MLB 2K6's Opening Day

2K Sports' baseball game takes hacks on Xbox, PS2; GameCube, PSP, and Xbox 360 versions getting call-up later this month.

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Pine tar? Check. Batting gloves? Check. MLB 2K6 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox? Check. It's springtime, and that means that baseball season has arrived. 2K Sports has shipped off the newest edition of its MLB 2K series, which arrived in stores today. The game will also be released on the PSP, GameCube, and Xbox 360 later this month.

This year's game features the new Swing Stick batting mechanic, letting players feel as though they are stepping into the pitch, before blasting one into the concession stand in the left field power alley. Pitching also gets a tweak with the Payoff Pitching system, giving hurlers more feel over how much heat or break they put on their pitches.

Bulging biceps and pinpoint precision aside, every true baseball fan knows that the sport is all about numbers. 2K attempts to incorporate this into the game with its Inside Edge scouting system. By spending allotted points on scouting the opposition, catchers will call for balls in batters' weak areas, defenses will automatically put on the "Barry Bonds shift," and so forth. The system is based on the real Inside Edge scouting statistics, which real MLB teams use to get inside information.

Other features include the addition of the World Baseball Classic, new animations and physics, and online play and leagues. Calling the action are ESPN's Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.

Major League Baseball 2K6 is rated E for Everyone and retails for $39.99 on the PS2 and Xbox. For more information on the game, round the bases with GameSpot's previous coverage, or check back later this week for a review.

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