Posted: Tuesday March 8, 2005 12:25PM; Updated: Tuesday March 8, 2005 12:30PM
It feels like another Sunday Night at SBC Park with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.
Courtesy Take-Two Interactive
(Derek Jeter on the cover, Xbox, PS2, $20)
1. Much like this game's sister title, NFL 2K5, the graphics for MLB 2K5 have been polished to a glistening sheen. (If you have an HDTV and the proper hookups, you know what I'm talking about.) The animations add a nice touch of realism, too, like when you swing at a pitch way outside and the batter loses his balance.
2. If you get tired of hitting and pitching, try taking over the base-runners in BaseBurner mode. The CPU takes over the batter while you play cat and mouse with the pitcher, taking leads and diving back to the bag. You can take off for a straight steal or instruct the batter to execute a hit and run.
3. You can play the game in "Arcade Mode" or "Pure Baseball," the main difference being a feature called "SlamZone" -- when the pitcher makes a mistake pitch, a special interface shows up that gives the batter a chance to tee off. SlamZone will seem cheesy to some, but it's a fun way to infuse offense into the games, which often bog down into pitching duels between aces.
4. Nothing adds class to a ball game like the voice of Jon Miller, who teams up with Joe Morgan to provide spot-on commentary. The ESPN graphics and Baseball Tonight studio intro by Karl Ravech are slick.
5. If you are heavy into online play and not interested in the hard-core simulation aspects of baseball, then this is probably the game for you. Thanks to SlamZone and a slightly easier batting interface, you'll feel like you're at the arcade after just a few innings of MLB 2K5.