Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Closing the Book on MLB 2k8

I've been quiet for a few days, but I've been continuing to play MLB 2k8. I probably have a dozen or so games in at this point and hope to have a review draft up to Bill by tonight or tomorrow morning. This is just such a monumentally frustrating game. If you can pretend the framerate issues aren't there, that fielders aren't prone to running right over a ball, that a fielder with the ball in hand and a baserunner don't pass right through each on the basepaths, etc. then you can, in fact, have a lot of fun with this game. A lot of fun. Given that I don't have a PS3 or PSP on which I can play MLB '08 instead, I do plan to keep playing this game even after the review is done. (I'll just wait for final rosters, hope for a patch, and then see how far I can get into playing a single, full season.)

Right now I've established an uneasy truce with the game by turning off the audio commentary (something I did after the first game), letting the AI handle off-the-field roster management (the UI makes it too much trouble) and tuning the AI pitching such that it will throw pitches outside the strike zone with regularity. (Thank goodness that slider works.) I've also gone back to the dynamic fielding camera. I so want to use the aerial one, but I just cannot track a hit ball with that view. I end up reflexively running my fielder in three different directions as I try to figure out just where any given ball has been hit. I'm not sure if that's a failing with the game or the ability of my eyes to send signals to my brain properly... but it's one or the other.

Anyway, if you *need* a baseball game to play this summer and all you've got is a 360, don't avoid MLB 2k8. Just don't expect too much. The pitching model is a lot of fun, and the hitting model, while simplistic, can grow on you. It's also fully capable of providing some exciting baseball. Over the weekend I was playing the Tigers in Cleveland. I had a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth. I brought in Joel Zumaya as the setup man and they just rocked him. I think I got one out before I pulled him for Fernando Rodney, having already surrendered a run and loaded the bases. The ho-hum stadium atmosphere was suddenly electric. With Rodney I was able to get out of the inning trailing just 3-2. In the top of the ninth, I got a one out, two run homer from Miguel Cabrera and went on to win the game 5-2. It was absolutely exhilarating.