The Bigs 2 on Xbox 360 and PS3 may not have been the most faithful of baseball representations, but that was never its intention. It brought the fun with larger than life players, ridiculous activities, and mini-games that were decently fun, if not a bit repetitive. Even still, on consoles The Bigs 2 was the best baseball we've seen from 2K Sports for some time. It's just too bad that the same can't be said for the Wii version.
When playing the Wii, you can accept the rugged visual presentation so long as the controls make you feel more immersed in the experience. With The Bigs 2, not only do the controls make things more difficult than they should; the visuals are sub-par for the system.
The gameplay and presentation of The Bigs 2 on Wii essentially mirror what I saw from the console versions. You still have the wheelhouse area for batters, there's still a meter that governs the power of pitches and there are still plenty of legendary catch moments that pop up throughout gameplay. The legendary catches have seen the largest change thanks to the Wii's unique motion-sensitive controls. Instead of button presses in sequence you'll now need to point the remote at the screen and either hit scrolling baseballs or chase after a roving ball and tap A when you've sufficiently lined up your glove. The third legendary catch comes into play when you're reaching into the crowd to make a catch. You'll need to balance a ball on a beam by rotating the Wii remote. It's annoyingly touchy and sometimes wholly inaccurate.
Because of the way pitching and batting are handled, my timing was a bit off when first playing The Bigs 2. You pitch by selecting a pitch with the d-pad, then swing up on the Wii remote to trigger the meter to start filling, then swing down to throw the pitch. There's a bit of give to help you reach maximum power, but I still had issues with lag and the controller picking up my movements. The same goes for batting where swings are just a tad behind your actual swinging motion (which can be nothing more than a jolt to the remote).
Baserunning is also more annoying than it should be. Rather than actually being able to select a specific runner as you can on Xbox 360 and PS3, you'll now need to cycle through them with the minus button. It's not a huge problem, but if you accidentally skip the runner you're trying to advance you're almost sure to get hosed.
Just as in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, Become A Legend mode is the most substantive mode in The Bigs 2. You start by creating a player, then bring him up from the Mexican league to his former – pre-injury – glory in the major leagues. You'll travel around the world a bit, move teams and participate in roughly the same challenges as we saw on the other consoles; occasionally annoying as they may be.
The gameplay in Become A Legend is identical to what you'll see on the field, but there are a few mini-game distractions that you'll find off the field. They're all amalgamations of things you'll do on the field, less the speed game which makes little to no sense at all. I had serious problems with the contact mini-game which seems to have a different contact point than on other systems. You'll need to swing at balls when they're a little above your belt or higher, which makes it extremely frustrating to try to hit low balls when they're spit out in rapid succession.
So while the gameplay is manageable despite its annoyances, the visual presentation of the action brings the entire package down. Things are pathetically grainy on the field with very little details, less a few of the players' faces. Not only that, but there are actually wireframes visible on player models. If they're a lefty batter, you'll be able to see them when looking up their left sleeve. It's terrible. Making matters worse is the crowd, which is totally motionless, regardless of what's happening on the field.
The audio is passable, but just barely. The commentator in the booth delivers the same speech that you'll hear on PS3 and Xbox 360. Where things go awry is on the field or, more accurately, in your hand. Whenever you hit the ball the Wii remote makes a very annoying sound by default. Elsewhere things are decent, if not a bit too lifeless to fit under The Bigs label.
©2009-07-15, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved