Major League Baseball 2K10 Review (Wii)
Last fall, I lauded the 2K development team for providing a fleshed-out and fully realized NBA experience for Wii owners. While the graphics in NBA 2k10 for Wii were a bit of a handicap, its feature set was just as deep as the one found on the 360 and PS3.
Unfortunately for baseball fans, the same cannot be said for MLB 2K10. It shares the graphical problems of NBA 2K10 but lacks anything that will reward gamers over the long haul. For those Wii owners dedicated to the 2K line, MLB 2K10 cannot be seen as anything but a step back after NBA 2K10's two steps forward.
Before tackling what did not make the cut, let us look at what the Wii version does well. The actual baseball gameplay is not too bad. The motion controls are pretty intuitive and provide for acceptable gameplay without having to clear out your living room. Pitching is done with a simple up and down motion with the Wii remote that is timed to an expanding target. You obviously take your hacks by taking a swing with the Wii remote (with the added benefit of being able to waggle your bat pre-pitch).
Fielding is responsive, with throws requiring a simple flick while holding a corresponding base button. If you do not press a button, the game makes a "smart" throw for you, but occasionally I questioned the use of that specific adjective.
Certainly, all of the motion controls would have benefited greatly from the use of the MotionPlus technology.
...Are Outweighed by the Negatives
But beyond the core gameplay, MLB 2K10 stumbles out of the box. First, this is one of the worst looking baseball games available on the Wii. I know that this game attempts to satisfy the needs of the "sim" enthusiast, but looking at it made me long for the caricatured approach used in less "serious" games. This game looks especially bad when compared to what is available on other consoles. In fact, I would wager that PS2 games might even look better.
The frame rate is not very good either, which leads to timing issues. Batting, in particular, seems to require specific timing that does not always seem to match what is on the screen.
The audio is not quite as bad as the graphics, but it is still rather disappointing. The atmospheric sounds are good enough, but the commentary seems clipped and sparse.
The most tragic thing about this game is that it ignores all of the progress and innovation added to the other versions of MLB 2K10. There is no online functionality, both in regard to playing others and features like MLB Today, 2K Share or Living Rosters. And without the online features, the stunning presentation elements, including overlays and commentary, go out the window.
Also absent is My Player. The only modes you will find are Exhibition, Season, Tournaments, Franchise, and Home Run Derby -- all staples of baseball games for many years. There is a "collection" feature, but it is not the player cards and create-a-team. Instead, you get the Owner's Box, which seems ripped wholesale out of the MLB series circa 2K6.
As a whole, this package seems pretty slim, especially when you consider that it costs only $10 less than the fully featured, much improved versions found on the other consoles. The actual gameplay is acceptable, but the game itself seems like something that would have been released during the last days of the Gamecube. It lacks any kind of innovation, suffers from terrible graphics and is missing features that most sports gamers have come to expect (most notably online play). Lastly, it just is not much fun.
it seems that, once again, Wii sports fanatics get the short end of the stick. In fact, when it comes to sim baseball, you probably do not even get the stick.
On the Field: Functional gameplay that, at the same time, seems pretty dated. Some AI quirks include throwing to the wrong base and too many dropped pop fly balls.
Graphics: Clunky, jaggy graphics look like something from the last generation of consoles. Frame-rate issues only add to the problem.
Sound Design: Sparse commentary backed by some adequate atmospheric noise.
Entertainment Value: Certainly not worth the $50. Standard modes without the benefit of online play or living rosters hinder how much you will want to play. Like most Wii games, this works better with other people.
Learning Curve: The motion controls are explained well enough but some of the finer timing elements might require practice.
Score: 4.5 (Below Average)