MLB 2K12: Hits and Misses

by
Posted March 13th, 2012 at 11:30 am

2K Sports never made an effort to convince consumers that MLB 2K12 would represent a huge advancement for the struggling series – in fact one of their top five new features for the game was supposedly the soundtrack. Instead the company laid claim that problems of the past would be addressed and authenticity improved dramatically. Unfortunately they failed to deliver in all respects. Continue on for the Hits and Misses review of MLB 2K12. 

HITS

•Batter-Pitcher Battle
The pitching in MLB 2K12 remains engaging while introducing more of a challenge with the CPU picking up on tendencies and the User having to take them into serious consideration. While it’s a bit overdone – a pitch’s ratings shouldn’t drop because a single base hit – it’s a neat strategical element to factor in. The CPU is definitely better at the plate and in turn that makes pitching a good game more of a rewarding feat. The new bunting mechanic which forces the User to place the bat rather than it be done automatically is a quality adjustment and hit variety has shown improvement.

•Commentary
The biggest strength for the MLB 2K series is in its commentary. The flow just feels right and though interrupted stories don’t necessarily get finished the comments made are generally relevant. The announcers often make call backs to earlier events and it can even be good to listen to the commentary to get some insight into the game being played that can be acted upon. There may be a bit too much of a focus placed on noting pitching tendencies now though.

MISSES

•Legacy Issues Continue Harm
The MLB 2K series has become synonymous with embarrassing glitches and terrible AI. While some of that has been cleared up in MLB 2K12 an inexcusable amount of problems remain. The framerate still drops under certain circumstances, the AI makes some questionable late-game decisions, position players stand on the mound with commentators stating “they’re done for the day” even when a pitcher was selected to take their place after the half inning. Outfielders still struggle to respond to fly balls naturally, infielders can be slow to get the ball out or throw to the wrong base, proper playoff atmosphere is sorely lacking, and all games are sell-outs. Then there are all the random oddities and baffling animations that happen. 2K has even kept the tradition going of not having a website ready at release – features such as uploading screenshots and videos (where are they going?) and online league pages can’t be taken advantage of.

•Graphics
MLB 2K12 is the worst major sports title in terms of graphics for its respective year of release arguably for this generation and prior. Some player faces received slight improvements and stadiums are decent but otherwise the game is flat out ugly. Player models have regressed, many players still look nothing like themselves, shadows are jagged, colors are dull and in some cases wrong – and all of this is somehow accompanied by framerate issues.

•Lack of Authenticity
This has to be spotlighted as 2K Sports claimed much of the focus this year was on advancing the authentic nature of the game – not just in how it plays but how it looks. Many examples of that not being the case are found in the earlier impressions, videos, and legacy issues section. MLB 2K does not come off as a respectful representation of the sport or its fans. The one area where credit is due is the foresight to include the new 10 team playoffs and divisional tie-breaker games.

•MLB Today Season
This was touted as being the big addition but really it holds little weight. It’s not very compelling conceptually – playing the game’s on their actual days or having them replaced with the real world results over the course of the season. Beyond that though MLB 2K12 would have to be a game that someone loved enough to be playing six or seven months from now for the mode to have any sort of pay-off. Those people will be few and far between.

•The End is Near
It’s easy to see that 2K Sports has no future plans for the series. Here we have a game that has barely gotten reviewed higher than the absolutely disastrous 2K9 (66 vs 64 Metacritic). Not much was done with 2K12 and their central goal of just producing a more polished and respectful product wasn’t even fully achieved.  A patch to help won’t even arrive before May. The company loses too much money on the MLB license to really care especially with the contract ending now. Even online play, one of the few bright spots the past couple years, has gotten worse and the presentation doesn’t feel as stellar now. 2K chose to market the game to non-baseball fans and for obvious reasons. The final game in a series is often remembered fondly but MLB 2K12 will not be joining that club.

Previous coverage: Initial Impressions, Gameplay Videos, Franchise Sim, Top Rated Players, Team Ratings

2K Sports has put the MLB 2K series put out to pasture with 2K12. The lack of authenticity and effort put into the game can’t be overcome by its fairly commendable fun factor. Those who have hope for a quality baseball title on the Xbox 360 will eagerly await future announcements relating to the license now that it has been freed up for others to consider obtaining.

  • Irsh

    Thankfully I bought the combo pack cause this is one of the worst games Ive played in a long time. At least I have NBA 2K12 to play instead.

  • PosterCHLD

    RIP MLB 2K. Will not be missed.

  • Seatown87

    Does anyone know if a baseball game will be out for the 360 then next year?

    • I’d put the odds on that at 50/50 or maybe even slightly lower. Even if someone like EA pays for the license (likely non-exclusive) whether they’d be in position to turn around and create a baseball game in time for next fall is questionable at best.

      • Seatown87

        Thats a bummer… Makes sense though I don’t think 2k12 is a good game, but it is still a baseball game…

  • its a shame that 2k feels that basketball is the only sport around and it has gotten weak.and these video game company”s .act like they dont care about us as customers. and 2k baseball had some promise. when ea-sports bought nfl rights in 2005 they gave up on sports. thank god fo sony enterainment with the show.

  • giffY

    hard to believe 360 owners have gone this entire generation without a quality baseball game.

    • The BIGS was excellent. Otherwise, in terms of sim, yeah that’s true….been a long time.

    • Keith.

      Why?  Football fans have gone just as long on BOTH systems (360 & PS3).

      • Even if you wanted to say that all of EA’s games have been bad (which really isn’t the case) then you’d still be dismissing All-Pro Football 2K8!

        • Keith.

          Good point, pasta.  I should’ve said a licensed football game.

  • Garcon

    Cant believe i have to buy this game just because they got the playoff system right

  • Mykal94

    Hits: Kate Upton commercial

    Misses: The actual game

  • The Metacritic thing is meaningless and you should know better.  MLB: The Show has gone down 6 points since last year (90/100 to 84/100).  Does that mean this year’s game is 6% worse?  Of course not.  Let me give you an example of how this can be misused.  “Since MLB: The Show 2008, the game has actually decreased in quality according to Metacritic (85/100 to 85/100).”  See how stupid, yet technically accurate, something like that sounds?

    Another point of contention – your biggest judgement on the game isn’t whether or not it is fun – it sounds like you think it is or if it creates a good pitcher/batter matchup, you think it does or if it provides provides good presentation.  Your biggest issue is nagging bugs.  When you mention what they are, none of them have anything to do with the gameplay.  Are we seriously talking about unrealistic animations in a sports video game or crowd size or other stupid stuff?  Have you played Madden or NCAA?  These kinds of things are a dime a dozen and are left in year after year.  Those games’ bugs are also mentioned by you but forgotten when mentioning gameplay.  Wasn’t Madden one of your games of the year last year?  My friend and I are 6 seasons into a franchise over the last year.  Trust me, it has a ridiculous amount of flaws and a lot of them are things much worse than animations or attendance sizes.  Hell, the last 3 years, Madden provided draftees in franchise mode with players whose names the commentators could not even say!  Are you serious?  They are the ones (the developers) who created the names of the players.  Why don’t you discount these flaws just like you do Madden’s?

    Finally, what magical game are you comparing this to?  MLB: The Show?  Because its online modes are all entirely broken.  It’s Diamond Dynasty is a failed addon.  It’s commentary and franchise modes have been left untouched for several years yet it continues being priced at $60.  If you are comparing MLB2k12 to some other baseball game that gets all of the details right, gives you a well done batter/pitcher matchup and also has as good as presentation, I must not know about it.  I like The Show (and own a PS3) but it has just as many nagging issues as this game does and if someone skipped on MLB2k11 and doesn’t care about pretty graphics, I wager that it would give them a lot of fun as well.  

    Now that my well reasoned response is out there, some of your readers will say something like, “HE IS TEH STUPID, THE SHOW IS FUCKKING AWESOME.  2KMLBSUX.”  Nevertheless, I thought it was worth a quick rebuttal from someone who does like the series and has gotten just as much out of it as The Show over the years.  Personally I’ll miss having two options for a sport series.  Having one option has worked so well in football…        

    • Keith.

      “Have you played Madden or NCAA?  These kinds of things are a dime a dozen and are left in year after year.  Those games’ bugs are also mentioned by you but forgotten when mentioning gameplay.  Wasn’t Madden one of your games of the year last year?”

      I haven’t played 2k baseball this year (The Show on Vita/PS3 is keeping me plenty busy), but I’ve read comments on other forums from people who like the game and I’m glad that someone who likes 2k spoke up here, if for no reason to call pasta out.
      Tiburon football has never gotten special teams right (1/3 of the game), or play action passes (even though EA has been making football games for 20+ years), there are still no in-game saves (8 years into next gen), the football still bounces like a brick (forget about ball physics), the commentary is horrible (in both Madden and NCAA), NCAA still only has one playable camera angle, etc., and yet one or the other always finds its way near the top of pasta’s list.  It’s laughable, really.

      • Carterandtrevan

        I agree even though it’s hard not to look at 2k12 baseball game as being horrible but pasta actually thinks madden 12 was a top 5 sports game lmao

        • Keith.

          Being in the tank for EA certainly has paid off for him.  See the annoying Fifa Street ads all over this site this week?  Wonder how much money EA’s putting into pasta’s pockets to run those.

          • KrodMandoon

            I like this whole “he likes their product and bashes others,so he must be in their pocket” theory people like to float.

          • Keith.

            Surely you’ve seen the annoying FIFA Street roll-over ads all over the site this week.  You don’t think they’re being run for free, do you?  C’mon dude…wise up.

          • ryan-ale

            lol but ea doesnt even have a baseball license so anything about madden makes your point moot.

      • Nba411

        I’ve been playing the show for a few years now and after this latest version felt too little was done. I’m frankly pretty tired off the Show at this point, mostly because of lack of innovation. Last time I plated a 2K baseball game was the original version on the xbox 360 way back when. It was refreshing to go back to it and I actually think its more FUN then the Show. The show maybe more realistic, but I play video games to have fun. I watch baseball if I want realism.

    • Sandwiches

      Metacritic isn’t completely meaningless.

  • I had high hopes for this game than GOD I rented it through Gamefly. I pray that EA gets the MLB licence 

    • ryan-ale

      there’s nothing i want more than this; the most innovative game mode in sports games was Owner Mode. I loved that mode so much i still play MVP Baseball 2005 to this day. There was nothing more perfect than actually owning a ball club and building it and its stadium from the ground up. It was the perfect game mode and EA did a perfect job on baseball. I hope so much moreso than anyone else that EA gets baseball back next year but i’ve been saying that forever so i’ve learned to become skeptical.

  • Clubguru35

    don’t believe the hype past is wrong the game is not that bad and i have a ps3 also for all the good that mlb the show is it is BORINGGG!!!!!!!!!!!…..mlb2k12 may not be as polished as mlb the show but the things that it does do right is more than enough for me cause the game is FUN TO PLAY.

  • Jz

    This games just as good as NBA 2k12. Graphics don’t bother me since 360 and PS3 should of been retired years ago.  I had MLB the Show 11 last year. I like the gameplay more in the show. Way more options for how you want to hit and pitch. Im not going to lie I really wanted to have pulse pitching. But the Hiting is better in MLB 2k12. I know you can turn pich speed down in the show but it feels to hard to hit a pitch. I feel MLB 2k got this perfect.

    But MLB the show has horrible rosters, and horrible trading. Its broken. I love doing fantasy drafts and 2K is the only company that gets this right. In both NBA 2k and MLB 2k. EA and the show have the worst fantasy draft ever imagined. You can’t even do a fantasy draft in Madden or MLB the Show because its to cheap.

  • asmckenna1215

    you know what I’d love to do?  get a job at 2K and just ride them until they fix stupid crap in MLB and NHL 2K.  NHL used to be so good and now it’s on some sort of indefinite hiatus, which is where their MLB series seems to be heading. It’s like nobody on their dev teams wants to work on anything but NBA (which in my opinion, is barely even a sport)

  • Jz

    Also I got NBA 2k12 on my pc for $9.99 and MLB 2k12 for $27.99. They’re worth every penny. Not like Im spending $60 a piece. MLB The Show is the most overrated sports game ever.How can a game be considered good when the ratings, fanatsy draft, trading is broken and never been fixed ever?

    • Guest

      Yea, I got both on PC. Definitely worth the price. 

    • Kujayhawks152006

      im not sure what you mean that the fantasy draft is broken..?  the trading seems to be fixed on the aspect that teams wont take like lets say Mariano Rivera for Craig Kimbrel.  they just wont, so you cant do that in franchise anymore.  

      i agree that the ratings are messed up in the aspect with the potentials.  this year that have some questionable snubs on A potentials

  • clubsteve

    it would have been nice if 2k put in half the effort into the mlb game as they do in the nba franchise…..a greatest team mode would have been a really nice addition since no other mlb game has done something like that….not even mlb: the show.

  • KrodMandoon

    It amazes me how fast people bring up Madden when somebody knocks a 2k product.

    • Carterandtrevan

      Cause madden sucks thats why and so does mlb2k happy?

  • I bought the MLB 2k12/NBA 2k12 combo pack for the sole purpose or playing MLB. It hasn’t even been put in my XBOX yet. 

  • Have you seen my baseball

    Most of your “misses” don’t make any sense to me, they seem more like little gripes as an excuse not to pay attention to the good parts of the game. How is the MLB Today season mode a miss? Just because you personally do not get that into it, doesn’t mean it’s a miss. The mode itself works really well and a lot of us think it’s pretty cool to play the games with the actual real life lineup each day. As a baseball fan, that is pretty cool to me. 

    It’s one thing if it was broken or glitched, but that’s not the case. If you don’t like it, fine, but this mode is as authentic to baseball as any fan could ask for. Way more authentic than a franchise mode or something where you can change everything about the league and teams away from reality. I don’t get into My Player or Road to the Show types of modes that much, doesn’t mean they are bad modes. 

    In your authenticity section, you list a clear hit, as they actually included the true post season format, why can’t you make that a bullet point under the hits? As for the glitches, I have no idea what you’re doing wrong, but I haven’t seen any slowdown on my original style 360. I didn’t burn the game to my drive or anything, just downloaded the patch and play the game. OS also has a few good slider sets out there that help improve some of the gameplay issues you might be pointing to. The animations and some little things could be better, no doubt, but they don’t ruin the game, all video games have animation quirks. I watched some of your gameplay videos, and no offense, but you played the game like a kid with broken thumbs, that may have had something to do with your disdain for the game. I know I wouldn’t have any fun if I played that bad either. In any event, I’ve played a lot of great games that seemed incredibly authentic to me, from pitching duels to slugfests, blowouts etc, every game is a little different and fun. 
    Just want to give the other side of the story, the game is worth a shot if you like baseball. I’ve played and watched it since I was 3 and 2k gives me a realistic experience of the game (especially with proper settings/sliders, as needed in any sports game). 

  • Henry Dyck

    It’s hard to argue with a lot of those points, but I’m having fun with 2k12. I love gesture-pitching, hitters eye, ratings for every position so you can move a guy around to more than 2 positions without a major penalty, commentary, new hitting variance and the ability to play with classic one-button hitting.

    I’m not denying that 2K12 has it’s warts, but right now, the good outweighs the bad, and more importantly I’m having FUN with this game – something I haven’t been able to do with some of my other favorite sorts (EA NHL and Fight Night).

  • Mjtags11

    I will miss MLB 2k frachise.  Another great game by 2k sports.  And it does not have the worst graphics of the release year, that goes to Madden 12, those graphics were horrific.

  • Bawlinn

    I can honestly say that I will not be playing MLB 2k12 until May. It’s unbelievable how a giant gaming corporation can develop a booty game, and even when the problems are simply glitches (which can be fixed relatively easily, and quickly), they do absolutely nothing. I am happy that I got NBA 2k12 for essentially 10 dollars though.

  • John

    this guy is a dick sucker the show has glitches to dick rider

  • Tyler

    It’s really bad that Sony owns The Show series. That series would thrive on the 360. Hopefully EA Sports or another big name brand makes a decent MLB game for the 360 in the near future. 2K12 will have to do for now.