\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ ConsoleSports.net - ConsoleSports.net | 2K Sports MLB The Bigs
\\\\\\\\\\\\ \\\\\\\\

2K Sports MLB The Bigs

\\
User Rating: / 12
PoorBest 

 

times1

I should start off this impression report on the Bigs 2 with a bit of an admission on my part.  I generally can't stand "arcade" portrayals of sports games.  They are usually overly simplistic, too offensively focused, and bereft of anything resembling strategy.  Quite often, their portrayal of a given sport is nothing but a step backwards in terms of gameplay. 

Now that I have that out of the way....

Let me just say how much the Bigs 2 is unlike everything I described above.  With my 6+ hours with the Bigs 2, I have to admit that I'm addicted to the game, and thoroughly impressed with so many elements of it.  I personally never played the original "The Bigs" from last year, so I'm coming at the series from a fresh perspective, and what I have seen has really caught my eye.

As with most arcade portrayals of a given pro-sport, the action is exhaggerated and furious.  We know this and expect it.  I have to give some serious kudos to 2K Sports and their graphics and audio presentation of the game.  The game's visuals and sounds are loaded with polish.  To be honest, the game is beautiful to look at.  2K, as usual, delivers the sensory goods like no other. The stadiums are incredibly accurate, and there's always something to break beyond the outfield wall should you hit a collosal home-run, etc.

But all that aside, what really stands out about The Bigs 2 is the strategy.  The designers need some serious credit here.  Although the game is everything you'd expect in terms of arcade gameplay, 2K Sports didn't forget the strategy.  And there's plenty of it.  For instance, take your star pitcher into a game (such as CC Sabathia) and you'll see he has four pitches, and two of them are rated pretty high.  Some are actually quite overpowering.  But there's a risk-reward with those "go-to pitches".  If those pitches get hit enough times by batters, you'll lose the ability to throw that pitch for the entire game (at least from Sabathia himself).  So you can't live on "the old pepper" lest you really want to lose that pitch by the second inning.  So, by default, you learn quickly to mix up your pitches... just like in real baseball.

(But wait, this is arcade game, right?)

...yeah, but with tons of strategy.

In terms of defense and fielding, you'll notice a big difference between the "haves" and the "have nots".  Player ratings make a huge difference.  You'll notice a BIG difference in the plays that someone like Derek Jeter can make versus the plays that some utility infielder from the Pirates can make.     It manifests itself in "Legendary "arm-strength, "Legendary" glove ability, "Legendary" speed, and making plays with these (or any players) will help fill your "Big Play Meter".  That "Big Play Meter" can be used to add "oomph" to at-bats, add a speed burst while tracking down a fly ball, etc.  A fully charged meter Big Play Meter will manifest itself into some big-at bats, but if you fully charge the meter and go into "big-slam mode" only to whiff at strike 3... you lose the whole meter and have to start from scratch.  The same goes for the "Turbo" meter for pitching (which can add "oomph" to your pitches)  You can fill this meter by accumulating strike outs, and especially from throwing pitches in the batter's wheelhouse and daring them to hit your pitches, you'll get more bonus "Turbo" points filling the meter.

If all this sounds very over the top... it kinda is.

However...

Unlike most "Arcade" style sports games, 2K Sports also gave some serious love to defense too.  Big-time fielders make big-time plays.  Some of them are pretty incredible.  Some are simply a case of getting a star fielder in the right place at the right time (such as hitting "A" on the controller button to jump up and rob a HR about to go over the wall).  Other times, for a superstar catch, you need to hit a button combination during a quicktime event to snag that screaming liner just above your head.  (Note: to allow for this, the game goes into a limited duration still-frame slow motion.)  Then there's the players (such as Derek Jeter) with the Legendary arms that throw frozen-ropes to first to get players out, and are especially gifted at making double plays happen with arm-strength.  This can also be augmented if you have remaining juice in your turbo meter.  So that's the real beauty of this game, you might think of "big offense" when you think of arcade sports, but The Bigs 2 also delivers the big defense too.


Injuries also happen, and usually happen to players who get blindsided with screaming liners to the infield.   Pitchers are particularly vulnerable.  Injuries often knock off ratings points off of player attributes, and sometimes its a huge hit to several of their ratings.  So even injuries in this game have been given a great deal of depth of meaning.

And that's really the strategic beauty of this game.  It may be an "arcade" title, but there's tons of strategy underneath.  When do you wanna use your turbo and/or big play meters?  Do you want to risk your accumulated full "Big-Play" bar on your star player's at bat, and risk all of it on one at bat...especially if the opposing pitcher has also filled up his turbo meter and can throw some blazingly effective pitches your way?  Do you risk throwing your highest rated pitch alot, and potentially lose the ability to throw it if that pitch gets hit several times?  Do you test a star batter's sweet-spot/wheelhouse because the reward for strikes in that region is more turbo meter?  Do you dare an off-speed pitch with a fast player like Johnny Damon on the basepaths, or do you bring some turbo heat with a fastball to the outside zone and a hope for a throw-out?

And that's the thing... this game has so much depth.  For some casual players, I can see how it might even be too much depth, so I would encourage them to drop the difficulty.  (Default difficulty is no easy time either, trust me.  I'm 4-7 in my Yank's season and I've had some practice!)



And speaking of full season play...

The Bigs 2 included full season play in this game. (Apparently it wasn't there last year).  There is stat tracking, but it seems to only track player stats of the user controlled team- unless I am missing something in the menus.  Not too shabby though.  League statistics and standings are still there for every team.  You have pitcher rotations, relievers, the whole thing.  Generally speaking , the default number of innings per game is 5 innings, but you can change that manually in the settings.

You also can bring up your created player through the "Mexican League" and try to break into the big leagues.  There's even boss battles against MLB legends as you try to crawl up the ranks.  I haven't done much testing in this area just yet, as I've spent most of my time in Season mode and Home Run Pinball, but I hope to dive into that mode this week.

Which brings me to Home Run Pinball...
What a blast!  Basically, you take your favorite power hitter to a pre-set location (such as Time Square, downtown Tokyo, etc.) and a pitcher will throw pitches at you, and you have to aim your swings at various parts of the environment (thereby destroying that environment) for points.  Crushing neon signs at Times Square and crushing office buildings in Tokyo with big HR blasts is actually quite a treat, and it also teaches timing/hitting/hit-aiming in the process.  (My best score at HR pinball was slightly over 300K, btw)   It also allows you to upload your score and see where you sit on the HR Pinball leaderboard.

power_derby1

As I bring these impressions to a close, I have to give 2K Sports credit for delivering such a deep experience to an arcade-themed game.  This title has me totally re-thinking my long-standing bias against "arcade sports" titles.  There's plenty of addictive fun to be had with The Bigs 2, and a surprising amount of baseball depth.  Hopefully, this game gets plenty of post-launch love (such as a downloadable few roster updates, as only opening day rosters seem to be included at present) but that aside, I highly recommend this title to baseball fans.  I haven't had this much fun in an arcade style sports game since Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball on SNES some 16 years ago.   Well done 2K Sports.

 

Furcal1

\
\
User Rating: / 13
PoorBest 

When it comes to baseball games I always look for the most realistic one in terms of graphics, game mechanics, and game stat maintenance.  Well actually this can be said for every sports game I buy, but it’s more prevalent in baseball games for me.  I mean I can play madden and NCAA football till I’m blue in the face because of the amount of realism from every facet of the title.  I can also play NFL blitz which is an over the top football game with ridiculous amounts of exaggerated super powered animations and moves.  But for me the idea of an arcade style baseball game never really caught my ear or eye.  This is probably the biggest reason I skipped out of playing 2K’s The Bigs when it came out.  But after reading up on The Bigs 2, my thoughts have changed.  And I’m very excited they have.

Ichiro_bigs2.jpg

2K’s The Bigs 2 is an over-the-top baseball arcade game with tons of interesting features and nuances that take every exciting aspect of a major league baseball game and inject it with steroids.  We’re talking big muscle-headed baseball players, fireball pitches that literally leave vapor trails, and ridiculous diving catches.  And yes there are even more eye-grabbing animations and maneuvers in the game.  What I love most about what 2K is trying to do here is take everything that we love about baseball and push it to the comic book level, meaning take it to super-human heights.  2K isn’t trying to replace your normal common MLB game that you have on your shelf.  They’re trying to add another dimension to your baseball experience.  That dimension rests comfortably within the realms of super-human baseball.  Just seeing some of the screenshots makes me drool.  After catching these glimpses, I went over to IGN and was able to catch some video of the game and became even more excited and obsessed.  The video I watched was the Power Mini-game where my boy Manny Ramirez is batting right next to Justin Morneau and they’re both trying to hit homers off two pitchers who are throwing simultaneously.  Rule wise, both batters are trying to hit different parts of the stadium with their dingers, accumulating different points in the process.  For example hitting the scoreboard with a shot offers different points versus hitting the bleachers.  It’s a jaw-dropping video and I suggest heading over there to see it when you can or if you’re interested in this type of game.

 

The Power  Mini-game is just one of the many cool mini-games you participate in.  There’s a Glove Mini-game in which your player is in charge of making ridiculous catches and dives.  There’s a Speed Mini-game in which you race an opponent up and down stadiums avoiding different pitfalls in the process.  There’s a Contact mini-game where players hit a number of balls that are being tossed in a continuous stream at you.  Like Power and Glove, you again are standing right next to your opponent which is both unique and badass looking.  The game is apparently color dependent, meaning you want to hit balls of a particular color and stay away from another color.  There’s also this insane mode called Pinball mode where its basically Home Run Derby but set in cool backgrounds like on the streets of Vegas or New York.  Picture you and a pitcher in Times Square and you’re banging hits off of buildings in bright lights.  Unreal to say the least.

 Beckett_bigs2.jpg

All these mini-games and modes sound very cool but The Bigs 2 is actually a little more than that and the team at 2K is trying to prove that this year.  For the first time you’ll be able to partake in a full season with full on stat tracking which is something 1 was missing.  There will also be a “Become a Legend” mode.  In this, players try to attribute points throughout the season by accomplishing different task and eventually get the opportunity to battle bosses like Babe Ruth in games.  Once these special legends are defeated you can play as them in other modes.  In terms of other specials, different players on teams will have different special abilities that others won’t.  These can also be referred to as Power Ups and these players always carry them with them.  For example, Albert Pujols might always hit a homerun no matter what.

 

From what I’ve read and seen and heard, 2K is building a monster of a game and I’m geeked to see the final result!  I’ll be writing another article and review once I get my hands on this game.  I’m sure that article will go into further depth of the game and if I know 2K, even more surprises will arise.  It’s supposed to land in July and I guarantee I’ll be one of the first to have it.  *fingers crossed on a winner*

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

\

Like it? Share it!

\\