Publisher: 2K Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts
ESRB rating: Everyone
Release date: Available now
Well, the Masters has ended, which means that sports fans are now left with two options: the NHL playoffs and the start of baseball. Nothing against hockey, but as the weather begins to get warmer, I’m personally going to prefer to indulge in a sport without ice or anything else that reminds me of the cold days I can now safely put in my rearview mirror. So, in accordance with the sporting calendar, we’re treated to the baseball genre’s newest entry: Major League Baseball 2K11.
Like many sports games these days, 2K11 is a robust game that allows you to get a feel for the big show by starting your career in the amateur leagues and working your way through the Minors. As your players perform better and better at the plate and in the field, they eventually “get the call” and find themselves playing with the pros. Perform like an all-star at that level and you just might find yourself with a World Series ring on your finger.
There are four main aspects of the gameplay: batting, baserunning, pitching and fielding. As in previous 2K baseball sims, you assume control of one player, and you only play the portions of the game in which your player is directly involved. This is in contrast with other games in which you play as an entire team, controlling each batter, each fielder, etc. For this reason, games can be very short if your player doesn’t get up to bat much or if you play as a fielder who rarely gets a ball hit to him.
One the best reasons to play Major League Baseball 2K11 might just be the graphics. The effort used to get the players’ features nice and crisp, as well as the details for each of the stadiums, is very apparent. The games in general move at a nice pace, with a balance to each of the roles you play. I would recommend, however, that you choose to be a pitcher, since hurling strikes is easily the most fun facet of the game.
I’ve heard from many of my constituents that 2K11 simply pales in comparison to MLB 11: The Show on the PS3. I haven’t played The Show, but I have seen it in action, and so I think I understand why they have that opinion. First off, 2K11 has very few new features since 2K10, except that the graphics are nicer and the rosters have been updated. But more importantly, the controls are clunky. There’s nothing smooth about swinging, running or fielding, and as such, it’s hard to get fully immersed in the game. Frustration sets in fairly quickly, and that’s never a good thing.
For now, Major League Baseball 2K11 is unfortunately the only option available for baseball videogame fans who own Xbox 360s. It’s definitely not an awful game, and if you don’t own 2K10, this is a fine pickup (if you do, there probably aren’t enough upgrades to warrant its price tag). So while this is a fine effort, we would be kidding ourselves to say this is the pinnacle of sports gaming.