MLB 2K12 Review: Eh, Why Not?


Shortstop Brad Woods, future Hall of Famer.

Vitals

Game: MLB 2K12
Platform: Playstation 3, XBOX 360, Wii, PC, etc.
Developer: 2K Sports
Modes: Franchise, Superstar, Online, and MLB Today
Cool Features: Unique pitching system, MLB Today game mode, and highly customizable players in Superstar mode.


Here’s a video of some gameplay — not mine own, do note, so I cannot say with certainty what platform this is from.

Categories

Realism: 8/10.
Graphics: 8/10.
Difficulty: 6/10.
Details: 8/10.
Playability: 9/10.
Intangibles: 40/50.
Total Score: 79/100 (C+)

Pros:

• Fewer bugs than previous versions.
• Pretty strong graphics. It briefly confused my wife.
• Fewer gameplay bugs than previous versions.
• Addicting Superstar mode.
• Solid pitching system.
• Actual broadcast centerfield camera angles (i.e. off-centered in Wrigley, perfect in St. Louis).
• Win probability charts.
• Solid soundtrack (Cool Kids, Skrillex, The Joy Formidable, My Morning Jacket, etc.), though maybe lacking in hip hop.
• It’s on XBOX 360 — and every other imaginable platform (except TI-83).
• MLB Today gameplay mode seems interesting — and maybe a decent way to vent real-life frustrations with my teams.

Cons:

• Froze one time.
• Autosave takes as much time as playing a game. It also might have caused the game to freeze that one time.
• Some gameplay bugs.
• Shallow rosters (almost no real prospects).
• Simple contracts and trades. (For some users, that might be a pro, not a con.)
• My lineups/rotations kept changing when I simulated. Making me very angry — especially considering I double-checked several times to ensure I had turned off the CPU control of my lineups.
• Over-reliance on matchup histories.
• I’m not sure if I just got terrible recently, or if getting a good jump in when fielding line drives and fly balls happens to be quite difficult.

Let’s face it. If you own a Playstation 3, you’re probably going to want to by MLB ’12 The Show. But since not all of us are railroad aristocrats, we cannot afford such a fancy device. For XBOX 360 owners, the MLB Show franchise has long been kept from us, and that’s a shame.

But here’s the good news!

MLB 2K12 is, y’know, like not that bad. One could reasonably while away their lonesome hours playing this game. The Superstar mode is fun and quick (my superstar, SS Brad Woods, is featured at the top of this page). The franchise mode is not perfect, but it’s decent. And the MLB Today mode, which has you play whatever games your favorite team is currently playing that day, seems to have promise (because everything is still preseason, I have only played it a few times and with limited mirth).

I am a little perplexed the game couldn’t get a more robust minor league system. I’m not sure if the company is required to pay a fee for however many players of whom they imitate the likeness, but it seems silly that games like Out of The Park and Baseball Mogul can have such immaculately filled out rosters with accurate ratings and aging curves, yet these fancy games can’t at least give us a courtesy Hak-Ju Lee.

There are also some apparent difficulty problems. At least in my case, I seem to be incapable of landing extra base hits with any consistency. When I first got the game, I pumped the difficulty up one level because I have pitched a no-hitter or two in my time. But immediately I went on a shutout streak, losing 0-2, 0-3, 0-1, 0-5, and so on for about a week (and after the first month, because I didn’t realize I needed to set my feet on defense, Starlin Castro led the MLB with like 12 errors — on pace for ~68 errors on the season). I bumped the difficult down, and started hitting singles at least, but began pitching complete game shutouts. :-/

Side note: My first business as the replacement for Theo Epstein: Sign SP Roy Oswalt, sign SP Javier Vazquez, sign LF Hideki Matsui (all of them cheap), trade LF Alfonso Soriano (I still can’t believe the game let me dump his contract like that) and trade CF Marlon Byrd. Presto! I was in contention (despite my first month of terrible).

Also, it seems that simulated games during my franchise season re-sorted my lineups (which kept ruining my Matsui/Soriano platoon, leading me to trade Soriano). And — here’s a tip for the run-hungry — if you have runners on the corners and less then 2 outs, a groundball will almost certainly mean a double play, BUT: if you tap the left bumper a few times (telling all the runners to advance an extra base), your hitter will run through first base, and instead of turning the double play, the second baseman will simply wait for you to run into the tag — giving your runner on third more than enough time to score. (NOTE: this was the only gameplay bug I encountered; in my previous experience with the 2K franchise, I threw my share of controllers as outfielders stood over balls, refusing to pick them up, and other such devastating glitches.)

There are also some visual glitches, but — in general — if you can tolerate John Kruk and you don’t have a Playstation 3, then why not give this game a spin? The 2K Sports franchise has certainly done much worse.

Purchasing ($42ish on Amazon.com)

I got my copy a few bucks cheaper and a few weeks earlier by getting a case-less, book-less copy at eBay. Prices have dropped since then, making my bargain buy more of just a buy.




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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.


10 Responses to “MLB 2K12 Review: Eh, Why Not?”

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  1. Mario Mendoza of commenters says:

    Out of the Park reference!

    I love that game but had to quit. I was in too deep. Be warned, it will consume you.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • RatCatBobler says:

      OOTP is the only game I felt like I had a problem with. It quickly became a five to six hours a day thing. Having the complete rosters from MLB to Rookie Ball was absurdly deep and an awesome resource though.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Person says:

    I find your score fair. On a somewhat related note (though perhaps not), I find the gap between MLB 2K12 and NBA 2K12 to be much smaller than advertised.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Phil Gregory says:

    OOTP is the worst thing that’s ever happened to my social life. I think I might have been better off just getting hooked on crack. I have no less than four separate baseball universes (three are historical, with the1954 & 2007 Indians & 1994 Expos as starting points, and one huge 40-team fictional league) and it positively obsesses me at times. I don’t think I’m gonna go in for the console games because I prefer the statistical accuracy of OOTP. That said, the commercial with the Cubs winning the World Series is one of the best commercials I’ve ever seen. I actually got a little teary-eyed…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. dannyrangers32 says:

    You should mention how they actually know about the players! Like in the video the guy talks about Zambrano’s temper…that’s a pro..from playing the older versions I didn’t see anything like that.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. DonDraper says:

    Anyone remember MVP Baseball 2005? I think it had Pujols on the cover. My all time favorite baseball game. Too bad EA killed it after they got exclusive rights to the NFL (w/Madden) and VConcepts countered by taking MLB.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. I Collect Brett Gardner Cards says:

    2005 was Manny, i think Pujols was the years before.
    I miss those MPV games, but with the 2k/MLB exclusive license expiring this year, EA can get back in it next year.

    On point, I like 2k12. The MLB.com headline page for franchise rocks.
    Plus its the only game to have:
    -rehab assignments
    -injury histories
    -inside edge data and stat tracking
    -pitch counts based on fatigue and managers discretion

    there are more, but I can’t remember them all.
    Plus, Justin-credible is on the cover.
    Come on now, son.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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