No afterthought - MLB 2K7 reminds us why we loved the Xbox
That strange sound you’re hearing this spring is the release of an actual new game for the original Xbox. While Microsoft has wholly ignored their first console since the advent of the 360 and Electronic Arts has made its latest baseballer a PS2 exclusive, 2K Sports has bequeathed a shiny new disc to play unto the Xbox community in the form of MLB 2K7. With no other competition for the baseball dollar, it stands alone as a solid effort that is worth a look for any fans still counting the Xbox as their primary source of gaming delight.
Sporting an impressive list of features and perfectly competent mechanics, it seems as if the folks at 2K Sports weren’t ignoring it while also building their stellar next-gen versions this time around. Other than some questionable player ratings and occasional visual and commentary hiccups, the smooth gameplay reminded us how much better Microsoft’s machine handled sports titles when compared to their PS2 counterparts; everywhere that the PS2 version struggles, the Xbox title shines. Only time will tell whether or not that trend continues in the next generation.
Above: The screens in this review are from the 360 version (apologies), but the Xbox one is no slouch either
Pitching is perhaps the strongest aspect of 2K7. Everyone knows that it’s an art, whether you’re commanding a master of finesse or a strikeout machine. The traditional components of timing, location, and speed are part of the puzzle, but the addition of manipulating the break of your particular hurler’s pitch fleshes it out even more. The mechanics are a little wacky - we don’t love the whole expanding/collapsing circle deal - but they present so many opportunities for pinpoint location via movement that it’s almost a game unto itself.
At the plate, there’s less to do; conversely, there’s almost no time to do it. It takes microsecond-level judgment to determine when and if to swing, and if so in which direction. The Batter’s Eye feature helps a little but, but with no visual cues as to the pitch type, you’ll need a lightning quick eye along with a bit of luck to turn your Rob Deer impersonation into something resembling Ichiro.