|System: X360,PS3, PC, PSP, Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 2K Shanghai/Visual Concepts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
People can be hard on baseball games, especially when speaking of the 2K series. Its only natural, as the long-running baseball simulation is meant to appeal to the most seasoned sports gamers who want to feel the power of the leagues heaviest hitters and fill the cleats of the best on the mound.
When the good intentions of developers to improve game mechanics go awry, or when a game simply does not offer enough new features from last years installment, gamers are rightfully off put. Though that statement can be said for the next-gen version of the game, this version of Major League Baseball 2K9 is certainly not without its faults. It doesnt fall short of being anything other than a fun game and a good time, it doesnt offer a whole lot of new stuff from last year.
Off the bat, starting up the game gives the illusion that a lot has changed; the new menus look crisp and clear, and an updated compilation of hard rock and indie music gets the player in full baseball spirit. Navigationally, Major League Baseball 2K9 looks fantastic. It is obvious the menu setup was designed for use of the Wii-mote, which is something those who are still hanging onto their PS2 should be used to seeing by now.
It is when you start scrolling through the menus that you realize there arent a whole lot of differences between 2K9 and 2K8. Those looking for new modes wont find any, as Exhibition, GM Career, Franchise, Season, and the Home Run Derby all make a return. So, if you liked what last years version had to offer in the way of game modes (Home Run Derby is actually very enjoyable when playing amongst friends), you will inevitably enjoy this version. Whether or not you want to spend the money on a new version that offers little more than updated rosters, menus, and commentary is the question.
Load up a game and youll notice the graphics have gone unimproved, at least not significantly. Characters continue to look edgy, while somewhat choppy animations can become awkward with a lot of on-field activity. Framerate issues occur, though not to the point of making the game hard to enjoy, which is one reason why some fans may actually prefer this to the unsmooth and glitch-ridden PS3 and 360 efforts. Any improvements in A.I. are completely unnoticeable, and though the PS2 version does offer online play, finding enough players may be a challenge due to the rapidly aging system. Also, while the ability of capturing MLB ambience both aurally and visually has always been a strongpoint of the 2K series, making the player feel as though he is actually controlling the outcome of a live broadcast, there seems be nothing new in the way of stadium details or crowd movement to improve on what developers have accomplished in the past.
Although this version doesnt contain as many new features as its 360 or PS3 counterpart, it does feature upgraded commentary with the inclusion of Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips for the first time in series history. It doesnt go unnoticed, with impressive play-by-play and smooth commentating to add more excitement to what can be a slow-paced game. With Jon Miller and Joe Morgan out, the new voiceover work mixes things up in the series to make things fresh, though not entirely exciting, as the two are about as stale as a day-old donut.