Baseball On The 360

Picked up “Major League Baseball 2K6” [for the 360] from Take 2 yesterday. I think I’m the only person in the area that cares about it: I haven’t heard a word about it from anyone else yet. True, the Xbox and PS2 editions came out in time for opening day, but still… the screen shots for the 360 were enough of a draw to get me in the store.

First impressions?

It’s trippy. They’ve done away with all of the “now standard” baseball gaming controls. Like the half circle thing? Seeya. They also did something new for the “bases”: each base/plate have an icon in the four corners of the screen. Neat because it keeps the bases out of the way but not out of sight. On “huh” note, I’ve discovered that there’s so many freakin’ commands now, that it reminds me of Madden ’06. And that can’t be good.

For pitching, it’s very weird. The manual tells you that you can set a “break point” for your pitches with the RT. To me, that means I use the LS to aim the ball, hit the RT, then use one of the A/B/X/Y/RB buttons to pitch the ball. Holding any of the release-pitch buttons will make the “cursors” around the ball do some neat stuff. Hold it too long though and the controller rumbles around… I’m guessing that means you’re in the “red” zone of the old-style pitching meter.

The trouble for me was that after eight innings of play I couldn’t ever seem to get the “break point” to work. I would tell it to go inside: the ball would flutter through the strike zone. Low? In the zone. High? In the zone. It was like a magnet. Whenever I was trying to be just out of the zone, the physical pitch would go back into the zone. Fine. I started aiming the ball at the batter. Sure, that missed the strike zone. And the batter. Zoom! Straight to the backstop. Pitching wise I had two options: in the strike zone or past the catcher.

Took me three innings to figure out how to swing. And even then, it doesn’t make sense: LS is supposed to pull/push the ball; RS is the swing controller. Balls went where they want. The Step/Swing indicator is a nice edition. You see, with the default settings, you pull down on RS as the pitch is coming: that makes the batter shift his weight, just like in real life. You can then release the RS to swing or push it up for a “fly ball” swing. So the game will tell you when you suck… Step too soon, no power. Swing too late, and well, no contact. Just to get some practice, I took a power hitter to the Home Run Derby: couldn’t get one hit out of the park in spite of “perfect” Step and “perfect” Swing a number of times. So I dunno what I’m doing wrong there.

This is all on First Impressions. And on “pro” difficulty. I’ll be scaling that to “NewbieDumbRookie” and see where it goes from there.

Other things that I noticed: great graphics for game play but some corners were cut in the overall game. As a Yankees fan, it’s obvious which team I was playing with… and as such, the uniforms look “off” – the numbers on the back of the jerseys are, well, wrong. Position wise I mean: they’re too small or too low on the back. I guess the same model is used for all teams so they leave room for names on the back of the players jerseys… since the Yankees never have names on their jerseys it looks sorta weird. I also noticed a few instances where the numbers on the jersey changed, as a player came to the plate.

I was playing in the rain last night: that effect looked nice. Really nice! So much so that I noticed another cut corner: the stadium. They spent a lot of time getting the details right but they skimped… the flags? Straight rectangles a la Epix’s Summer Games. And Yankee Stadium has a lot of flags. Trees? Gradient shading, sure, but sharp edged, straight-lined cones. Again, it doesn’t take away from the game or the rest of the graphics; it just makes me think that they rushed that part of it. Enough, so that I noticed anyway.

Oh. No Xbox Achievements. None. There’s this ongoing “you’ve gotten 20 tokens!” thing that is floating around the game, perhaps in place of Achievements, but the Xbox Live site confirms it: this game does not use Achievements. Which is just plain odd.

Update: So odd that it’s a non-issue – they have Achievements up for MLB2K6 now. Guess I was posting before they had them posted!

If my opinions change in either direction, I’ll write up another entry, but you know what they say about first impressions…

One thought on “Baseball On The 360”

  1. I think the game has some serious issues Randy. I purchased it last week and share your frustrations and rants ;)… today I visited game crazy and asked the guy if anyone was having problems with the game – he said if you have a 360 with hard drive the game will freeze and weird things will happen – like the ball fluttering etc. I still cant control this game. Im going to visit the 2k sports game site now and see if anyone else is having probs.. I think this game is very buggy – and – im not impressed.

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