next-gen simulation sports games are gauged by how closely they emulate the look and feel of the real thing and while the new gameplay mechanics do lend themselves to a more true-to-life experience, the presentation and look of 2K8 in motion really hurts it overall. The features are plentiful and will keep most busy for some time, but for this year’s best and purest baseball offering you’ll have to look elsewhere.
We give all the credit in the world to 2K Sports for not playing it safe and forging ahead with innovative ideas that work terrifically. After all, we’d be needling them if they didn’t. We were so ready to fall in love with 2K’s take on major league baseball again this year, but we just can’t get past the depressing drop in visual fidelity. This season, we’ll just have to agree to be good friends - especially when MLB 08: The Show is so damn good.
It's too bad, too, that so many of these problem areas slipped into the final product (this thing is so buggy, I want to spray the disc like poor Joba Chamberlain), and in the end, what you're left with is a game of what "might have been" instead of the superstar many expected (especially after last season's promising turnaround). If you're able to look past the framerate, the pitching and franchise are worth checking out, but if you only have enough money for one baseball game this year, Sony's Show is definitely the one worth attending.
It's hard to score a game like MLB 2K8. In the left corner of the ring stands a hefty fighter – one of stellar analog mechanics that are unique to this title. But in the right corner you have a fighter who's seriously out of shape. When he takes a beating, so does the game, leading to performance issues that are hard to ignore.
MLB 2K8 boasts enough control innovation to merit an upgrade over last year's installment, but bugs in future releases could mean a trip to the bench.
MLB 2K8 is one of those games that hurts to play because you just know it could have been so much better. The makings of a great game are all here, but it ultimately fails to reach that status. Don't get me wrong, lovers of the genre will find some fun in this game if they can get past the hiccups. The sputtering animations, choppy gameplay, and overall feeling that the game simply needed more time and work ultimately hold back what truly could have been a great virtual playground for America's pastime.
MLB2K8 is sadly lacking in most of the key areas and it looks and feels dated even with the three new gameplay mechanics that 2K have tacked on. The graphics are unacceptable for 2008 with substandard animations, poor collision detection and physics which rarely work right and even when they do they quite often don't look right. There are many features in the franchise mode, however compared to other games in the same genre they feel dated. Let's hope for 2009 that 2k spend some time overhauling the game from the ground up because it really is long overdue.
With all the expected deep Season and Franchise modes, Tournaments, and GM modes, 2K8 is a lot of fun with a lot of teams, players, and stadiums to play around with. It is certainly a step in the right direction for the franchise, and while I am still a believer that EA makes the best sports games out there, 2K is in charge of the baseball market and, for now, this is the best one out there.
This year's baseball offering from 2K comes with a brand-new pitching control scheme that is definitely love it or hate it. Rather than the typical power meter for pitching, you'll perform various pitches via right analog stick movements. You have to do two motions with the stick, but you also have to time them just right to ensure accuracy. It definitely takes some getting used to, but it's perfectly usable after a while. I was disappointed to see that 2K didn't include the new Kauffman Stadium renovations, but it was nice to see tons of signature stances for various batters. The overall game just isn't as polished as it needs to be thanks to spotty fielding and framerate drops, and there are better options out there for fans of our national pastime.
Last but not least, I have to commend the guys from 2K Sports for providing
gamers with roster updates and free jersey and stadium packs that should have shipped with the game in the first place. If you like baseball then pick up a
copy, it's your only option if you don't own a Sony gaming system.
Despite a bevy of technical problems, those of you who are just looking to play a few games and aren't worried about playing a franchise or trying to win close games on a higher difficulty will probably be reasonably pleased with MLB 2K8. With new pitching, hitting, and fielding mechanics, as well as new player cards, there's a lot to like if you're the forgiving type. However, if you're someone who relishes the finer points of the game, you'll walk away in disgust after just a few games. MLB 2K8 is a fine example of how exclusive sports licenses hurt the average consumer. PlayStation 3 owners at least have the option of MLB 08, but if you're an Xbox 360 owner and looking for a baseball game, it's either MLB 2K8 or the highway. And that's just not right.
PS3 owners should be grateful that MLB 2K8 is not their only choice. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it seems like the developers cannot get the gameplay down long enough to be able to tend to the rest of the game’s problems. As a simulation, the game’s a failure, but as a mix of simulation and arcade-like gameplay, it’s a fairly good time. You may want to rent the game to see if you can master Total Control pitching before you commit to a purchase. Still, if you own a PS3, you have no excuse buying this while the superior MLB 08: The Show is staring you in the face.
Bottom line, don't waste your time or money with MLB 2K8. Last year, MLB 2K7 was worthy of some consideration as a first-generation PS3 baseball title. But this year, it's a mediocre offering of baseball that does little to fix the issues that plagued 2K7. A.I. is still questionable, and sliders don't help alleviate the issues. Mode offerings desperately need a rookie-superstar mode of some sort, and the overall feel of the game is in dire need of polish. Moreover, when after a year's worth of time your game engine is still plagued with framerate issues and seems to have gone backwards in terms of player detail, you're in trouble. Not to mention the erroneous, and dull, commentary doesn't help at all.
Like the Yankees, 2K8 has all the necessary ingredients to be a champion—great graphics, an eclectic soundtrack, a winning tradition—and yet, in the end, all the parts wind up feeling like they're trying too hard to be great. Like that Choker McA-Rod, the game grounds out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.
When playing MLB 2k8 I’m reminded of the story of the frog prince. There’s this pervasive feeling when playing it that if you could but summon a maiden to offer it a firm kiss on the cheek that it would suddenly turn into the King of Diamonds that lurks just beneath its pot-marked surface. But, barring one heck of a patch from 2k Sports, there’s no magic pill to cure all that ails this game. The legacy of developer 2k Los Angeles (formerly Kush Games) continues to be the delivery of high-potential but brutally flawed games that lack considerable polish.
As far as pitching and hitting are concerned, MLB 2K8 is great. But presentation counts, and when a weak presentation is coupled with fielding issues, it's a lot harder to enjoy this game. While it features just tons and tons of options for true fans to dig around in, the cumbersome menu navigation and the previously discussed animation and sound defects will have a lot of fans irritated after a while. MLB 2K8 has a lot of strong points, but the developers apparently need another year to work the kinks out.
So, at the end of the day (or nine innings), I'd say look elsewhere for your baseball jones. What's good about the game isn't a great improvement on last year's version and, in fact, the game seems to have taken a step back graphically. Meanwhile, at its core, the game isn't true to the nature of baseball, because the bottom line - the numbers - just don't jibe. They're trying by adding new features, but to my mind this energy is misplaced. While you get some changes and add-ons, that's a lot like pruning a tree when its core is rotten, or putting a dress on a pig, or ... well, you get the point.
The games tend to drag on, with a nine-inning affair lasting an hour and a half or more. You can turn off the cut-scenes and instant replays, but the long pauses between pitches remain. Yeah, you can hit a button to expedite the process, but that gets irritating. And for a game that values realism, the out-of-date rosters and incorrect schedules are disappointing. MLB 2K8's no-nonsense approach will appeal to hardcore baseball fans, but the cumbersome control scheme and steep learning curve will demoralize fun-loving gamers just looking for a good time.
MLB 2K8 on the PS3 is a red-headed stepchild which obviously didn't receive the attention it needed. While the gameplay remains solid and the features are there in full force, the technical issues and sub-par graphics make it absolutely impossible to recommend over Sony's MLB 08: The Show. PS3 owners have a choice for their next-gen baseball fix, and it's pretty clear which way to go.