Xbox 360 | Major League Baseball 2K12 Review

March 10, 2012   ·   0 Comments

The Video Review

Marko Djordjevic tries to pitch a perfect game in this video review for Major League Baseball 2K12.

Being the understudy to a beloved star is a tough job. Your efforts seem all the more disappointing because people compare you to another, more popular performer. This also applies to 2K’s baseball games; whatever they do, year after year, they just can’t escape an unfavorable comparison to Sony’s superior series, MLB 12: The Show. MLB 2K12 tries to stand out with a new right analog pitching system. Although this mechanic is a nice inclusion, unimpressive visuals, numerous graphical glitches, and other issues make this year’s baseball game difficult to recommend.

Tim Lincecum looks to shut down the Dbacks on opening day.

Historically, pitching in baseball games has incorporated a three-click system. This year, 2K Sports has implemented a pitching system that makes use of the right analog stick. Each pitch has a corresponding motion. Performing a change-up requires holding the right analog stick up for a moment and then quickly flick down; to perform a slider, flick the stick right then follow that up with a downwards semi-circle. Your success with a pitch is based on both the action performed and the timing.

When initiating a throw a white circle appears onscreen. Inside, another yellow circle begins to expand. When the inner circle meets with the outer circle, you stop the motion and perform the pitch. The size of the inner circle and the accuracy of the motion determine the success of the pitch. Performing the wrong motion can result in a wild throw or one that goes off your intended mark.

Using the right analog stick for pitching is fairly easy to grasp. At the same time, it is forgiving, and only the most incorrect of gestures results in a wild throw. Most pitches require simple motions; only a few of the specialty tosses require more complex motions. Having it so that every pitch is thrown at its maximum potential takes some time, but throwing difficult-to-hit balls shouldn’t take long.

To ensure that the same motions aren’t overused, MLB 2K12 has implemented a dynamic tendency system which gives constant feedback regarding pitch successes and failures. When a new batter is up to the plate, pop-ups inform you of the last pitch thrown to the last batter and, if applicable, to that specific batter. These can be very helpful as you progress through a game since knowing the correct pitches to throw will help with winning games.

To prevent the overuse of one particular kind of throw, AI batters will be able to pick up on trends and effectively swing at what they face. This forces you to change how you approach each batter. By keeping it varied and paying attention to the pitcher’s pitch count, you should be able to shut the door on any late-inning rallies.

On the field, there are numerous issues, especially when the AI is in control. When playing the My Player mode, your teammates are regularly out of position, which allows easy single after easy single. Nor do players adapt to events unfolding during the course of a game. For instance, when balls are constantly heading towards a specific area, players don’t move to a better spot in order to prevent the same thing from happening again.

You have absolutely no control over the actions of your teammates and are forced to rely on an AI coach. On top of that, your AI manager makes illogical decisions. Playing as a pitcher, you might unexpectedly be pulled while pitching a shutout after only three innings of work. On the other hand, you may be kept in too long when everything you throw is resulting in a base hit.

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