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.
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.
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.
•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.
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.
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.