MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

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feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby feilong801 » May 31st, 2007, 12:56 pm

MLB 2k7: Don't Believe The Anti-Hype
 
 
Some fine print: I do agree with the The Video Game Critic most of the time. Sure, maybe I might differ on some fine points; an A game for me might be a B+ for him, or vice versa.
 
It is a rare event indeed when I disagree with The Critic by more than one letter grade.
 
But it does happen. For example, I think that Ninja Gaiden is an undisputed NES classic, despite the whole "can't climb walls thing" that some people hate. He gave it a C+. I'd give it an A.
 
Yet even THAT example doesn't approach the wide gulf between our grades for 2k Sport's latest next gen baseball offering, MLB 2k7 for the Xbox 360.
 
He gave it a D+. I'd give it a B+-.
 
Why the heck would we be so far apart? What gives?
 
I'll do my best to explain why I think MLB 2k7 is a solid baseball game, and then do my best to guess why The Critic doesn't like it. Hopefully, you can then judge for yourselves which "camp" you fall in.
 
Essentially, sports games began their life as "action" games. Baseball games, in particular, were just dressed up versions of Pong. The physics of the ball movement were simple, and batting was a simple game of timing. Changing speed was the only mechanism a pitcher could use to strike out a batter (certain real life pitchers have actual success by only changing speeds, interestingly, so I suppose this isn't totally unrealistic).
 
As videogames grew and matured, however, the "action sports game" became more realistic: real players, statistics, stadiums, season modes, etc. Eventually, however, the genre of sports games grew so much as to become something totally different than an action game. They became the very first "sandbox" games, games that weren't so much about white knuckled action (though the best ones could still give you that) but about playing as the manager/coach, general manager, owner, and even commissioner of one's own sports league.
 
Most sports gamers (at this point, these gamers are a totally different classification: there are plenty of gamers who only play sports games, and own consoles for that purpose only) happily accepted the sandbox model. The sandbox model caters to hardcore fans of a given sport: Madden freaks design their own plays, and know exactly what a "pulling guard" is. Basketball people know the high post pick n' roll. Hockey fans know the subtlety of the neutral zone trap. Baseball fans want to bring the fielders in, make a suicide squeeze, and double steal.
 
MLB 2k7 is a sandbox sports game, designed for baseball people. I am a baseball person (actually, I am a sports person in general, though hockey has been irritating me lately and boxing is in the doldrums). I love the sport. I don't mind the long games... to a point (some players and pitchers take their waggling to absurd extremes, such as Nomar Garciaparra with his glove waggle). I dig the strategy and I appreciate a tightly played, well pitched 2-0 game as much as a 14-8 slugfest.
 
That said, many of The Critic's points don't seem to line up with my experience. It took me about a half hour to learn the controls, which I generally liked. The thumbstick bat control allows me to hit to all fields as well as control the power of my swing. The pitching mechanism also enables me to nibble on the corners and control the amount of break on my curveballs. It's fun to try to get your power throwing starter through a complete game by taking risks and throwing easy to hit pitches to the weaker hitters in a lineup.
 
I know I've become the "I didn't find the controls hard!" guy on these forums, so I suppose I should take into account the fact that I just seem to "get" difficult controls. Yet I'm not so sure the controls here should be that hard for anyone. And you can also select a "classic" mode where you simply hit a button to swing. Almost every element of the game is customize-able in this way.
 
The graphics are near photorealistic, and at times resemble a "Fight Night Round 3" level of realism. Uniforms flap in the air, and players generally have realistic looking faces. The unique pitching motions and batting stances (such as Gary Sheffield's menacing wiggle of the bat and Pedro's "falling off the mound" delivery) are carefully replicated. The only negative in terms of presentation is that the visual engine doesn't always handle shadows well; you'll see the occasional ugly "jaggy" filled shadow (seems to happen in afternoon games from time to time). All in all though, MLB 2k7 makes Sony's "The Show" look like a last gen PS2 game (The Show might be a better game for all I know, but graphically there is no question who wins this round).
 
My only gripes are related to a number of "broken" features. Clearly not able to finish the game up in time (probably due to totally rebuilding their engine), there are numerous features that look like they should be in the game, but are not. Your minor league teams are in the game, but players on those rosters do not seem to improve or post any stats at all. It would have been nice to see who's tearing it up for me in AAA Toledo or AA Erie as I ponder callups. The game promises the ability to load your Xbox custom music list in the game (which is badly needed, as the licenses tracks are largely crap), but you can only play your music list via the "mini dashboard," which of course makes it no different than any other game. It would have been nice to see a "World Baseball Classic" function as well.
 
If a sports game is going to go the sports sandbox route, it should do it full on. I would have gladly waited a few more months for these other features to get implemented, and as such, this makes it fall short of an A for me. Yet this is still a tremendous effort, and I'm excited by the future of the MLB 2k series on the Xbox 360. The Critic will have to wait for "The Bigs" to get the sort of baseball experience he wants, but the rest of us can enjoy an excellent game of baseball right now.
 
Grade: B+

JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » May 31st, 2007, 1:41 pm

I played MLB 2K7 about a week ago, but not long enough to make any judgements...I was at a Gwen Stefani concert, which is not the ideal place to be gaming. 

I'm gonna rent the game to see what I think.  I really doubt it will be able to top The Show, but I'll remain open to judgement.  Stay tuned...

feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby feilong801 » May 31st, 2007, 1:51 pm

You were gaming at a Gwen Stefani concert? Were you backstage?

In any event, I would guess The Show would rate a little higher in features (they didn't rebuild the game from the PS2 engine, so they'll retain more "stuff") and would be slightly better. We'll see what you think later on, though.

-Rob

JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » May 31st, 2007, 2:36 pm

[QUOTE=feilong80]You were gaming at a Gwen Stefani concert? Were you backstage?


[/QUOTE]

Sadly no...My girlfriend is obsessed with No Doubt, which in turn makes her a rabid fan of whatever Gwen Stefani does.  Thus I get dragged to the concert.  You are married (pretty sure about that) I'm sure you understand how it goes.  I was pretty excited to see xbox 360s set up all over the place at the concert.

Anywho, I'm sure I will like MLB2K7.  As long as it has solid gameplay mechanics its a winner in my book.

Did you catch any of the Det vs Cle series this past weekend?  All three games were pretty good.  I was shocked that Cleveland swept.  Those games could have gone either way. 

This weekends series should be pretty good, though Detroit is sorta banged up with Inge, Guillen and Polanco sidelined.  Regardless, it should be entertaining.

feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby feilong801 » May 31st, 2007, 2:52 pm

Ah, yes, the whole girlfriend deal. I had my doubts to whether or not you had Gwen Stefani posters up in your room  
Yep, I'm married, but my wife isn't really the going to concerts type, but she does like Clay Aiken. Which, of course, I poke fun at from time to time

Anyway, yeah, last weekend was brutal as a Detroit sports fan (I'm not from Detroit or Michigan, but the fandom was handed down to my via several generations). The Pistons are playing like crap, and a Kenny Rogers/Joel Zumaya/Fernando Rodney/Placido Polanco-less Tigers get swept.

Cleveland deserved to win all of those games, and are rightfully duking it out with Boston for AL supremacy. But man, if the Tiges had all of those guys back (and now Carlos Guillen has a strained groin muscle, and Inge is out with a broken toe. STOP THE MADNESS!!!!) they would be right up there with them.

I'm really scared the Indians will sweep again and build a formidable early lead
in the division. But as long as we can play about .550-575 baseball until they get all of those guys back at midseason, we can at least be the wildcard team again.

Of course, underneath all of this, I'm still extremely thrilled that the Tigers are good again. It's been a long time coming.

-Rob 

JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » June 1st, 2007, 10:35 am

[QUOTE=feilong80]Ah, yes, the whole girlfriend deal. I had my doubts to whether or not you had Gwen Stefani posters up in your room  
Yep, I'm married, but my wife isn't really the going to concerts type, but she does like Clay Aiken. Which, of course, I poke fun at from time to time

[/QUOTE]

Yea my girlfriend likes to go to concerts and I actually didn't mind the Stefani concert.  I like basically every kind of music from pop to metal so I don't complain about going to those things.  Its just one of those things you have to do as a boyfriend I suppose...

So I downloaded a demo of MLB2k7 last night and I can say that I'm not impressed.  Its not that the game is bad...its just the demo sucks.  I need to rent it before I can give you any real impressions.

From my short play time here is what I noticed...I like the pitcher interface...alot.  I like the meter better than the one in The Show.  I don't really like how easy it is to pitch though.  Its almost impossible to not throw strikes every pitch.  It doesn't lend to any real tension.

I need more time with the batting interface to judge it...I will say that it has potential though.

The play by play is also top notch, I'm not the biggest fan of Morgan and Miller, but their voices certainly add something to the game.

Finally, I'm gonna have to disagree with your comment about the graphics in The Show.  A few of the bigger sites said they were PS2 quality level, but there is no way I can agree with that. I almost didn't buy the game because of how poorly they said the graphics were.  On my HD TV they look fantastic and the animation is the best I have ever seen in a baseball game.   If the graphics in MLB 2K7 are a 9.5, the graphics in the Show are about a 9.0.

I'm planning on rented MLB 2K7 this weekend so I'll let you know what I think of the full game.

feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby feilong801 » June 1st, 2007, 1:42 pm

Well, sure, the graphics are probably pretty good. And I'll admit, I might have overstepped in my perjorative comments, but the reason I did so was that, for a machine that is completely and utterly based on pure power, it seems odd that a first party effort would be allowed to be showed up by a third party Xbox 360 game.

The batting system is a bit of a barrier for some people. I'll admit that I've sort of gotten used to it, having played previous 2k games. But it is definitely learnable.

-Rob

JustLikeHeaven1
Posts: 2971
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby JustLikeHeaven1 » June 1st, 2007, 2:11 pm

[QUOTE=feilong80]

Well, sure, the graphics are probably pretty good. And I'll admit, I might have overstepped in my perjorative comments, but the reason I did so was that, for a machine that is completely and utterly based on pure power, it seems odd that a first party effort would be allowed to be showed up by a third party Xbox 360 game.


[/QUOTE]

I undersand what you are saying and while its certainly not a bad first effort on the PS3, it is still that...a first effort.  In next year's version I would be expecting even more.  I'm sure MLB 2K6 doesn't look nearly as good as 2K7.  I fully expect people to get more comfortable programming on the PS3 and the graphics will (in theory) get better.

I was just floored about how many inaccuarcies I found in reviews of The Show.  My personal favorite was when a person on 1Up claimed that classic button times swing didn't allow you to put the ball where you wanted to.  Clearly that reviewer never played the game on anything but Rookie which doesn't have analog stick bat control.  Basically if you want to hit an outside pitch with a right handed batter you move the analog stick to the right while you press X.  8 out of 10 times you will scorch the pitch into the opposite field or even down the 1st base line.  Very satisfying!

Reading stuff like that really made me not want to plunk down $60 for that game, and I'm getting peeved at how bad reviews for videogames have gotten.

Also...Gary Sheffield is once scary dude!  I thought Leyland was gonna break something trying to hold him back last night.  I love his intensity, but man he has to chill out.  That was a stupid move on his behalf.  He instantly removed The Tigers most devastating bat in a close ballgame. Not smart at all. 


feilong801
Posts: 2173
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 7:00 pm

MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby feilong801 » June 1st, 2007, 3:06 pm

I've always liked athletes with a degree of personality, so as long as they aren't doing things that are criminal or blatantly stupid. So, Gary Sheffield is right up there with Rasheed Wallace in my pantheon of favorite Detroit athletes. I love the way he wiggles that bat, and the way he actually stops to admire his foul balls. Really, the guy hits majestic fouls. If I were him I'd watch em' too.

I thought the issue with his ejection was more frustration for losing so many games lately. Man, has the injury bug killed the Tigers. Really dissapointing. At least they are still in the wildcard zone at the moment.

Of course, the real reason they lost yesterday was that, even though they caught Sabathia on an off night, they couldn't take advantage. Really dissapointing that Verlander couldn't get it done... but of course you probably had a nice laugh watching Jose Mesa just throw gas all over the fire. Man what a worthless acquisition that was. He should just retire already.

Of course, yesterday was another GREAT day for Detroit sports, with LeBron being canonized after his explosion in double OT yesterday....

I hear ya' about reviews though. I can't ever remember having more instances where I just completely disagreed with so called professionals. I have a feeling that Heatseeker will be another game where I scratch my head at the critical consensus.


-Rob

Herschie
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Re: MLB 2k7 Baseball Review (Xbox 360)

Postby Herschie » November 11th, 2015, 8:22 pm

I remember I played this all the time. The game looked fantastic, and I was floored when I saw fans filing into Wrigley Field on the corner of Clark and Addison. My one complaint was that stupid annoying organ which would remain until 2K10. But I really enjoyed the heck out of this game.

I didn't have a PS3 at the time, but in playing MLB 07: The Show, even though it wasn't as detailed and option-rich, the gameplay was far better. I would have preferred that over this game.


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