1) When one of the "new features" listed is "Tracks handpicked by SPIN magazine, featuring Cool Kids, Skrillex, The Joy Formidable, Grouplove, My Morning Jacket and more", I think it's safe to say that it's a slow year for new features. (I have never heard of any of the bands...and who buys a PC sports game because of the soundtrack anyway?)
2) If you are a PC gamer and you want a 2012 baseball game, stop reading now, go back, and hit the "order" button. It's not the greatest PC game of all time but it's certainly worth $30 if you are a PC baseball fan.
Okay, so now to the review. Let me start with the "new features". (Most of the game is very similar to last year's version, which is not necessarily a bad thing: I liked last year's version for the most part).
*MLB Today Season Mode - looks cool, but a little too early to review this since the season hasn't started. The concept is definitely exciting.
*Dynamic Tendency System - in the course of my 8-9 games played, I haven't really noticed this yet. Of course, when I'm pitching, I always try to mix it up (location, speed, pitch type) so I may not be the target audience for this.
*New Throw Meter - Ugh. So...I understand what they were trying to do: make fielding more realistic. If you field a ball on the run, do you wait a second to set your feet or do you just fling it off-balance and hope for the best? Unfortunately, the implementation is pretty hit-or-miss. In one game where the CPU was fielding for me (I was the pitcher in My Player mode), my 2nd baseman fielded a routine ground ball...went through about a 5-second exaggerated throwing animation that looked like he was trying to wrap his arms around himself 12 times...and by the time he actually threw the ball, the hitter was safe by a mile. This was a routine ground ball to 2nd base, where the hitter should have been out by about 30 feet. I say again: ugh. I don't have a problem with more realistic fielding, but this is NOT more realistic fielding. The animations are sometimes forced at the expense of realistic baseball logic, and that is just unacceptable.
*Improved My Player Mode - In my opinion, this is the whole reason to play 2K baseball games. This is where I spend about 80% of my time. I've already created one pitcher and one hitter and I'll probably create more because this year, it's easier to specialize. You can select your "player type" and depending on what you select, you get extra bonuses in certain areas. (So if you select "speedster" you get more speed and acceleration, etc). Is it a little harder to create a 5-tool monster? Yep. But how many 5-tool monsters are there in MLB? A handful? 99.9% of all the players are specialists of one sort or another. I kind of like the idea of creating a speedy leadoff hitter, and then tomorrow creating a hulking slugger. Maybe I'll try to bump up my speedster's power at some point...maybe I'll try to increase my slugger's speed rating...but maybe not, and that's okay. It is a LOT of fun taking a youngster up from AA ball to the majors and then trying to carve out a Hall of Fame career.
*Soundtrack - uh...as I mentioned, when "soundtrack" is one of your main "new features", it is a slow year for new features.
What's weird is that there is actually a new feature that is not listed as a new feature: the play-by-play and color commentary. It's MUCH better this year. Do they still have trouble staying on topic? Sure. Are they sometimes repetitive? Sure. But most of the time, it almost sounds like an actual play-by-play guy and an actual color guy doing an actual MLB game.
All in all, MLB 2k12 is a solid effort and I look forward to playing throughout the baseball season.
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