Major League Baseball 2K6

Major League Baseball 2K6

The Matt Finney weighs in on 2K Sports' latest baseball outing.
Author: Matt Finney
Published: April 19, 2006
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To be honest I was ready to bash MLB 2K6 after that first game, but thankfully thought better of it. I put my ego aside and thoroughly read the instructions. After a few more games my timing with the Swing Stick improved significantly, but I continued to serve up gopher balls and run the bases like I was playing beer league softball. Then "it" happened. As Jeanne and Steve were rambling in the background a coaches tip displayed on the screen detailing how to pinpoint pitches in a selected location. Select the pitch location with the left analog stick, press and hold the pitch button for the desired effectiveness then as the radiating brackets move closer together press the pitch button again to pinpoint the pitch. If the pitch isn't pinpointed the odds of a meatball or wild pitch greatly increase. No wonder! Maybe I'm a little slow or blind or whatever, but I couldn't find anywhere in the instruction manual that explained pitching quite like that coaches tip. That tip changed everything. From that point on the game pulled a complete 180.


Now I'm in total control. I select Team USA and put Roger Clemens on the mound for game 1 of the World Baseball Classic. I'm painting the corner with his slider, dropping the splitter out the bottom of the strike zone then finishing hitters off in classic Clemens fashion with the high heat. Man this feels good. I'm popping the glove one minute and crushing pitches with Swing Stick the next. Even though I was playing Team Canada (I swear some of their players were using hockey sticks) this was the experience I was waiting for.

Yeah the fielders run like string puppets then stop on a dime immediately after making a catch at full speed. So a double play is seemingly always turned off an amazing one-foot hop and sidearm throw. And base runners stand at third as I frantically try to send them home. And the announcers botch a few calls here and there. (You could make a great argument that announcer mishaps are the most realistic feature in the game.) Despite all that, the hitting and pitching controls keep me coming back for more.

Think of it this way. Picture a new baseball stadium (sorry Twins fans). Where do all the seats face? Where does 90% of the action happen? Between the pitchers mound and home plate. Who cares about the airhead in left field (Manny Ramirez) unless he's up at the plate? 2K Sports really did revolutionize batting and pitching to create a realistic experience with their latest release. As the franchise continues to grow hopefully they can bring the rest of the game up to the same level.

In the mean time I'm going to create a player named after me. He may not be the smartest player, but I'll make sure he has maximum speed. So I can bring home the mail that much faster.
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The Verdict
8.0

At the core, MLB 2K6 has the makings of becoming a very successful franchise, especially with EA banished to the college ranks. Hitting and pitching controls are excellent, but improved defensive movement and base running control are still needed.

8.0Graphics:

In game stat graphics are clean and crisp. Some players look slightly overweight, but mostly accurate. Infield dust clouds are cheesy.

8.0Sound:

The pop of the catcher's mitt and sliding into a base sound very realistic, but the when the bat makes contact with the ball it invokes the image of 2 x 4's slapping together.

9.0Control:

90% of a baseball game is between the pitcher and batter. 2K Sports nailed the hitting and pitching controls. There is a slight learning curve, but once mastered the outcome is firmly in the user's hands.

8.0Gameplay:

Player movement seems a little rigid in the field. On two rare occasions the game hiccupped during double play sequences. Ability to button through catcher throw back speeds up the game.