Thursday, March 05, 2009

Major League Baseball 2K9, Complete With Soundtrack

First off, and this is important: if you own a PS3, you are dating the equivalent of your fat cousin instead of a supermodel if you buy this game instead of MLB 09: The Show. That's how much separation there is between the two games in terms of quality.

That is not surprising. The Show is an "A" game.

Here's something that is surprising, though: this game has lots of good things in it, and there's no reason it couldn't be a solid "B+" effort. It certainly has the raw potential to be the second best graphics-based baseball simulation of all time.

So why isn't it? Because they won't finish the damn game. Hey, congratulations--it's $60 for another early beta.

Bugs, glitches, stuttering--clearly, this game was released months before it was ready, but then, this game is always released months before it was ready.

Is this year three of the three-year plan, or since Ben Brinkman left last year, is this year one of a new three-year plan? And why does anyone believe anything they say anymore?

At some point, the people in charge of Visual Concepts--Greg and Jeff Thomas--have to accept responsbility for this. No disingenuous bullshit about "annual release cycles" (which they demand, not us), no whining, no excuses. Because at this point, I'm giving the Thomas brothers their own theme song. Just click here, and actually, I think the visuals are pretty accurate, too.

What's particularly painful is that there are some outstanding elements in this game. They've done a phenomenal job with making a crowd appear more natural looking than I've ever seen before. The announcing is wonderful.

Okay, I've got nothing from there. Just about everything else is conceptually good but actually buggy. It's not obscure, difficult-to-reproduce bugs, either--we're talking about very basic, obvious problems, things that anyone would easily see within the first few hours (in some cases, within the first few minutes).

Plus, we've hit some new lows with this game. Want to play the Home Run Challenge? Get ready to see the State Farm logo plastered in the lower-left-hand corner for the duration. Yes, we've now got persistent advertising logos on the screen. Funny, they managed to finish those with no problem.

If you don't own a PS3, you're not strapped financially, and you want to play a great baseball game, then buy the PS3 and get The Show--it's superb. If you have a 360, though, and you want to play a baseball game, I can't even recommend 2K9 as a desperation purchase in its present condition. Maybe after the second patch. Maybe after the third.

Cue the Thomas Brothers theme song.

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