With pitchers and catchers having reported in mid-February, we have baseball video games to help tide us over until the regular MLB season begins. Unfortunately, 2K Sports decided to release a game they should send back down to the minors. UPDATED
What's It About?
Why Should I Care?
2K stepped it up last year with MLB 2K10. They created a lengthy My Player mode that put you into the shoes of a Hall of Fame rookie hopeful. MLB Today allowed you to dive right into the day’s games with the (generally) correct line up and pitching match up. But the problem is, even for a sports title, MLB 2K11 is far too much like 2K10 with cosmetic changes to cover its bruises. Even the commentary of last year’s Gary Thorpe/John Kruk/Steve Phillips crew is 90% recycled.
My Player still offers a solid experience, but there are only minor customization tweaks and you can’t import a player. Really? If there was only one feature to this mode, it should have been importation. This makes 2K10’s player a waste unless you invested enough time to reach Hall of Fame status.
MLB Today/online has been retooled with Dynamic Player Rating System to reflect hot/cold players. Unfortunately, with the season not yet underway, we cannot offer any real assessment on this feature. We can state, though, that it doesn't affect Franchise mode. Your players will tend to play cold as the fielding AI seems to have taken a hit and makes plenty of mistakes. Originally, I chalked this up to a player’s abilities. For example, Dodgers utility man Juan Uribe has great moves for a larger player, so seeing him dive or jump during a play wasn’t surprising. My rookie in My Player has about a 55 in range and overall fielding, so I did not expect to make every play.
However, I didn’t expect players to move choppy or just straight slow. Sometimes I would make the mistake of jumping too early, there’s no denying that. Though when I did push my fielder in the right direction, he would tend to either circle or stutter-step before making a full motion. Other times, when a grounder was directed within my second baseman’s range, I would be put into control of the outfielder to back up the play. There was no doubt that my second baseman could have made the play, but instead I’m forced to give up a hit.
At the end of too many plays balls were simply thrown into empty space. There also tends to be a lot of melodramatic close-ups of pitchers after nearly every pitch. It’s… odd.
The most egregious error came after a home run. With 2 outs in the top half the first and a runner on, I launched a high, 2-run shot over Coors Field’s left field wall. The left fielder ran back to the wall and watched it fall into the stands. As soon as Matt Kemp crossed the plate, the inning ended with me having a 2 run lead, but made no mention of an out. In Kemp’s second plate appearance, he was listed as 1-2 with a home run and a pop-up. It felt like such a summary of what MLK 2K11 is: a beautiful attempt that falls horrible short.
Is It Worth My Time and Money?
The more I played the worse the game became. Sure, the baseball nerd in me loved the improved name/number design on the backs of jerseys. However, MLB 2K11 just takes too many steps back for a game that was set up so well by its predecessor.