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Game Informer Magazine
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.
Major League Baseball 2K8 is a great baseball game. Kush Games made plenty of improvements to the core baseball engine, most of which are wholly welcome. The presentation is still good, too, although it doesn’t capture a baseball broadcast as captivatingly as Sony’s MLB 08.
So indeed, there are some aesthetic shortcomings with MLB 2k8, but everything else in the game is absolutely excellent. With controls that make things challenging but rewarding, the game is just what baseball fans have been waiting for. And despite some tweaks that need to be made with some terribly overrated players (Nomar Garciaparra with an 82 OVR stat) and some terribly underrated players (Russell Martin, anyone?), and some problems with Curt Schilling (I love ya, Curt, but you just can’t hit a 90 mph fastball anymore), the game will satisfy almost any fan. Not to mention how the card collecting adds an incredible amount of value to the game. This is definitely worth getting for any baseball fan, and should be checked out by any casual sports fan with a 360.
Game Informer Magazine
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.
G4 TV: X-Play
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.
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.
I’m sure it’s very difficult to do a triple-A sports video game these days, what with marketing people on your butt to get advertising in the game, programmers wanting to show off their advanced cloth physics and, worst of all, fans and critics (ahem) who think they know better than anyone what “real” baseball is. But it might be time for the makers of MLB 2K8 to take a step back from adding bells and whistles, and put a little more concentration into the on-field action. In a lot of ways they’re headed in the right direction, but if the game itself is frustrating to play, all the cool features and classic players, and awesome mo-cap animations go to waste. Major League Baseball 2K8 ain’t quite making it to the playoffs this year.
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.
Game Over Online
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.
So, what can The Show take home with its victory and think about for next season? Well, it won more because it performed all the basics better, rather than dominating, and it is starting to show its age in many key areas. The Show has gone about as far as buttons are going to allow it to go, and with another year of experience under their belts, 2K Games' analog controls should be even sharper for the 2K9 edition. The Road to the Show and Scout are only getting better each season though, so if the gameplay can keep up with the strides the modes have taken, 2K Games are going to have to really step it up to avoid their career following that of Nomar Garciaparra's - one dangerously swift decline.
Cheat Code Central
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.
Kudos to 2K for the attempt but until some of the items of this game are fixed, this is not a game to recommend for anyone but the die-hard baseball fan. The ideas are there, but they have too many issues to be considered a drawing point.
It's a shame that MLB 2K8 is the only baseball offering for Xbox 360 owners, as the efforts to do more than a simple roster update have resulted in a game that has solid ideas and a deep set of features, but is so buggy and inconsistent in almost every regard that it isn't worth your time unless you absolutely have to play a baseball game.
Online, MLB 2k8 is hit or miss. Lag and stuttering often make the new, delicate pitcher/batter interaction break down. With all the improvements the game includes, it's a shame that the most important thing about a baseball game seems completely unfinished. The stuttering on the field obscures what can be a very fun, tense and rewarding game of baseball. Hopefully we'll be able to update this review soon with news of a solution.
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.
It’s unfortunate for baseball fans without a PS3 that MLB 2K8 is 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. Luckily, there is a demo on Xbox Live for 360 owners to try out first, but you may as well rent it and see if you can get enough of a grip on the Total Control pitching before you have to take it back. If you’re a PS3 owner, you have no excuse buying this while the superior MLB 08: The Show is staring you in the face.
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.
It's a shame to see MLB 2K8 struggle to the magnitude it did in this version. You could see the developers had high hopes for a lot of the new functionality of the game, but when it is all said and done, everything doesn't gel together all that well. The game is still playable, and enjoyable, just don't expect it to be a perfect package.
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.
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.
It basically comes down to this: when it works, MLB 2K8 is easy to recommend. It's a solid baseball game with a great pitching and hitting interface. But it doesn't always work. The poor frame-rate combined with the shoddy online play and the occasional system lock-ups drag the game down into mediocrity. And that's a terrible shame for Xbox 360 owners who really have no other choice but to wait for an update from 2K Sports. It can't get here soon enough.
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