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Review

Major League Baseball 2K12 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: March 10, 2012
  • X360

A good pitching mechanic can't mask the many faults of MLB 2K12.

Being the understudy to a beloved star is a tough job. Your efforts seem all the more disappointing because people compare you to another, more popular performer. This also applies to 2K's baseball games; whatever they do, year after year, they just can't escape an unfavorable comparison to Sony's superior series, MLB 12: The Show. MLB 2K12 tries to stand out with an easy to grasp analog pitching system. Although this mechanic is nice, unimpressive visuals, numerous graphical glitches, and other issues make this year's baseball game difficult to recommend.

Where other games have games have incorporated a three-click system for pitching, 2K Sports uses a pitching system that makes use of the right analog stick. Each pitch has a corresponding motion. Performing a change-up requires holding the right analog stick up for a moment and then quickly flick down; to perform a slider, flick the stick right then follow that up with a downwards semi-circle. Your success with a pitch is based on both the action performed and the timing.

When initiating a throw a white circle appears onscreen. Inside, another yellow circle begins to expand. When the inner circle meets with the outer circle, you stop the motion and perform the pitch. The size of the inner circle and the accuracy of the motion determine the success of the pitch. Performing the wrong motion can result in a wild throw or one that goes off your intended mark.

While the system is easy to grasp, it’s nothing new. What is new is the addition of a dynamic tendency system which gives constant feedback regarding pitch successes and failures. When a new batter is up to the plate, pop-ups inform you of the last pitch thrown to the last batter and, if applicable, to that specific batter. These can be very helpful as you progress through a game since knowing the correct pitches to throw will help with winning games.

Every pitch requires a different motion with the right analog stick.

To prevent the overuse of one particular kind of throw, AI batters will be able to pick up on trends and effectively swing at what they face. This forces you to change how you approach each batter. By keeping it varied and paying attention to the pitcher's pitch count, you should be able to shut the door on any late-inning rallies.

On the field, there are numerous issues, especially when the AI is in control. When playing the My Player mode, your teammates are regularly out of position, which allows easy single after easy single. Nor do players adapt to events unfolding during the course of a game. For instance, when balls are constantly heading towards a specific area, players don't move to a better spot in order to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Swing and a miss!

You have absolutely no control over the actions of your teammates and are forced to rely on an AI coach. On top of that, your AI manager makes illogical decisions. Playing as a pitcher, you might unexpectedly be pulled while pitching a shutout after only three innings of work. On the other hand, you may be kept in too long when everything you throw is resulting in a base hit.

Other problems on the field include transitions between catching and throwing, which never feel fluid or natural. It's normal for a player who is getting off the ground or running to not have complete composure when throwing a ball, but even when a player is standing, his motions are out of place. There is a clear pause in the animation which can lead to a player reaching a base when they shouldn't have.

Awkward animations are apparent in a number of spots. While most players batting stances have been replicated well, facial animations are severely lacking causing most to appear as lifeless zombies. On top of that, there are numerous graphical glitches. The most evident occurs between innings: the camera often disappears into the stands and shows the feet of those in attendance. Other oddities include a player standing motionless in the batter's box while the opposing side trots back to their dugout.

The My Player mode, while serviceable, is littered with the AI issues mentioned earlier. Franchise mode fails to stand out over last year, and the same goes with the other included modes. MLB Today lets you play at the same pace as your favorite team, which hardcore baseball fans may appreciate. It's nice to be able to do so and rewrite a team's history, but only the most dedicated fans will trek through a season playing a game every day.

Outside of the pitching system, the only other notable part of the game is the commentary. The three-man team of Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips, and John Kruk has good chemistry and delivery. They reflect on the performances of players and teams from games past and present, and even highlight what they expect to see. Steve Phillips and John Kruk specifically address pitches, remarking on tendencies and offering their suggestions, which is helpful for newcomers. In most cases, what they say ends up holding true--especially if you decide to throw the same pitch time and time again.

Yes, this is exactly what I want to look at.

Online modes include quick play and online leagues. Performance is pretty smooth, though a lot of the graphical issues that appear offline also appear online. In terms of speed and latency, it's rare for a match to stall or be unplayable.

MLB 2K12 is plagued with issues. While newcomers can pick up the game and grasp the basics, die-hard baseball fans who want a realistic experience that is engaging from start to finish will be quickly turned off. The pitching system is the only thing of note, but if you want a more refined and authentic baseball experience, you should look elsewhere.

Editor's Note: This review previously contained incorrect information about the pitching mechanic being entirely new. What is new is the change in pitch reliability. GameSpot regrets the error.

The Good
Right analog pitching works well
Solid commentary
The Bad
Very few improvements over last year
Numerous graphical glitches
Poor fielding transition animations
Questionable AI decisions
5.5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Major League Baseball 2K12

About the Author

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

Discussion

26 comments
SolidTy
SolidTy

It would be nice if M$ had a better first party studio to compete against this garbage of a series.

BuRGHFaN1
BuRGHFaN1

It would be nice if EA came back with MVP, but with no other games for the 360, this one satisfies my urge for baseball. It's better than a 5.5 come on now

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

Labouskie, if you would have waited another week you would have realized that Microsoft did release the MLB.TV app.

redsoxman989
redsoxman989

MLB 2k11 + Pitch recognition from batters and a new throw meter = MLB 2k12

alfkb24
alfkb24

I know, I know... It's not perfect but as it has been said here: it's not that bad either! 7 or 8 out 10 is ok! Does this reviewer actully knows what baseball is about? has he ever played a single game?? Think about it, guys! sometimes sport games are reviewed by people who has only watch 5 or 20 baseball game in their whole LIFE!!! I live in Venezuela, so trust me, I know baseball. I think The Show is better, but I still have fun with MLB 2k even though is not NBA 2k kind of fun =) still, an enjoyable and playable game...

JRichter85
JRichter85

This game is not 5.5.. It's at least an 8.

VolcanoMan001
VolcanoMan001

A 5.5? Give me a break, it is not that bad. It certainly has problems but it is much more refined than last year. Logically, you would think that it would mean it would get the same or a fraction better score than last year but no. The reason why it only gets a 5.5 is hinted at in the first paragraph. MLB the Show was previously given a low 7.5 and MLB 2k12 can certainly not be given anything close to that, otherwise we may realize that these reviews are terribly inconsistent. Imagine that! Heck, please don't give MLB the Show a rating of 5.5, because that would mean MLB 2k12 must be a 3! These ratings are just plain silly.

VolcanoMan001
VolcanoMan001

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

AvnKnight
AvnKnight

Still getting it least it doesnt have an online pass.

Labouskie
Labouskie

All I have is an xbox so I have a few options for baseball games. I could get 2k12 but IGN said its basically the same game as 2k11. So now I could just keep playing 2k11 or maybe Ill give in get a PS3 and buy The Show. I could also watch MLB TV with a PS3 and not have to wait until an app is released. Microsoft said vaguely an MLB TV app is coming sometime, the thing is spring training has already started and I dont really want to wait until sometime to watch spring training games. I guess what I am saying is I am tired of waiting endlessly for a good Xbox baseball game and now I am tired of waiting for the MLB TV app to come out sometime. Sony here I come.

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

"Very few improvements over last year" thats sums up nearly every sports game. You play one about 5 years ago and then play anew one and they are exactly the same.

planetpisces
planetpisces

The game isn't nearly as bad as the review suggests. IGN gave it a 7/10 and had a more positive tone. I've played 10 games, and my gut feeling is the game is plays better and seems more polished than last year. The graphical glitches are just so incredibly minor they're not even worth mentioning. The "problems" with the AI during My Player only happen very early your career, they go away as your stats improve. I agree that fielding is tough, but I usually turn on auto fielding anyway. For baseball fans, this game will do just fine until we can get The Show on Xbox.

cjtopspin
cjtopspin

The whole 2K MLB series is a half attempt at baseball. It is sad. To get a good idea as to the underlying simulation mechanic try maxing out a pitcher and play a few franchise years. Never figured a 99 rated pitcher would have a high 4 ERA with an 8-8 record and 100 Ks. Same goes for hitters. I have seen Pujols put together .240 seasons over and over and over. And this has been something that has not been fixed over the past 5 years. Thank god their license has expired.

o016945
o016945

If you think 2K12 is worse than 2K9, there's some issues in your judgement. That's just stupid.

jagdedge124
jagdedge124

I still play 2K9. I never really play online (and there is no more Online for 2k9) and i think that's where most of the issues on that game were as far as glitches etc. Playing SP it's fantastic. Great graphics, great commentary and REAL Baseball, as compared to every 2K game from 2K10 on which is "arcade" hurry up Baseball. The players don't move right (too video gamey) and the stadiums and crowd look awful. I have Xbox and never played The Show (wish i did) but if you haven't played 2K9 try the Demo. Puts 10, 11, and 12 to shame. I personally change my own Rosters and i'm as addicted to that game now as i was then. I can't wait until 2K is done with Baseball. They totally ruined the game.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

yikes!! marco djordjevic...(did I spell right?)

finalcross
finalcross

To all: Yes, I was incorrect about stating the pitching mechanic was new. The review has been changed to reflect that the right analog stick to pitch is not something new but that the dynamic tendency aspect is. I am sorry for that inaccuracy.

o016945
o016945

Lol, what an awful review. I didn't know My Player was in 2K8. I do love the new pitching controls of 2K8 though, but the rosters are terribly outdated. The graphical issues in 2K8 were terrible. Wait...this isn't the 2K8 review?

Doc_Fulk
Doc_Fulk

How can you trust a reviewer who thinks the right stick pitching control is "new". It's 3 years old! This review is a farce and doubtful he played it more than 60 minutes. This is a TERRIFIC baseball game. Perfect? Nope. Fun? Oh most definitely! GS's 5.5 score is a LIE.

JSusie
JSusie

Man this review is terrible. What a waste of my time. The writer probably has never played a sports game before, and wrote this article while sitting in a CoD lobby. I really love that "all new" analog pitching control.

RetiredCheney
RetiredCheney

Horrible review, right analog pitching have been in 2k in some form or another since 2k8. This system has been in since 2k9, they have made improvements to it. My player has always been riddled with problems and essentially worthless, much like the superstar mode on madden. The actual baseball playing aspect of the other modes are its strong point, "Outside of the pitching system" well there really isnt much else to a baseball game. This guy seriously complains about the players having no facial expressions...what a clown. Wonder how much SCE paid you to bomb this review. While this game isn't as pretty as the show, i find it to be more enjoyable.

Hambone149
Hambone149

"This Year, 2K sports has implemented a pitching system that makes use of the right analog stick." This clearly implies that the pitching system is new, but I remember using it way back in MLB 2K10... the reviewer should their facts straight before they give a decently good game a terrible score.

Doc_Fulk
Doc_Fulk

Lamest review EVER. There is NO WAY this deserves a 5.5! 8.0 at a minimum. Won't trust GS reviews whatsoever after this bs review.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @Doc_Fulk Check out metacritic homie, this series has been in the dumps for a long time. If you only have a 360, maybe you never noticed. If you have a PS3, check out Sony's MLB The Show series. Personally, I wish M$ would expand their 1st party studios instead of buying timed exclusive multiplatform 3rd party games so they could offer us gamers a more competent MLB game. Instead, us 360 gamers are forced to buy this or nothing if we like MLB.

Major League Baseball 2K12 More Info

  • First Released
    • DS
    • PC
    • + 5 more
    • PlayStation 2
    • PlayStation 3
    • PSP
    • Wii
    • Xbox 360
    The longest running Major League Baseball franchise returns to the virtual diamond with MLB 2K12.
    6.6
    Average User RatingOut of 138 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Major League Baseball 2K12
    Developed by:
    Visual Concepts
    Published by:
    Take-Two Interactive
    Genres:
    Baseball, Team-Based, Simulation, Sports
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors