I am not a huge baseball fan and on top of that I hadn’t played a baseball video game intensively since MLB before it was “The Show”, and I am not even sure that counts I might have to go way back to the Triple Play days but let me not date myself too much. The point of all this is to say that I wasn’t necessarily super excited about the game and then I played the demo. I played the demo the first time and after that I was even less motivated in fact I thought that “The Bigs 2” was kind of stupid but then I played the demo a few more times and from there I was hooked. Let’s just say that “The Bigs 2” is the best baseball game that I have played in a long time and I am positive that for all but the most of avid of fans this will be their baseball game of choice.
The Bigs 2 is to baseball what NBA Jam was to basketball and Blitz is to football.
The Big Leagues just got BIGGER! The Bigs 2 allows fans to experience heroic gameplay, legendary game modes and incredible player models. Elevating The Bigs 2 to new heights are bigger power-ups, amazing visual effects, and an all new Become a Legend mode. Featuring exciting player animations and pick-up-and-play controls, The Bigs 2 delivers an action-packed, heroic MLB® video game experience.
The Bigs 2 plays a lot like the two major baseball simulations Major League Baseball 2K9 (also made by 2K Sports) and MLB 09: The Show. This is important because a lot of people will see the commercial and think it doesn’t have the chops to be anything more than a gimicky, cartoon type game and it is so much more than that. At first I was kind of confused, I wondered why 2K would make two baseball games, why would they segment their own market like that and then it made sense. They understand that you have to appeal to the casual gamer, the set of gamers like me that wouldn’t normally pick up one of the other baseball simulations and that is what they have done here. I am almost positive that for the core gameplay mechanics it uses the same base that MLB 2K9 does and that gives it credibility as a real baseball game.
To get back to “The Bigs”, you have to prove that you’ve still got it.
The first thing I want to talk about is the Become A Legend Mode (the game does feature a season mode, its nothing new though). It features a new & improved story mode, picking up at the end of the “Rookie Challenge” mode from The BIGS. Create a player and progress your career from a Mexican league to the Majors and, eventually, into the Hall of Fame. Along the way, compete in boss battles against MLB legends. Normally, I don’t play these kinds of modes but I figured I would give it a try and I am glad I did. The story starts at a low point in your career, you are in Mexico trying to recover from a devastating injury and prove to the guys in the big leagues that you still have what it takes to be a superstar. This part of the game is really to get you acclimated with the controls.
The majority of the controls are what I would call standard but certain players have perfected their abilities to the point where they have become what the game considers “Legendary”. Any of a players skills can be Legendary which provides them with some crazy boost but the one that you will have the most frequent contact is catches, either doing them or having them done to you. There are several different kinds of Legendary catches that are executed by successfully completing the mini game that corresponds to it, these are a little tricky at first but once you get the hang of it it becomes quite satisfying to turbo your way towards a wall that normally there is no way you would get to in time and then launch off it defying the laws of gravity to snare the ball out of the air and deny your opponent that homerun that they were so sure they had.
Both pitching and hitting just like you would expect with few exceptions well except for the power-up part. When at bat, after you have filled your bar you can execute either a “Big Blast”, which allows you to hit a homerun simply by making contact with the ball. Some players however can take this even further by initiating a “Big Slam” in which a series of four pitches are thrown and you have the opportunity to fill the bases with singles and then finish it off with a homerun for a devastating Grand Slam (even if you miss some of the balls you can still hit a homerun and bring in some runs. The “Big Blast” and “Big Slam” can be executed by pressing the L1+R1 and L2+R2 buttons respectively and let’s just say with power-ups like that no game is ever out of reach.
Now this is what we call robbing a guy.
The Bigs 2 also features an online mode that does manage to capture all the essence of the single player game, though during our time with it it was hard to find any opponents online. The game really doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses and the only problems we had were minor. You will notice when you play that each player has four shadows, though they should only have two but that’s nothing an update can’t fix. In Become A Legend mode you have to make sure that you pay attention to the goals of the game and complete them because if you don’t you will find yourself playing that game over again. Another issue we had is that in Become A Legend mode there really are no stats kept and no real roster management and though there is some in season mode its not really that in-depth. The only other problem I have with 2K is the release date, releasing it so close to NCAA Football 10 is definitely not good for sales and will probably make it longer for people to pick it up since they will run to NCAA. I would have love to see them put this out a month earlier to give gamers more time with it before being swept up in EA’s killer combo of NCAA and Madden.
For the most part The Bigs 2 does everything right, delivering a baseball experience that will more than satisfy what the casual gamer is looking for. The Bigs 2 is to baseball what NBA Jam was to basketball and what Blitz is to football. As I said in the title, The Bigs 2 is finally a baseball game for the rest of us and because of that we give The Bigs 2 from 2K Sports 8.5 out of 10.
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