2K Sports hasn't taken long to make the most of its status as the sole third-party publisher of Major League Baseball games. In addition to making an expected appearance on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, the studio's MLB 2K6 is also debuting on the GameCube, the Xbox 360, and the PSP. The first details on the PSP version of the game have been released and from the looks of it, it looks to be exactly what you'd expect from a handheld version of 2K's popular hardball series.
First and foremost on the feature list are the season and franchise modes, both of which will be bolstered by the same Inside Edge scouting service that is such a big part of this year's console game. For those who aren't familiar, Inside Edge is a scouting service that provides detailed information on every player and team in the big leagues. Owners and management pay big money to the folks at Inside Edge in the hopes of gaining that tiny bit of insight that will give them the edge over their competition. As a general manager in MLB 2K6, you'll be able to spend part of your team budget on Inside Edge scouting, to try and learn more about your opponents' tendencies whether on the mound, in the field, or at the plate. In one example we saw running in the console version of the game, if you have a pitcher "scouted" you will see a percentage value on how often he likes to throw each pitch in his arsenal. The Inside Edge scouting feature looks to touch on practically every part of the game in MLB 2K6, and we look forward to learning more about how it works in the coming weeks.
Other big features for the PSP game will be the full commentary by the great team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, online play for a maximum of two players, an offline VIP system not unlike the one found in last year's game (though with a greatly expanded list of tracked user statistics), and World Baseball Classic mode. The WBC will feature a 16-team tournament highlighting national teams such as the United States, the Dominican Republic, Australia, and Japan, all vying for hardball supremacy.
In terms of exclusive PSP features, the biggest news is the home run derby career mode. The idea here is to bat your way up the competitive ladder, knocking blasts against the biggest and best power hitters in the game. Eventually, as you gain the respect of your opponents, you'll be able to recruit them to your team in an effort to help you take on the David Ortizes and Derrick Lees of the home run world. This being a career mode, presumably it will keep track of all your home run derby mode statistics, including things like home runs and...well, that's about it, isn't it? We'll have to see more of the mode to get a feel for how you progress through it.
Obviously, we're eager to get our hands on the PSP version of MLB 2K6, if only to see what 2K Sports can do on Sony's handheld. While the home run derby career mode sounds like a fun distraction, the real test will be in determining whether the handheld version holds up to a console series that has been steadily improving for several years now. We'll have more on the PSP version of MLB 2K6 in the coming weeks.