Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the US, but translating it into a dynamic and exciting videogame is a bit of a gamble, given its rather static nature. Visual Concepts brilliantly succeeds in capturing the very fragrance of baseball, without turning the entire gaming experience into a tedious one, delivering the perfect mix between arcade fun and realism. Those hoping for a 100% accurate simulator may be slightly disappointed, but otherwise Major League Baseball 2K12 is simply the best baseball game available.
Brace yourselves for a rocky start
Without a doubt Major League Baseball would have been far less exciting without the strong influence made by Japanese, Cuban or Dominican players, adding extra value and flavor to the best championship in the world. Granted their important contribution, playing in the MLB is every athlete’s dream so it was only natural that Major League Baseball 2K12 would focus on this US/Canadian joint venture. Outside North America though, baseball is less popular so 2K Sports was bound to come up with an explicit, easy to pick up tutorial to help the newcomers getting familiar with this sport.
Fortunate enough I’ve been dealing with baseball for a long time now, so reviewing Major League Baseball 2K12 was a reason to rejoice, but I’ve got mixed feeling about the tutorial. 2K Sports did a great job in explaining the basic elements of the game, focusing on both pitching and batting mechanics as well as presenting the scoring system. On the other hand more subtle terms and notions are barely explained or even skipped entirely, making a novice’s job incredibly difficult in the early stages.
No underdogs in Major League Baseball 2K12
While it is possible to play a single match against any team in MLB, most players will decide to take on their favorite club and surge through the standings during a full season, hoping to clinch a play off spot. To see the team progressing all the way to the World Series, should be particularly rewarding for those supporting the lowly Royals or Orioles, but all baseball fans will be equally delighted to lift the trophy. Besides the inherent fun, this mode provides you with countless hours of quality entertaining and breathtaking matches, given this sport’s unpredictable nature.
The rosters of all teams include real life superstars and I was delighted to notice that 2K Sports paid a lot of attention in preserving their traits. Pitchers throw strikes exactly as you’d expect them to do after watching games on ESPN, some being proficient with the fast or curve balls while others are able of striking out batters by using just three knuckleballs. Sluggers such as Ortiz, A-Rod or Pujols can easily hit a no-doubter home run, so it’s wise to intentionally walk these guys instead of risking a devastating blow.
Just enough novelty to keep the franchise afloat
2K faced the same predicament as EA and any other developer trying to come up with something new and innovative every year, in an industry that can’t bring too much novelty. Baseball doesn’t change from year to year and Major League Baseball 2K12 is more or less a copy of 2K11. Fortunately the previous installment was good and the recent one is even better, but this is just a tiny step forward, not a giant leap.
Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed every minute spent playing Major League Baseball 2K12 and I show my appreciation by awarding it 4 stars out of 5. Watching a baseball game is much better than reading about it, so take a look at the trailer as well before making up your mind.