|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Visual Concepts||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 2, 2010||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|
Unfortunately, playing the other outfield positions isn't quite as enjoyable. Half the time the player A.I. can't decide if it wants to be automated or controlled. Controlling outfield players is clumsy, and the A.I will often fight your input commands. If you leave the players to their own devices, they'll often ignore a fly ball targeting two feet from their position. Things really go awry, however, when a ball is hit within the diamond. The camera, more often than not, will present you with a view that makes it impossible to see where the balls is, which player is closest to the ball, or which player you're actually in control of. The A.I. sometimes runs off on its own during a play, and other times the A.I. is completely clueless.
Finally, batting is also a bit disappointing. The process feels natural in some respects, but I never felt like I had enough control over the power and direction of my swings. Again, the game's "instruction" is vague at best, and the simplified mechanics offer only a shallow level of involvement for the player.
You can tweak the position of your batter in the batting box, and your swings are mapped to the right analog stick. It feels good following through on a swing at just the right time, but since almost every other element of batting is guesswork, it just isn't as satisfying as it should or could be. Mashing the X button to run a player to first feels natural, but stealing bases while trying to contend with your batter will often leave you scratching your head in confusion.
In terms of production values, it's not easy to go back to PS2 and get excited. That being said, the audio and camera cues do a surprisingly powerful job of making you feel like you're watching and participating in a real, televised game of professional baseball. There's ample shimmer, and players still have unblinking, deadpan stares, but as a whole, the presentation comes together nicely on the aging hardware.
I never felt as though the music and/or announcers were intrusive, though adding rain-delay cutscenes seemed completely unnecessary. The presentation does a great job of taking you out to the ball game, but it's often at odds with the actual gameplay. Again, camera angles aren't always conducive to allowing the player to get to a ball in time, and outfield players animate stiffly.
MLB 2K10 is a decent game, and I almost want to tip my hat to 2K for including PS2 owners in their line-up. But the core mechanics aren't innovative; certain elements of the gameplay are cut back too much, while others are convoluted and unintuitive. Where the franchise continues to fail the most, however, is in extending a hand to newbie players. If it's the company's plan to ship a new installment annually with minimal changes and additions, they'd better make damned sure the experience is inviting to new audiences. MLB 2K10 on PS2 does little to appease long-time fans, and it sticks a middle finger up at anyone who's interested in the franchise for the first time. There are plenty of solid options contained within the package, but there's scarcely anything here we haven't seen before. MLB 2K10 will give you a basic semblance of "the show," but it shows little "love of the game."
CCC Freelance Writer