Major League Baseball 2K11 review

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Major League Baseball 2K11 review

How many seasons have to pass before you’re forced to confront the fact that the core players you’ve assembled just aren’t championship-caliber? That’s where we are with MLB 2K11. Don’t get us wrong: 2K11 is the series’ finest 360 effort yet. It’s a perfectly playable hardball sim with a lot to like. Just don’t expect it to amaze you.

The core mechanics — pitching, hitting, and fielding — are all rock-solid. Gesture-based pitches are once again controlled with the right stick, giving you a physical stake in your efforts without enabling Terminator-like accuracy. Hitting adds check-swings, although oddly, the game never teaches you about them or mentions them in the My Controller menu, and they feel unnatural (after swinging, you quickly pull down on the right stick to hold up). Fielding, meanwhile, refines its MVP 2005–style throwing meters and feels smoother than ever. We’re also pleased to see the rags-to-riches My Player mode return seemingly unchanged from last year’s offering.

So what drags 2K11 down? Though hit variety is improved overall, there’s still a gross excess of soft line-outs to infielders, an issue that’s plagued this franchise since…forever. Also, play-by-play commentary gets repetitive in a hurry, home runs are a rarity for humans and CPU alike, and the A.I. is sheepishly passive on the bases. Oh, and maybe it’s just us, but our pitching staff was freakishly ravaged by strange injuries in just the first month of our Franchise mode season. We lost 4/5 of our starting rotation and relievers, too! But at least broken bats and animated third-base coaches are in.

All these details may not sound like an 8.0 score, but believe us: we like MLB 2K11 plenty. We’re just sad to see that after all this time, as Xbox 360’s only MLB game, it’s not the superstar we wish it was.

On Xbox 360

+ Jack of All Trades syndrome: does everything well, but nothing fantastically.

+ Returning My Player mode is as fun and addictive as ever.

- Still a dugout’s worth of annoyances.

? How aggravating does the soundtrack’s limited number of songs become during gameplay? Extremely.

8.0

 
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