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Who says you have to grow up? Here at SI.com's Game Room, our staffers review the latest sports video game titles to hit the market and welcome your feedback.
 
3/11/2008 12:18:00 PM

Review: MLB 2K8 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP)

 
MLB 2K8

Image Credit: 2K Sports
Things We Like
Feel Like An Ace: The new pitching mechanics are the best we've seen in any baseball videogame. Instead of simply pressing a different button for every pitch, in 2K8 you have to twist and wind the right analog stick in creative ways to execute pitches. It's not an easy concept to grasp but once you get the hang of it, it's by far the best feature of the game. The timing differs for every pitcher, depending on the type of delivery he features. You might get used to Justin Verlander's motion for seven innings, but when you bring in Joel Zumaya, you have to adjust quickly to his delivery.
Grab A Glove: The Total Fielding also is new and mostly an improvement over previous 2K titles. Instead of pressing a different button for each base, you have to use the right analog stick to point to the base you're trying to throw to, and the amount of pressure you apply determines how accurate your throw is. Double plays don't come off very smoothly but you can pull off sweet plays in the hole with your shortstop, like the Derek Jeter pirouette.
Stats And Facts: The Inside Edge Scouting Reports add an extra layer of realism. In Franchise Mode, you use team funds to buy the scouting reports for your rival teams. When you play them, you'll get pointers on where their pitchers like to go in certain counts and where the cold spots are for their hitters. Also, 2K8 has all the stats you could want, including OPS and Win Probability Added (WPA), the latter of which updates while the game is in-progress.
Trade 'Em: The more big games you have with certain players, the more likely you are to unlock his trading card. Once you collect a whole roster full of cards, you can take that team online and challenge all comers. This adds quite a bit of replay value.
Call 'Em Off: Be careful when running for a ball in the gap. Collisions are quite common if you don't call the other fielders off. Though the results are often disastrous -- inside-the-park-homers -- the crunchy collisions are pretty cool to watch.
 
Video
Check out MLB 2K8 in action:
 
Things We'd Change
Hitting Blues: The hitting in this game is an uneven experience at best. You can rake against the lesser pitchers but any hurler with a clue will mow you down, especially at first as you struggle to get the hang of the SwingStick 2.0 batting system. Like in last year's game, the key is to time your step -- pull back on the stick -- just as the pitcher is about to release the ball. Then push forward or to the left or right (for directional hitting) to make contact. I found that pushing straight back and forth nearly always leads to an easy grounder or popfly. The best way to hit is to pull an inside pitch or go the other way with something over the plate. But with the nasty pitchers it's hard to figure out the movement in time to pull it off successfully, and the penalty for choosing the wrong direction is severe.
Strike 1 ... and 2 ... and 3: The main problem is that the pitchers have been infused with the spirit of Greg Maddux -- they're all control artists. Nearly every pitch is a strike, with many of them on the black of the strike zone. Under the normal "Pro" settings, it's nearly impossible to draw a walk. In one game, I left my controller alone for an entire turn through the batting order and every one of the hitters was called out on strikes on no more than four pitches. Ted Williams couldn't draw a walk against these guys, at least not with the default settings.
Bandits: To add to the frustration of batting is that the CPU fielders all play like Brooks Robinson. In one game against the Royals, I was robbed so many times by Ryan Shealy that I had to double-check to make sure that wasn't Don Mattingly at first base.
Awkward Announcing: Commentator Joe Morgan said this while Tigers infielder Brandon Inge was at the plate: "This guy is a world-class hitter." Maybe on Mars he is, but not on this world Joe.
Live Problems: So much of the game depends on timing that when you go online, even the slightest lag can ruin the experience. In one game I couldn't swing the bat in time for the game to recognize the command. The best way to play online is to set it to "strikes only" to make the game go quicker and prevent your opponents from throwing it in the dirt the whole time.
 
Bottom Line
Keep on waiting for that perfect baseball videogame folks, 'cause this isn't it. It is worth playing for the pitching experience alone, and if you tweak the difficulty sliders you'll find hitting to be a lot more fun -- though on the 360 that will cost you a chance at some Achievement Points. Considering it's the only simulation baseball game on the market, it's worth getting. But if you are less into sim and just want to have fun, I'd wait for next installment of The Bigs.
Gameplay Graphics Audio Online OVERALL
8.0 7.5 8.0 7.0 7.5
 
posted by SI.com | View comments |

Comments:

Posted: 4:47 PM, March 11, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
only simulation game on the market??? how about MLB 08 the show... i kno its only on playstation games but its still better than 2k
Posted: 6:22 PM, March 11, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
Do ur research.... mlb2k8 is not the only baseball game out there. It is for the xbox 360 but there is also mlb08 the show for ps2 and ps3 which is way better then this game. I first bought 2k8 for xbox360 and after one day of playing this horrible game after playing all the previous versions of the 2k series I had to return it to the store and thank god I knew the worker at the store who just let me exchange it for the show. If u want a real baseball game that actually looks real and plays real get the show for ps3 or ps2 instead of 2k8.

2k8 player models are horrible I tried to complete three games between the yanks and sox and none of the players look like there real life counter part. Also the stadiums in 2k8 look nothing like they do in real life. It really looks like they went back in time when making this game in the graphics department... think original xbox.

Also the pitching when not done correctly is horrible. Your pitcher will throw a meatball when not done correctly and 9 times out of 10 results in a homerun. Not realistic at all. Also the games frame rate is awful. Playing a offiline game feels like a laggy online game. I highly suggest not buying this game at all because I could go on and on about the problems with this game.

Since I've gotten the show I haven't stopped playing it and have already played 20 plus games in my season and every game I play I notice something amazing that I didn't notcie before.

Finally I will say this I use to always buy the 2k series baseball game since back in the day when it was called espn baseball and honeslty I can't even describe how much this game was a waste of my time. Not only is it the worst baseball game I have ever played it is the WOOORST GAME I'VE EVER PLAYED IN MY LIFE Since the nintendo days. Do not buy this game if u can get mlb08 the show you will much happier with yourself in the end
Posted: 8:11 PM, March 11, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
Justin Zumaya

JUSTIN?? REALLY??

You're better than that, hopefully you get the names right the next time.

Oh and MLB THE SHOW is better
Posted: 7:45 AM, March 12, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
what about the wii version !?!? Hitting and pitching the ball with the wiimote should be nice !
Posted: 9:18 AM, March 12, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
The Show is 10x better than 2K. The Show just feels like real baseball.
Posted: 7:46 PM, March 14, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
How did EA sports lose the rights to MLB for their games. MVP was by far the best game out there and now their college game is the best baseball game on the market.
LMAO!!! All I have to say is The Show is TERRIBLE!!!! Very Poor excuse for a baseball game...

MLB2K8 at least makes the pitching aspect enjoyable as well, the one thing I don't like it hitting is too easy...
Posted: 6:49 PM, March 17, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
MVP COMEBACK PlEASE!!!!!!
Posted: 2:04 AM, March 19, 2008   by Anonymous Kerry
THe perfect baseball game has already been made and its called Ken Griffey Jr. presents major league baseball. A close second is the MVP baseball series made by EA. EA really should of stuck with baseball and let 2K do madden. The switch was worse for both games.
You forgot to mention in the things to change that the graphics are complete crap. Don't buy this game it is a waste of money especially since MLB 08 The Show looks and plays a lot better.
Posted: 8:52 PM, March 25, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
dude i would pay $100 for The Show to be on xbox 360. I had it last year on PS2 and it rocked. And MVP baseball used to be the game I looked forward to buying every year, and now that it is gone and The Show isn't on 360 I can't even enjoy baseball video games. Stick with buying March Madness 08. Seriously, if u buy 2k8 u will regret it.
Posted: 9:51 PM, March 25, 2008   by Anonymous Anonymous
I just wanted to say that 2k8 is definitely the worst baseball game ever made. The players look horrible, the fielding is horrible. It just plain stinks. I also took this garbage back to the store after playing it for 30 minutes, enough for me to know that it wasn't worth my gas money to go to the store and buy it. Get the SHOW.
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