|System: X360, PS3, PS2, Xbox, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Kush Games||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: Feb. 26, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
The MLB2K series returns this year with its best incarnation yet. It may not deliver the most accurate stats or rosters such as MLB 07, but it delivers far better presentation quality, control, and realistic player animations.
What truly sets this baseball game series apart from its competition is the feeling that you're really in the game or at least watching one on television. Player models move much more uniquely, providing a much more realistic feel. For example, batters all have slightly different stances. Some stand up straight, while others crouch a bit. Batters even swing differently as well, which gives different ball reactions. It's like watching batters in real life. The analog swing controls give better depth to the game. It doesn't actually give you "True Swing" action like in Tiger Woods, but it gives you better timing when batting and you can easily choose to bunt by pressing up on the right analog stick or choose to swing by pressing down on it.
The pitching system is probably the best one I've ever seen. You can choose from 5 (five) different pitches, and you mark exactly where you want to throw them by using a marker and moving the analog stick inside it. Many older baseball games skip markers or they don't allow complete control over the area the ball is thrown in. Maybe you could choose middle, diagonally, or up/down/left/right, but that's it. Now, you can play an entire inning without throwing the ball in the same area. I admit, (no comma) that pitching is much easier in this game than batting. Normally, I'm a great batter, but it can be difficult to perfectly nail a ball with as much range as it's given. If a pitch is questionable, all the umpires will get together and make a call. It doesn't happen often, but a batter may question a strike if the ball was extremely close to the ball area.
The fielding system is the best I've ever seen in a game as fly balls are marked on the ground with highlighted areas, so it's much easier to catch flies. It's also extremely easy to throw to a base simply by pressing any shape button. Some baseball games have annoying fielders who chase you, and if you throw a ball toward a base, they may catch it first. Yeesh! The screen also features small video boxes of what your basemen are doing. "What a plus!," I thought. Plus, the basemen don't need to be controlled manually to play well. They make their own decisions on running to open bases.
The presentation during the games is incredible, but annoying after some time. Fortunately, you can turn off every presentation option. I personally love the television style scoreboard at the top of the screen and the commentary, but the default "Often Replay" shows replays more than just often. It always shows them. Still, they're great if you need a quick break between a game and don't feel like pausing.
Winning the game is always your goal, but 2K's exclusive VIP file always makes sports more fun. You get a Skybox based upon your favorite team (Mine's the Reds) where you attempt to unlock items using tokens. Tokens are earned during games. Some are earned for incredible amounts of homeruns, while one is earned for not having any points during a game.
I almost achieved that goal, for MLB2K7 was my first time playing a 2K Sports baseball game. I found myself not knowing how to swing, but I could easily pitch. (Should have read the manual) I eventually learned swinging is simple and gained four points to finish the game with 4-0. It's really easy to get into and understand.
Two people can play against each other in Exhibition multiplayer and online. Up to four can compete in a Season or Franchise online. For those without a baseball loving buddy or broadband, try any of the game's deep modes such as Season, Franchise, Manager, and Tournament. The Season mode is very traditional when compared to MLB 07's, and Franchise mode lets up run several teams and check on things like news, "buzz", ticket prices, etc. The Manager mode lets you complain to umpires and switch your roster around. Tournament mode is like having your own Playoffs.
Other fun modes are the traditional Create-A-Player mode where you can replace anyone on a team with the player you create, Home Run Derby, Scenario mode where you attempt to complete different goals during pre-set game situations, and Manager Showdown, where you play a 2 player manager game.
MLB2K7 is cram-packed full of baseball fun for all kinds of gaming fans. You can even change the controls and gameplay to classic "Videogame" style for those who don't appreciate analog stick controls. I recommend this game for anyone who likes baseball. It's one of the best PS2 baseball games and it's a lot less money than any other version of the game, minus handhelds. Some stores have already reduced it to $19.99, so there's no excuse not to buy it right away!
CCC Freelance Writer