Heres part of what I wrote for my website, ptoponline.com
Another year and another baseball game to kick off the opening of the season. This year, 2k Sports has exclusive (third party) rights to the Major League Baseball series. As of right now, Sony is the only company other than 2k Sports to release a baseball game (which is surprisingly funÖ). One exception is Slugfest, but that is just one more game due to the contract made prior to the Take Two agreement. So, with all that being said, this baseball game is the only game that will grace the Xbox 360 for at least this year, though it remains unseen if MS will create a MLB game of its own.
More Memory. More Power. Exclusive Rights. Better Game?
I had high hopes for this game. 2k Sports has made decent baseball games since the Dreamcastís demise, even if MVP Baseball (by EA Sports) was slightly better in some aspects. Since 2k was given ďexclusiveĒ rights, you would figure that they would actually make a decent game to set the bar high on a brand new, high horsepower system. Boy was I wrong.
Letís compare this yearís 360 baseball game, to last yearís Xbox MVP, both running in high resolution.
//Insert Comparison Shot
Notice a huge difference? No? Neither did I. For a system that is leagues ahead of the original Xbox, the 360 baseball game barely pushed out graphics above its predecessor. And these are only screenshots! The framerate in this game is so unstable, you can visibly tell when graphics are loading, voices, or whatever else needs to load in this game. On top of that, when the graphics ARE loading, they are presented in such a sloppy method. Often times I would strike a man out for the third out, and the camera would pan back to where my pitcher is, or rather, where he should be. But something was different about him. Oh, thatís it! Thatís the OPPOSING teams picture, before my picture even walked off the mound.
Jeter. Soriano. Morris. Martinez. All recognizable names in the baseball world. So figure that the developers would take the time to at least model them mostly correct. WRONG! During the close-ups, the portraits sometimes resemble the person, sometimes. That is, until the features that define the person fail to show up, like a beard or something of that nature. On the mound or at bat, and the models are even worse! Jeter showed up like some chubby white guy with fat arms. The ďBig UnitĒ isnít that tall, lanky figure that he is. Pedro looks more like a pile of dog crap then an actual person. I donít know what the developers were thinking, but damn, this is the Xbox 360, not Nintendo 64 for crying out loud. So, even with these crappy models, 2k at least did decent animations, right? Nope again. The running is sloppy looking, and the throwing just as bad. I still havenít figured out how my 2nd basemen throws facing the 3rd base, and yet his hand clips through his body and towards 1st base (where I wanted it to go). This is just one of the many graphical flaws presented throughout the game.
The crowd is just as sloppy. When going for a close-up of the batter, you can see the crappy 3d models pop in a second or two after the rest of the scene was loaded. That is, if they are 3d models. 2-Dimensional sprites are thrown into the mix. Especially bad is the Twinís stadium. During the time-waster feature called Trivia, the people show up as extremely low resolution Sprites, with around 3 frames of animation. Trust me when I say low resolution, Iím talking worse then SNES sprites. And there are a ton of them! Nice try 2k, if youíre going to throw in sprites, try not to make it quite as noticible. For the models that ARE 3-d, and Iím talking about all, oh, around 6 different models, they are again extremely low resolution, choppy animation, and they still slow the framerate down. Unacceptable. Thatís all I have to say about the graphics.
One area where 2k has always done a great job is the commentary, and, for the most part, they did a good job again. The COMMENTATORs are back, providing some of the best commentary in a sports game yet. Humorous without being over the top, though the usual problems to plague this game as well, such as redundant speech, or that the speech is a bit too delayed for my tastes. All this is fine though, until technical flaws screw up another great feature. After playing around 4 or 5 games of the season, I shut my console down, and went to bed like any normal person. When I got a chance to play again, I realized something was wrong. For every god damn pitcher or batter, they acted as though the person had never played another season. For every pitcher, the commentators comment how their ERA was horrible for last season, and that they had no wins last season. For every batter, they feel the need to announce that the batter hit 0 homeruns and had 0 RBIís. Dammit 2k, thatís not what it said before I turned the system off. Now, when the commentators start announcing the opposing teams pitcher as the current pitcher, I have a problem. Batters are sometimes announced one batter too early. And how the hell do you get a double play when I have no men on base? Come on 2k, do the commentators some justice and at least program the damn speech correctly.
Obviously, I even went as far to forget the title of the game on a number of occasions, thats how bad it is. Tons of spelling mistakes, unformatted, all that, but it should give you an idea of how bad the game was.