games have become so realistic they might as well come packaged with pine tar
rags and rosin bags. In fact, the two titles licensed by Major League Baseball
for 2007, MLB 2K7 by 2K Sports and Sony's MLB 07 The Show, are almost too much
like the real thing. Consider 2K7, which is available for every system but the
Nintendo Wii. The heart and soul of this visual stunner is the Swing Stick
system, which lets you control a batter from leg kick to follow-through. But it
takes time to get the hang of it; you'll trudge back to the dugout more than
Adam Dunn until you do.
Sony gamers will be familiar with The Show, available for the PSP and PS2 and
out on the PS3 on April 16. The key innovation in this year's version is the
Road to the Show story mode, which allows you to play as a minor leaguer trying
to get to the bigs. Both 2K7 and The Show have a franchise mode, a home run
derby, online leagues and authentic batting stances and tics. (Yes, Nomar
fidgets.) Unfortunately, both also continue the video game tradition of poor
baserunning AI. Too many potential rallies turn into Bad News Bears flashbacks,
especially for inexperienced players. The Show goes the extra step of giving
umpires personalities—some have tight zones, others are more Eric Gregg--ish.
Overall, both titles have enough to keep you busy through the summer. It might
take that long to master them.