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Major League Baseball 2K10 Review

Major League Baseball is back on PC, and it is better than ever

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The state of sports titles on PC has seen much trouble in recent years. In late 2000s, EA Sports was the only choice for users who wanted to play sports titles on their PC. However as the consoles grew in popularity, EA has made the decision to develop their new “next-gen” sports titles for consoles only and to continue keeping the PC users on the back seat, offering the PS2 port of their sports games. This caused much outrage among very active sports communities on PC, who were not only dedicated players but also diligent modders, always keeping their games current and constantly adding value to the gameplay. But, it was only a matter of time with declining interest in the genre that EA Sports decided to cancel most of their lineup on PC or revamp it into browser-based arcade games. But finally, another company has entered the market in 2008. On October 20, 2008, 2K Sports released their first PC game, NBA 2K9. The sports gamers, who may not have even liked basketball, realized how great sports titles can be when they are ported from next generation consoles. As such, the game did well on the platform and warranted last year’s title NBA 2k10 to also appear on PC. Alas, 2K Sports did not want to stop there and have ported their Major League Baseball series to the platform as well. And while MLB 2k10 may not be the greatest sports game ever, it is definitely worth picking up if you enjoy sports games on your PC.

Major League Baseball 2K10

The game has all the same features and plays exactly as the 360/PS3 counterparts, which is again a very respectable gesture from 2K Sports, who could have just as easily ported the PS2 version of the game. This time around, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is the cover athlete. After rather negative fan feedback from last year’s title, the game engine has seen a major overhaul in everything from pitching to base running. The result is a solid title that plays well and offers tons of authenticity. As any modern sports title, the game offers a wide variety of online and offline modes of variable depth. Last year’s feature “Live Rosters” has been updated further, becoming “MLB Today”. The game checks your game’s rosters and content for online updates and brings updates and corrections so that you may play with the latest real life rosters and player conditions. Every time you start the game (and you have set the game to remember your online login), the MLB Today feature presents the player with the current or upcoming games, letting you quickly jump in and play through a real upcoming fixture.

Likely the biggest new game mode to the series this year is the My Player mode. This mode lets the players create a version of themselves with full visual customization, and try and make it to the big leagues. Players begin their career on a selected or random team in the minors, and play games via a single perspective. When you are in the dugout, the game presents a statistical screen, keeping you updated with the game’s progress but not forcing you to watch the long innings until it is your time to step up to the plate. Players can also just choose to skip to the next time they get to play, whether it’s at bat or in outfield. When you are batting, the gameplay is the same as any other game mode. There are also bonus goals presented to the player, such as hitting a home run or not striking out, which awards extra experience points. Once you’re on base, you continue controlling your virtual player from a single third person perspective, giving you freedom to decide what action to take at each base. When your team is in the outfield, you do not play through the whole half of the inning – instead, players only get control of their player when there is an event in your relevant coverage area. So if you are a left fielder, the game lets you play during the few times when a ball is hit in your general direction.

MyPlayer mode makes games advance fairly quickly and realistically, only allowing you to play when your virtual player does. After each game, you are given a certain amount of experience depending on how well you did and how many bonus objectives were completed. These points are divided into three categories, each relating to various player attributes. How you spend these points is up to you, but the points are not global – if you do poorly at bat but great in the outfield, you will only be able to upgrade your outfield abilities and not able to transfer your points to batting. The game also offers you full description of the requirements needed to get called up from the minors, so you are never lost as to why you have not been called up yet. In addition, your career begins with a very important game that allows you to go straight to your Major League team if you do well under pressure. As expected, if you perform poorly for your team, a trip back down to the minor leagues is very possible. As your rating improves and you eventually become a star (over many seasons of play), the game even allows you to influence the management regarding your batting order, outfield positioning and future player signings.

Major League Baseball 2K10

MLB 2k10 also features the usual set of modes, such as franchise, online leagues, and Home Run Derby. Franchise mode is a management mode where you are in full control of your team both on and off the pitch. Home Run Derby is a fun mode that can be played with friends and is quite similar to the real event. Online leagues are new to the PC this year, and offer either season mode or tournament mode with fully customizable settings. One online mode that is surprisingly absent is basic one versus one play. There is also a postseason mode, allowing users to skip the season and create a playoffs format with the teams they wish, to see if they can win the ultimate prize. New this year is the Drills mode, which also appears with regular frequency in My Player mode. Drills are various gameplay challenges set forth by the game in order to give the player valuable practice with the game’s core mechanics, while also rewarding the the players that complete them. This mode acts as a very good tutorial in helping players get familiar with the game and practice their techniques.

With a redesigned engine, MLB 2k10 features some very solid gameplay across the board. With the new “Total control hitting”, the players are able to time their swings more accurately than ever. Using the left stick for added direction allows the player to also control the direction of their hit, though there is still no control on where in the “hit box” the player will swing. The “Pitch Tell” feature allows players to predict on the speed and direction of the pitch as it travels towards them. Different players in the game have varying levels of this stat, making it a guessing game for some batters while others are comfortable hitting almost anything thrown their way. Other than the above, batting remains a trial and error style of gameplay, similarly to real life. You can’t really control the power of your swing, and the directional controls are inconsistent at times. But as many fans of baseball will tell you, the best part of the game isn’t batting anyway – it is pitching. With 2k10, the pitching system has been re-worked from previous years and is now an enjoyable, though rather easy, experience.

Pitching in the game presents a mini-game of sorts. The player has at least 5 pitching techniques available to them, which vary depending on who you play as. Selecting one of these techniques then allows you to guide an on-screen indicated into the position of where you want to thrown the ball, though being sure to account for spin and drop during flight. Once you’ve got the indicator in the desired location, you initiate a two-step movement with the right analog stick to match the on-screen indicator. For example, a fast ball requires you to press down, filling a power meter until it reaches optimum level, and then flicking up to thrown the ball. Curveballs are done by first guiding your stick to the right, and at the right moment gliding it along the bottom to the other opposite side. The rest of the pitches all present variations to these stick movements, which must are done quickly and with good timing. If you hold the stick in the first position for too long, the result will be a wild pitch which can go anywhere and could even allow your opponents to steal a base. Meanwhile, switching from the first to the second position too quickly will not allow your power meter to fill, resulting in a slower pitch that is easily hit. This system works well, and pitching in 2k10 is definitively enjoyable though not perfect. One of the major issues is that it is rather easy, even on higher game difficulty settings, allowing you to strike-out opponents more often than seems realistic.

Major League Baseball 2K10

The game runs on an older engine, though revamped in terms of gameplay, the graphics suffer a bit. Thankfully, PC users are able to increase their resolution to far more than what console versions allow, which makes it the best looking version of the game. The AA can be tuned as well, resulting in very crisp and realistic visuals. While this brings the overall game graphic levels to very good levels, it also makes some of the texture issues stand out more. Some less-known or randomly generated player faces are rather awful to look at, with low polygon counts and unsettling facial expressions. There are also animation glitches, most notably in My Player mode when you are forced to watch your virtual player during every action. Sound in the game is good, featuring catchy music and varied on-field sound effects. The commentary deserves a special mention, with the voicework being excellent as well as providing real and valuable comments on the events on the field. Though the presentation cutscenes in the game are fun to look at for a while, they do begin to repeat themselves – which makes the skip feature very useful. There is even a “Hurry-up” mode which allows players to get to the gameplay as quickly as possible.

It is definitely commendable of 2K Sports to bring their franchises to PC. Just as EA Sports has declared the platform non-viable for sports titles, 2K has not only brought their games, they allowed PC users to have the best version possible. When the developer started on PC with NBA and MLB in 2009, the series lacked a few features such as online modes, which were only found on consoles. This year, MLB 2k10 is a big improvement, a version packed with features that are identically comparable to that of the consoles. This is a good sports title for fans of baseball, with many new improvements and fun gameplay mechanics, though it is hard to recommend it to everyone. There is a lot of variety and authenticity to be found in 2k10 with MLB Today and My Player being excellent additions to the series. There are also however some technical problems and difficulty tweaks that still need to be worked out. Regardless, if you are a fan of baseball, this is the definitive sports game to own on PC. Bringing major new additions to the game itself, as well as the online mode to PC, 2K Sports have shown their commitment to making the series excel every year with more than just roster updates.

Our ratings for Major League Baseball 2K10 on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
84
Some excellent commentary and a unique menu system helps the series stand out
Gameplay
78
The engine has been revamped to address major issues, and it makes for a solid baseball experience, though there are still some issues that remain
Single Player
84
A wide variety of modes present tons of replayability and unique experiences, with My Player and Franchise modes leading the way
Multiplayer
60
Making its debut on the platform, online play offers very few modes and a scarce player population
Performance
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: Intel Core i7 CPU 930 @ 2.80GHz
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 Vapor-X 1GB
RAM: 6GB DDR3
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
PC Specs

82
The game runs very well, and can be easily maxed out on older PCs. It also looks great, though not without some animation issues and texture glitches
Overall
78
Though this is the only baseball game on PC, 2K Sports took no shortcuts and have created a solid and enjoyable title that should only get better with each season.
Comments
Major League Baseball 2K10
Major League Baseball 2K10 box art Platform:
PC
Our Review of Major League Baseball 2K10
78%
Good
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Major League Baseball 2K10 is ranked #599 out of 1969 total reviewed games. It is ranked #51 out of 105 games reviewed in 2010.
598. Max Payne 3
PlayStation 3
599. Major League Baseball 2K10
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Screenshots

Major League Baseball 2K10
24 images added Mar 7, 2010 20:06
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