The Nintendo Wii edition of the Major League Baseball 2K series remains an afterthought. Improvements seen the past two years in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the hardball franchise have been all but ignored on the Wii. So, MLB 2K11 is a shallow, ugly rehash of MLB 2K10 that brings nothing new to the table except a kiddie Arcade mode guaranteed to bore all but the least discriminating baseball fans.
Just like last year, MLB 2K11 for the Wii is a feeble copy of the game's bigger brothers released for the Xbox 360 and the PS3. All of the headline-grabbing features in those editions of the game have been left out here. So there is no My Player mode, where you role-play your way from AA ball to the glitz of the big leagues. There is no online support, either, for one-off matches or tournaments or leagues. There are no online-updated Dynamic Player Ratings, which is the new Xbox 360/PS3 system introduced to track performances this year in the real major leagues. You get nothing but bare-bones arcade baseball here, courtesy of Exhibition games, Franchise Play, Tournaments, a Home-Run Derby, and the new Mini-Diamond mode for multiplayer. However, games in this latter mode consist of nothing but monotonous slugfests because everything has been cranked up to make for a purely arcade experience. The only possible appeal comes from the wacky backdrops, as your stadiums are now located in the midst of odd locales like a circus and outer space. All but the youngest players will see their interest wane here after no more than a few games.
Controls remain the lone aspect of the MLB 2K series that stands out on the Wii. Total Control pitching and hitting continues to use the motion-sensing Wii Remote and nunchuk. As before, you flick the remote from side to side to bat and flick the remote overhand to pitch. Both work reasonably well, although you don't need much effort to mimic swinging the lumber or making fastballs and cutters. The pitcher-batter confrontation loses a lot of its luster here due to the simplicity of the controls, which barely touch on the intricacy involved when actually taking to the mound or stepping into the batter's box. Hitting, for instance, is all about timing. There is no aiming involved at all, which means that you can launch a moon shot with a mere twist of the wrist. There is still no support for the Wii MotionPlus dongle, either; this nifty little device has allowed other Wii sports games, such as Tiger Woods and NHL Slapshot, to reach new heights of realism when it comes to tracking controller movements. In the end, you're likely to find the motion controls unnecessary and just play the game as a typical arcade-baseball button pusher.
Play on the field is still fairly realistic, however. MLB 2K11 boasts mostly accurate stats that are garnered through authentic hits, fielding attempts, errors, and so forth. Ball physics also remain lifelike. You never know what you're going to get once ball leaves bat. Batting pales in comparison with that on the Xbox 360 and PS3, though, because those editions of the game have been tweaked to allow for working the count more realistically this year. On the Wii, you might as well just head into the box and start swinging because pitches are almost always over the plate. Batting doesn't seem to have been adjusted at all in comparison to last year's game, which again underlines the lack of respect that 2K Sports gives the Wii version of this franchise.
Ugly is perhaps too kind a word to use when describing the look of MLB 2K11. As with last year's game, it's rarely easy to recognize players or stadiums. Art vaguely addresses one defining characteristic, like a player's facial hair or the Green Monster at Fenway, and then bails on everything else. So the Major League license is pretty much wasted here, with players and stadiums that look almost generic. Jaggies are everywhere as well, obscuring stadium architecture and player faces. Audio is better, with raucous stadium cheers and hisses ramped up just as they were last year. Play-by-play and color commentary with Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips have been scaled back to fit on the Wii. Most of their asides about schedules and stats, as well as big upcoming games, have been edited out. They also make mistakes with the count, screw up the number of outs, and even tell you that games are over in the early innings on occasion. The soundtrack follows that of the other consoles, with an offbeat mash-up of indie rock and nu-metal accompanying token classic rock tracks from Pearl Jam and Joan Jett.
Only consider MLB 2K11 if you have a hankering for video game baseball and the Wii is your only console. Even then, you would be better off digging around in the bargain bin for a copy of MLB 2K10, which is pretty much the same game with a more reasonable price tag.