With the 2012 MLB season upon us, Major League Baseball 2K12 is here to give gamers their opportunity to hit the field and live out their big league dreams.
Developed by Visual Concepts, MLB 2K12 takes some of the fundamental features and presentation from the last two outings and more or less offers up some gameplay and visual improvements.
Upon firing up the game, you can immediately see that the game is much more colorful and detailed than last year’s game, showing off some nice lighting, specifically in day games while player models look pretty good. The game’s better-known big leaguers look lifelike, though some of the middle-of-the-road guys are still a bit too generic. Animations work well, whether it involves running the bases, fielding a ball or swinging at that 2-2 pitch, though after a few games, I did notice that crowd reaction to foul balls remained the same, even when balls were already out of play.
One of the best aspects of the game, easily has to be the announce team, headed up by John Kruk, Steve Phillips and Gary Thorne. The trio pumps out a ton of new lines that keeps the play-by-play sounding fresh throughout a season, and there analysis of pitching situations adds to the strategic thought process of each at-bat.
Speaking of pitching, it’s not easy at first. MLB 2K12 challenges players to take the time to learn the game’s mechanics, requiring that you first choose your pitch, then proceed to move and rotate the right analog stick in the appropriate manner. Luckily before each pitch, the game will show you a prompt/animation for how to actually pitch, but it does get some getting used to. Once you finally nail it down though, it works quite well. Catchers will suggest pitches based on situations and tendencies and gamers will be able to see what pitches the batter is likely looking for, including location. It’s a realistic way of having the opposing team adapt to your play style and I dug the way it worked.
Batting is more or less easy to control, but as usual, you’ll need to decide whether or not you’re going to swing pretty quickly. Pitches fly right by you and a late or early decision will see you fishing for pitches. The game does feature some pitching, hitting, fielding and running drills, and I’d highly recommend any non-experienced players to take it for a spin.
Not much has changed in the way of Franchise mode and My Player Mode, though My Player mode allows gamers to choose what kind of player they will create, such as a base stealer, power hitter, etc. Online play was pretty lag-free during our handful of games and we had no issues finding plenty of people to play against.
The development team did however add in MLB Today Season, which is a mode that can be played alongside the real 2012 schedule, including pre-season games. After choosing your favorite team, you can play the day’s real game, which also means if they have the day off, so do you. Beware however, that the mode can only be played once throughout the season, so once it’s October, don’t expect to be able to play it again.
Baseball fans who have experience playing the MLB 2K franchise will feel right at home with a more polished version, while newcomers will surely need to spend some time learning the game before jumping into a season or online against real opponents. While MLB 2K12 isn’t a major overhaul from the last two games, it’s still a formidable entry in the series and makes for an entertaining return to the ballpark.