While hot dogs and hamburgers were being consumed to honor our troops a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to play The Bigs 2 in New York. I also got to check out the revamped career mode, the fresh season mode and the various multiplayer modes available in the game. The game will be released in July, but for now, here’s your chance to get your fill of The Bigs 2.
This edition of The Bigs adds a mode that’s synonymous with its simulation cousin, MLB 2K9. While both games have season modes with complete schedules, stat tracking and full rosters, there are some distinct differences.
The schedule in The Bigs 2 is technically 162 games, but the way they’re played has changed. While some games will go the full five innings, others will insert you into specific spots in a game. For example, game one of a series may ask you to join the game when you’re down 6-5. The season will progress like that, instead of grinding you down with a game nearly every day.
You can also make roster moves like a general manager, but not with the ease of a simulation MLB game. There is a trade meter that builds up as you reach certain checkpoints and successes. But, trading Doug Mientkiewicz for Albert Pujols will not be possible unless you pull off some real magic in season mode. You can also fix your lineups and attempt to make your way to the playoffs.
Rosters will also be updated to include the latest deals and any dramatic career highs and lows (hello, David Ortiz).
Gone is the Rookie Challenge mode, and in its place is the Become a Legend mode. It’s like MLB 09: The Show’s Road to the Show with a hint of TNA Impact's career mode. You suffer a near career-ending injury and end up playing in Mexico (the only comparison to the TNA game). As you progress, you’re drafted by a random Major League team and continue on your trek.
Instead of playing just your at-bats like in RttS, you will get to play as all your new teammates, just like in season mode. The goal, though, is singular: be good enough to play with the Babe Ruths, Jackie Robinsons and Roberto Clementes of the world in Cooperstown. And thankfully, a 700-foot home run will not include an automatic urine test.
New to The Bigs 2 is the Pick-Up Game mode. After you have recycled every rivalry with your friends, this mode can bring the excitement back. It’s similar to picking a team on the playground. Strategy comes into play here because the players available are completely random. You can go ahead and grab Johan Santana to man the mound, but your opponent might pick up Matt Kemp to play center field while you’re stuck with Lastings Milledge.
Home Run Pinball returns to The Bigs 2 as well. This mode has you terrorizing Times Square, Tokyo and Las Vegas. For the unfamiliar, this is a home run derby mini-game where you’re rewarded for destroying the environment with long balls. You are able to choose any player in the game, with power guys obviously having an advantage.
This is where Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui can earn his nickname. It’s a great one-on-one mode, and if you’ve ever played a baseball game, you can figure out the timing quickly. It’s a heck of a good time and simple to play. Home Run Pinball is the perfect game mode to go with pizza, beer or both.
In New York, there was a Home Run Pinball tournament where members of the PR staff for The Bigs 2 competed against the media members in attendance. I took down DJ Rhude (formerly of XXL magazine, now with vetzballin.com) in the semi-finals and executive Brian Roundy in the finals. In the end, OperationSports.com came out a winner.
The Bigs 2 will be released on July 7.