MLB 2K8 is full of new ideas; unfortunately, it's also filled with technical problems.
MLB 2K8 includes a robust franchise mode that on the surface appears to give hardcore stat geeks everything they'd want. Most notable is how much control you have over your entire franchise's farm system from AAA to A. You can call up or demote players, manage the rosters of each squad, and carefully monitor every player in your organization. The menus are clean, and thanks to the excellent player finder that can pick out players by first or last name, position, handedness, age, experience, salary, or rating, it's a breeze to locate any player in a matter of seconds. It's one of the most user-friendly franchise modes in any sports game.
It's too bad, then, that the franchise mode has so many annoyances that will frustrate the same audience to which it's trying to appeal. You might as well not even play as the Padres; every time you promote or demote a starting pitcher, the game changes his position to long reliever, and there doesn't appear to be any way to change it back in franchise mode. The Padres don't have a monopoly on glitches though. We also experienced weird statistics in the minors--rotations that would reset for no apparent reason. On two occasions, we were unable to play past a certain date on the schedule and had to start all over.
The trend of glitches and technical problems carries right over to the game's presentation. There is some good, though. There are more signature styles than ever--most of the hitters have the same stance and swing in the game as they do in real life. And for the most part, pitchers' deliveries seem to be spot-on. This gives the game a lot of character, highlighting the difference between one player and another. The ballparks look about the same as last year, which is not a problem because they're generally dead-on with the real thing. There are quite a few spring training and minor league stadiums as well.
Now, for the bad. The frame rate is downright pitiful once the ball is put into play. It can get so choppy that it's difficult to field and throw the ball. It also makes any camera transitions terrible--the game will pause and stutter, often leaving player shadows on the ground after the player has vanished. Don't even bother with the postgame highlights; they're typically so jittery that they're unwatchable. We thought turning off the ticker that runs across the bottom of the screen might help, but turning it off in the menu doesn't actually get rid of it. PlayStation 3 owners get the worst of the lousy frame rate, but Xbox 360 owners don't get much better. But wait, there's more.
Players don't have to be tagged with the ball to be called out; they just have to come into contact with the fielder. At least you assume the player is coming into contact with the fielder because the clipping is so bad they actually pass right through one another. The game has a difficult time transitioning from one animation to another, which often results in players making late, acrobatic throws on routine plays. Sometimes the game just gets confused, and fielders will hold on to the ball while runners run the bases. Or the artificial intelligence won't recognize a play is over and will stand there for seven or eight seconds before finally waking up to move on to the next batter.
It shouldn't come as any surprise that MLB 2K8's audio suffers from the same sort of technical issues as the rest of the game. Jon Miller and Joe Morgan generally do a competent job calling the action, but it doesn't sound like they recorded any new dialogue. They seem to offer less insight into the proceedings than last year and have a propensity for making the incorrect call or calling out two entirely different plays during the same play. Jon will say a ball goes through for a base hit and then follow that up by saying the fielder scooped it up for a routine play. One nice feature, or one that should have been nice, is you can assign walk-up music using your own music--it's too bad that doing so frequently causes the game to lock up.
Despite a bevy of technical problems, those of you who are just looking to play a few games and aren't worried about playing a franchise or trying to win close games on a higher difficulty will probably be reasonably pleased with MLB 2K8. With new pitching, hitting, and fielding mechanics, as well as new player cards, there's a lot to like if you're the forgiving type. However, if you're someone who relishes the finer points of the game, you'll walk away in disgust after just a few games. MLB 2K8 is a fine example of how exclusive sports licenses hurt the average consumer. PlayStation 3 owners at least have the option of MLB 08, but if you're an Xbox 360 owner and looking for a baseball game, it's either MLB 2K8 or the highway. And that's just not right.
- Player Reviews: 140
- Game Universe:
- Major League Baseball 2K5 (XBOX, PS2, XBOX, PS2),
- Major League Baseball 2K6 (X360, XBOX, GC, PS2, PSP),
- Major League Baseball 2K7 (X360, PSP, XBOX, PS3, PS2, DS, GBA),
- Major League Baseball 2K8 (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, WII),
- Major League Baseball 2K9 (WII, PS3, X360, PS2, PSP, PC),
- Major League Baseball 2K10 (WII, PS3, X360, PS2, PSP, DS, PC),
- Major League Baseball 2K11 (X360, PS3, PS2, PSP, WII, PC, DS),
- Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All Stars (DS),
- Major League Baseball 2K12 (X360, WII, PC, PSP, PS3, DS, PS2),
- NBA 2K13/MLB 2K13 Combo Pack (PS3, X360)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
2 Players Online