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There’s more good than bad in MLB 2K9. While the experience has been brought down to a certain level of easiness, there’s still a lot of things that make the game frustrating and tiresome. I’ll admit, I was never a huge fan of MLB 2K series and even the World Series Baseball franchise before that. Plus, the last two versions of MLB 2K weren’t exactly great. Still, MLB 2K9 is a great improvement over last years’ game and made me want to spend a few quality hours on it. Sadly, making a “baseball game for dummies” won’t make the games better if they keep changing the recipe and trying come up with ways to be the big boy in town…I think this is what hurts the game the most. Nonetheless, Major League Baseball 2K9 is a good example of 2K Sports desire to do things right and I applaud them for that. Just make up your mind and do it before it’s too late.
Both mistakes and success are a little more subtle in MLB 2K9, meaning you won't pay as dearly for slight lapses in concentration, only major screwups. The result is a gameplay experience more fans will enjoy, but an out of the box experience that might not be challenging enough for hardcore seamheads who spent countless hours mastering how to throw the perfect curve in MLB 2K8. Still, this game is by all means a successful update. After all, using the right stick in any fashion is more satisfying than simply pressing a button to pitch, hit or field, and nearly everything about the look and sounds of the game, from the blades of grass to the fans in the stands, is improved upon. Right-stick integration is the best way to play videogame baseball, and thanks to MLB 2K9 more fans than ever will see why. They may be casual fans, but these days everyone would have to agree: the more, the merrier.
Major League Baseball 2K9 fixes some of the issues from the past and sets the groundwork for a great game, but there are far too many bugs to recommend. If you have to have a baseball game this year and only own a 360, you may want to wait for the newly revealed Bigs 2. Those who own a PS3, well, your choice is fairly clear. MLB 2K9 is an enjoyable game for a casual fan, but those who are really dedicated to baseball are certain to find the bad AI annoying. Let's hope next year 2K Sports can deliver a game worthy of baseball's immense fan base.
It was great to run a few bases with 2K Sports, Major League Baseball 2K9. After years of featuring The Show, it is good to know the alternative is a worthy competitor. In an all out brawl, 2K9 might have a little ways to go before it reaches the same level as The Show, but it seems like Visual Concepts is working hard to perfect their craft. 2K9 has its strong points and its new control scheme fit perfectly in my newbie hands. If 2K9 is an indication on where the future will be like for this pitch hitter than 2K Sports is loading the bases for the heavy hitter.
MLB 2k9 has a lot going for it and it’s certainly a game that can improve over time. This was the same case when EA Sports introduced the skill stick back in NHL 07. With 2k Sports they can easily climb themselves out of this hole and bring back the fun in baseball simulation. With the presentation all set in order minus a few graphical issues here and here, MLB 2k series will find itself in competition with MLB the Show in no time. Baseball purists, however, looking for a baseball filling in their void, this is no mans land. You are on your own if you decide to go with MLB 2k9 this year. While it has a lot going for it, it doesn’t quite stack up when looking at longevity.
In the end, 2K9 shows some promise, but just can't pull itself together enough to put on a big league showing. Glitches can be patched, but the bigger problem is that the overall feel of the game just doesn't work. The batting is way too easy, even on higher difficulties. The fielding mechanics seemed tacked on to the right analog stick simply for the sake of being different. There are just too many problems here for a serious baseball fan to ignore. While the game will offer some players a quick burst of hardball heroics, more discerning fans will quickly sour on this year's game. Luckily, 2K does have a decent base here to lay down a better version next year. With a couple more coats of polish, and a return to the drawing board on some of the gameplay elements, 2K could have a contender. As it stands now however, MLB 2K9 feels more like the gaming equivalent of a AA affiliate than a major league club.
It’s hard to believe that the same company that makes the absolutely stellar NBA 2K series is responsible for the travesty that is Major League Baseball 2K9. In all honesty, MLB 2K9 plays like it might have been a good game three or four years ago, but it’s graphical inconsistencies, lackadaisical AI, and gimmicky controls feel very dated in today’s gaming climate. Major League Baseball 2K9’s exclusive deal means 360 owners are pretty much S.O.L., but PlayStation owners can rest easy knowing the best baseball game for their money happens to be an even more exclusive game that is so far ahead in the pennant race, 2K9 would do well to start rebuilding to focus on next season.
If you're a fan of the MLB and are strictly an Xbox 360 owner, then you'll probably find something to like in MLB 2K9; after all, you pretty much have to. Unfortunately, you'll also have to put up with some of the shoddiest fielding AI I've seen in a while, and enough bugs that will cause semi-frequent frustrations with the entire game, including one that I'd consider to be pretty much a game-breaker at this point. While I won't recommend the title to just anyone, and while I don't think it's seen a great deal of improvement from the previous year's entry, I imagine that there will be a few die-hard sports fans who will pick up MLB 2K9 regardless, just to get their baseball fix. Keep in mind the problems that could possibly await you, and hopefully, you'll get a bit of entertainment out of this game.
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The list of grievances is long, but there are a few bright spots. The presentation is stellar as I mentioned earlier. Animations for pitches, batting stances, and even some pretty solid pro moves are cool (when they work). It looks awesome. Watching Jermaine Dye snag a pop fly with a diving catch or seeing an outfielder run off a wall to gun a runner out at third is an enjoyable sight compared to the rest of the game.
Either MLB 2K9 shipped in a half-finished state or the developers have never seen a baseball, much less thrown one around. You can see that the foundations have been laid for what could be a creditable baseball game, but design screw-ups render playing it an exercise in frustration that grows more bothersome every time you hit the diamond. Like Chicago Cubs fans say at the end of every September: "Wait till next year." Maybe 2K Sports will get it right with MLB 2K10.
When 2K won the rights until 2012 to be the only third-party company to produce baseball games using the MLB license, I feared that the series would spiral into mediocrity due to a lack of competition. This year is proof that this has transpired. It's time for MLB to re-negotiate this contract and let someone else step up to the plate and encourage competition. Especially for the sake of 360 owners who have this as their only baseball videogame option (since MLB 09: The Show is a Sony exclusive).