Tuesday, March 11, 2008

MLB2k8 One Game Impressions

Okay, I want to be up front here. This post is probably a mistake, but I am so incredibly let down by my first game of MLB2k8 that I just don't know what to make of it. I don't know if this game suffers from laziness, sloppiness or flat out incompetence, but it suffers from (at least) one of them.

Things I noticed after just one game:
  • The stuttering is worse than Bill let on. The game hitches almost whenever the camera moves and whenever there is a transition graphic (and there's a metric ton of those). This should not happen in any console game, let alone a sports game, especially one that should be becoming mature at this point. The worst came in the post game in which I was no-hit by Josh Beckett (I struggled mightily with the whole right-stick swing thing; need to hit practice mode for that) and as the Sox team celebration started (which would've been incredibly cool) the game slowed to, quite literally, like 3-5 frames per second. It was a slide show and it lasted that way through the entire celebration scene, effectively killing what should be a very cool moment.
  • On a dropped third strike the catcher, appropriately, made the throw to first and the runner was called out. One problem. The first baseman's foot wasn't on the bag. I mean it wasn't even close. (This is relatively harmless, but it's annoying.)
  • Twice during a game in Detroit, the stadium played, "Cleveland Rocks." (Again, harmless, but annoying and more than a little stupid.)
  • I cannot get the score/news ticker to shut off. I found the option in the presentation settings and set it to off, both in the main menu options and in the in-game options. I saved the setting (in both places) and the damn ticker is still there. I can't tell you how much I hate that ticker. Do I care while playing a baseball game that the Buffalo Sabres are injury depleted? And the fact that the option to turn it off is there and apparently doesn't work is just beyond sloppy.
  • By default the AI pitcher does throw an insane number of strikes, but if this is fixable by sliders it's forgivable.
  • Zoom the freaking camera O.U.T. You can't judge any ball hit into the air for height and distance because it's outside the camera frame almost immediately. I don't want to see arrows telling me path and trajectory, I want to see the freak'n ball. (If there's an option to change the camera, I didn't see it.)
  • This might just be me, but Comerica "National" Park looks like a Little League field. One of the many things High Heat always got right -and I hesitate to mention HH for fear of sounding like I had a grudge against MLB2k from the outset- was that it made the stadiums look big. Really big. Instead Comerica, one of the biggest in baseball, feels incredibly small and it seems this is compensated for by increasing the speed at which runners go round the bases and the speed at which outfielders make plays on the ball. (This is primarily an aesthetic issue that may not bother you. But it irks the hell out of me.)
Needless to say this does not bode well. I must emphasize again, however, these are one game impressions. The thing is they're also the types of issues that I don't see going away just by playing the game and getting to know its nuances. (Notice I'm not making any judgments about the hitting and pitching controls and other game balance related items.) I think I'm going to step back for tonight, take a deep breath and go back to it tomorrow. Maybe I'm just not in the right frame of mind.