Tuesday, April 8, 2008

MLB 2k8 Patch Impressions and Starting a Franchise

From what little reading I can find the patch for MLB 2k8 addresses just two issues: framerate and inability to manage the minor league rosters for the Padres. (I forget the specifics of the latter because, well, it's the Padres.) I didn't have much time last night to play a whole game with the new patch, but I did play about five innings just to get a taste. The framerate is much improved, but don't expect miracles. There are still the odd slowdowns and speedups when fielding and there are still hitches on infield throws. They're not as prevalent or distracting but they're there. A smooth 60fps game, that we were all sold on during the 2k conference call, this is still not.

On a sidenote, I've started a franchise with some user-made rosters. (2k's last roster update was at the end of freak'n February. Nice work, guys.) Seven games in and my impressions haven't changed much at all. This is a fun game, when there isn't bizarre sh#@ happening.

On the plus side, I had one of those great fist-pumping moments over the weekend. My Tigers were getting just obliterated by the White Sox (not unlike real life), 10-2. I was scratching my way back into it. 10-6 after the sixth inning. 10-8 after the seventh. Finally, in the bottom of the eight I was able to tie it up, 10-10. In the bottom of the ninth, still tied, I got a lead off triple from Gary Sheffield. (You can get a lot of triples in this game playing in Comerica Park, which is sweet.) The game proceeds to issue back-to-back intentional walks to Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera, who were having fantastic games, to load up the bases. (Again, sweet!) On the second pitch to Carlos Guillen (who was hitting in the low .200s), the White Sox pitcher tosses a wild pitch that goes back to the backstop. Gary Sheffield races to home for the win. Simply an awesome game. Had my wife not been home, I probably would've been running around the house whooping it up. (Yeah, I'm that kind of dork.)

The counter-balance? My very next game, in Boston, I've got a no-hitter going in the sixth inning with Verlander. There are two outs and I'm just cruising. One of the Sox hitters (I forget which), hits a lazy fly ball to right field. I'm under it with Ordonez who manages to somehow not catch the ball. It just drops in while he stands there. Okay, fine. There probably should be an animation for that, but errors like that do happen. There's one problem, though. No error was charged. I lost out on a no-hitter because this game flat out does not charge human teams with fielding errors. Throwing errors yes. But every time I have a fielder miss a lazy ground ball or drop a fly, there is never an error charged. In most games that's simply annoying, but when you've got a no-hit bid going and it's spoiled by something like that, it's simply unforgivable.


Jayhawker said...

I'd say you are pretty dead on with your take on the game. I've had lots of just cool moments playing this game. Even getting a hitter to swing at a low and away breaking pitch feels sweet.

I've had the same problem with the lack of errors in the OF on those kinds of balls. Just not with a no-hitter on the line! There fielding errors, but you will see an animation for it, where the ball hits the glove and bounces off. I've had those in the OF and infield. I think we just have to accept the limits of what the game can decipher. Just get mad at the official scorer like Mike Shannon always does for the Cardinals, and write it off.

I think the frame rate issue really comes down to them cramming so many elements between plays. If they all ran smoothly, it would be pretty cool. But the hiccups now, at least, seem to come one the play is basically decided. Then it starts loading up the cut scenes, and the game just tanks.

So while I still love the game that is buried inside, there is no excuse for shipping the game in that condition. They should have at least cut out 80% of the elements they throw at you. Have you sat through the post game show? It's a freaking slide show.

But I feel pretty comfortable with the gameplay now. While it is annoying to see the little freezes at the end of plays, I feel like i have control over the game, which allows for those great gaming moments you were talking about.

But I think the game has deserved the lackluster reviews it has gotten, even post patch. This is not for casual fans of the game. You have to be pretty into playing a baseball game to put up with the presentation. Casual players have too many other games to play than to waste time on a baseball game with these kinds of hiccups in the presentation. But if yo really do love the playing baseball, there is still that great game inside here.

todd brakke said...

Yep. 2kLA/Kush does a lot of great things with their sports games, but they just can't (or won't) get over the hump of releasing them in acceptable condition. Either their testing/play balance crew is incompetent, doesn't exist, or they don't allow the time necessary for them to do their jobs. (I'm betting it's the latter.) It's really a shame.