Having put in 35 innings of “work” with MLB 2K13 and time skimming through Association and MyPlayer modes there’s really no reason to dig any deeper into the game to review. Conjecture that it would be 2K12 with a roster update and only the absolutely necessary changes like the Astros to the AL and new schedule was in fact on the mark and as it turns out generous. It’s a product that on its own is certainly not 2K9 levels of bad, it’s okay for those who don’t care all that much about baseball or haven’t played recent iterations of the series, but represents a year that was not utilized to improve it yet the price remains the same.
2K Sports has essentially insulted consumers by failing to offer anything of worth with MLB 2K13 vs 2K12 and instead marketing the Perfect Game Contest as a distraction. In past years the contest has been propped up alongside the changes but nothing accompanies it this time around. There are no distinguishing differences in the gameplay or presentation and the primary modes appear to be exactly the same. Though it has been assumed to be the case the reason why the company failed to highlight improvements in 2K13 turned out to be due to the lack of any being present. Even worse, the feature set has been reduced, as Online League functionality has been removed. That’s right, Online Leagues have been stripped out.
On the plus side of things cosmetic changes have been implemented. The Astros have their new uniforms and Safeco Field has its new outfield dimensions and video screen. The correct schedule appears to be in place within Association/MyPlayer modes. Outside of those type of elements though one would be hard pressed to point out anything different from 2K12. The menus and interfaces are the same, no work has been done to the dated graphics including the jagged shadows and ugly player faces, and the player pictures are outdated – even for someone like Ichrio who has been with his new team since last season. Poor Yoenis Cespedes is still stuck with his cyberface from last year. The pitcher-hitter battle remains strong but only because that was already a positive in 2K12.
There are the off-putting animation speed inconsistencies often seen in pitching and catcher throwing motions and then oddities like this and this. Of course none of it is surprising as the same problems were seen in 2K12. The throw meter takes some getting used to again as the “green” area to hit can be tough to judge in a split-second and missing (even going soft thinking it’s safe) usually results in an error.
In a full season sim within Association mode the Reds came out with the most wins (99), Jose Bautista led the league in home runs (54) followed closely by Curtis Granderson (53), Bautista won AL MVP, Aaron Hill won NL MVP, and the respective Cy Young winners were Vance Worley and Dan Haren. The AL West had all teams but the Astros over .500 and even they won 79 games. The Playoffs in the AL were comprised of the Mariners and Angels (play-in) along with the Rangers, Twins, and Rays. In the NL it was the Brewers and Diamondbacks (play-in) plus the Reds, Rockies, and Braves. The Braves would go on to win the World Series in six games over the Rays.
Commentary, what has been the strength of the series, is largely recycled. There are a few throwaway lines in about a team’s performance last season or for the players who had high profile 2012 campaigns like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, but otherwise there isn’t much new. Even the Astros’ move to the AL wasn’t touched upon at all in the multiple contests I had them involved in with the hopes of hearing something about it.
There is also no reason to expect post-release support of any significance. If there is a patch it will have to wait until after the Perfect Game Contest period as was the case last year. MLB Today Season mode never even worked properly in 2K12 – no reason to think it will here. Support was dropped around midseason for MLB Today period. Occasional roster updates could be all that’s ultimately delivered post-release.
The MLB 2K series still presents decent fun factor but the swindle 2K is trying to pull by putting practically the same game on the market for a second straight year minus an important feature can’t be overlooked…particularly when factoring in the $60 sticker price. Criticize any other league licensed product on the major consoles all you want but no other has ever attempted to release with zero gameplay enhancements or changes to primary modes and nothing additional for the feature set. If MLB and 2K had any thoughts of sticking together into the next generation of consoles this game should completely bury that possibility. The league should be embarrassed and 2K has shown no pride in the franchise and no ambition to continue it.