|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Kush Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Graphically, 2K8 is impressive. The players are all well-designed to capture the likeness of their facial features and body structure. Kush has also done a good job of simulating different batters stances and pitching movements from player to player. The stadiums are brightly lit and detailed from the infield to the backdrop, with special attention to capturing the picturesque cityscapes of places like Detroit and Pittsburgh. Little animations like seeing patrons walking through the halls and waiting in line at concession stands, or talking to pre-game reporters is a nice touch and brings the more realistic feel of a broadcast to MLB 2K8.
One of the best attributes of the game, and something Kush obviously worked on in detail, is the commentating. The commentary of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller is incredibly in depth both before the game and during. Before the game starts, they set everything up well as they introduce a little history about each stadium and sometimes a quick note about the teams or a specific player. During the game, they do an excellent job of having John call all the pitches and plays and Joe interject with some knowledgeable baseball insight that actually reflects what's happening. If you hit a homerun on a cutter, the duo will talk about what went wrong with the pitch and why the cutting fastball may not have worked for the pitcher in that strike zone. As a batter approaches the plate, they will sometimes mention what he did last time at bat or a career stat. Sometimes I notice a comment may come in a bit late after a play, but things like that are usually expected in any sports game.
Even little things like the in-stadium announcer announcing the weather and wind speed over the loudspeaker add nicely to the ballpark atmosphere. There is one animation between innings where the organ will play "Take Me out to the Ballgame" and camera pans over the audience as the crowd sings along in unison. Things like that are fantastic additions to capture the true spirit of a Major League Baseball game. Kush has worked hard to give 2K8 an authentic baseball feel.
But like any game, 2K8 has its flaws. One very big frustration I have with this game is the music selection. To each his own, but when I play a baseball game I expect to hear the music associated with live baseball games - hip-hop, hard rock, and Latin music. For some reason, this soundtrack is filled with horrendous artsy indie rock, which to me, should not be the soundtrack to a modern baseball game.
Another big disappointment I found was the Home Run Derby. There is no broadcasting whatsoever for this event, which I often love playing in baseball games, especially among a group of friends. There is also no name announcements for the heavy-hitters in competition, and you can only select from about 15 players. What should be a fun mini-game on MLB 2K8 is instead a boring add-on that is totally sterile without any dialogue whatsoever and is really no fun to play.
With all the expected deep Season and Franchise modes, Tournaments, and GM modes, 2K8 is a lot of fun with a lot of teams, players, and stadiums to play around with. It is certainly a step in the right direction for the franchise, and while I am still a believer that EA makes the best sports games out there, 2K is in charge of the baseball market and, for now, this is the best one out there.
CCC Freelance Writer