Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], PS3, Wii
Rated: E for Everyone
Baseball video games have always been one of my favorite sports game. I am not sure what it is about them, but I can play them for hours on end, no problem. MLB 2K12 is not any different, in that aspect, but that is not to say it’s perfect.
Since MLB 2K10 was the last game in the series that I played I cannot comment on how MLB 2K12 compares to last years title. 2K12 is full of things to do, franchise mode, custom player mode, and exhibition being the big three. Pretty much everything in 2K12 is standard for your “realistic” sports game and it does not really do anything new to progress the genre.
The default controls for 2K12 are absolutely terrible. They are using the analog stick for pretty much everything. To throw a pitch you chose with a face button, but then do a gesture with the stick to perform the pitch. Now this does not sound too bad, but in practice it is nearly impossible to be consistent with your pitching; I even found myself throwing multiple wild pitches in at each bat. The batting is similar. To get a contact swing just push the left analog stick forward at the right time, and for a power hit you must pull the stick back and then flick it forward. This batting style is not as bad as the pitching is as the movement is really just back and forth, but I prefer simply hitting a button to do these commands.
If you also prefer the simplicity of using buttons you can change the controls. All you have to do is fumble through menu after menu after menu. The menu, being one of my major complaints, can be confusing and is very easy to get lost. You would think a thing as simple as changing the controls to “classic” would be two maybe three presses of a button. But you have to dig through about four menus to find the control options. Once you change the control options you get no confirmation on whether or not your settings have in fact been changed you have to just trust that it has.
The game modes are not really different than any other baseball games. The main game mode to acquire the majority of my attention is “My Player Mode”. This mode puts you in control of one player in a MLB organization. You get to pick the team you want to work under and work to improve your skills up to a point where you will get called up to the “majors”. To improve your skills you must do well in the games and complete the goals they give you at every at-bat. Doing well and completing these goals will give you skill points in three different categories, batting, base running, and fielding. You can use these points in their respective category to gain high skill rankings. I was drawn to this mode because it lets me focus on batting and fielding in one position.
As this is a licensed game all the fields and teams, as well as their farm teams, are all present in 2K12. The one thing that is not present is the advertising. All the advertising is custom, for example the giant Coca-Cola bottle at AT&T Park is absent. While seeing “fake ads” is not a deal breaker it does sometimes detract from the experience.
The fields themselves look fantastic and all the details you would want are present. The players seem like they could have been done better as far as graphics, especially since there has been better looking players in other sports games. One major complaint many people have with sports games is their commentary, or lack thereof. Baseball games have always had some of the best commentary since it is a pretty slow moving sport allowing for plenty of time for interesting commentary.
The last problem I have with 2K12 is a minor one, but it does have to do with the in game User Interface. By this I mean the ribbon on the top of the screen that provides you with the score, inning etc. It does not give you any information about what half of the inning you are on. This is not a big deal, but sometimes I found myself forgetting the information. Also there seems to be a sort of lag when it comes to showing you whether your pitch was a ball or a strike. Because of this it takes a bit longer to get back to the pitch count, and sometimes the next pitch will have already been delivered before the information comes back.
MLB 2K12 does not do anything special or different to break the mold of your typical baseball game. It is not the best baseball game ever, but it is still pretty fun, and considering it is the only Baseball title for XBox 360 it is really not bad at all.
Overall Rating: 4/5