MLB 2K12 - Catch-All
It's about a month away, and I'm getting pretty excited for the new version. I thought 2K11 was a solid game that did some stuff supremely well. AlL I 'm hoping for is a bit of an update, cleaning up some bugs and glitches that were missed the last time around.
There is some concern that this might be the last baseball game 2K does. The series has performed dreadfully since 2K signed MLB to an exclusive third party deal. The last two games in the series have been much better than their reputation, but a far cry from what sony puts out for the PS3. But I suspect they are just going to avoid an exclusive deal and continue making games.
Kotaku's Owen Good did a nice piece on the upcoming game, even if it comes off a bit dour.
His impressions on some added nuances to pitching:
Here's how it works. Each pitcher on the roster is governed by his real-world tendencies, as measured by 2K Sports' statistics partner. If someone's best pitch is a changeup, of course, he doesn't necessarily throw offspeed all of the time (as its intent is to destroy a hitter's timing). Even though that pitch still has the "best pitch" flag in the pitch selection menu, if you throw it more than the pitcher does in real life, you're going to see its baseball icon turn red, indicating you've gone to it too many times. This will not only deliver a performance advantage to hitters, they'll see it coming because everyone up and down the bench knows you're favoring it.
Further, location matters more. MLB 2K12 still has a favorable strike zone that doesn't require you to get all of the ball, sometimes even any of it, in the rectangle to have it called a strike. I was a fiend for going to a backdoor slider in tight spots, usually low. You can abuse location as much as you can pitch type, and the areas you're going to will start to black out in the strike zone display. This is something the hitter can see, too, and if he sees a black bar across the strike zone, he knows anything headed there is going to be ripe for a gap shot. So favoring a type of pitch and location all the time—and we saw this when people tried to exploit the perfect game challenge last year—is a one-way ticket to the showers regardless of who is throwing.
Nuances to the throwing meter:
The changes to fielding also represent the kind of staged refinement we've seen in other areas of the game, such as the analog pitching controls. Last year, the game introduced a fielding meter that prized timing a throw, rather than just laying on a button or on the stick. It was rough to adjust to at first, and a lot of routine plays ended up with overthrows and desperate saves as gamers tried to get a handle on it.
Now you get a variable meter, which becomes obvious on infield plays. An infielder who is able to set his feet will almost never overthrow the bag. He'll see the dangerous red portion of the throwing meter completely wiped out, and while yellow areas can mean trouble, a fielder with a solid rating isn't going to wing it over the first-baseman's head.
It's in plays where a fielder can't set his feet that you're going to see last year's risks and variables, which really should be limited to these kinds of bang-bang situations.
2K did recently release of new features that a bit paltry, to be honest.
•MLB Today Season Mode
For the first time ever, play along with the real-life MLB season AS IT UNFOLDS. Take charge of your favorite team and see how you stack up against the rest of the league over the course of a six month-long season.
•Dynamic Tendency System
Just as in real-life, opposing pitchers and hitters will learn your tendencies from one at-bat to the next, challenging you to mix up your approach on both sides of the plate as each game unfolds.
•New Throw Meter
A revamped throwing system presents a classic risk vs. reward situation every time you make a play. Will you queue up throws before fielding the ball to save time, or take a moment to set your feet for better accuracy?
•Improved My Player Mode
Want to be the next All-Star slugger or ace starter? All-new player types let you decide your path to the Majors. Goals, expectations, ratings and progression are all customized by position and player type.
I left off the fifth feature, since a new soundtrack isn't really worth discussing. But the MLB Today Season Mode looks like it might be EXACTLY what I was wishing for the two years. I love playing games that feature current starting pitchers and rosters for that day, along with commentary and presentation that reflects real world stats. If Pujols struck out three times the day before, they might mention that in the game. It was a just a great way to do play now games.
With season mode, I'd love to see them let the stats I accumulate in the games I play replace the real life stats. I'm anxious for more details on that.