Let’s face it: For the last couple years, the MLB 2K series has sucked. Playing was such a bug-filled glitchfest that you’d likely tear your rotator cuff launching the controller in frustration. While 2K sports games have usually been top-notch, it’s disheartening that the MLB games should be below standard, and you can’t be faulted for lowered expectations. So, what a pleasant surprise that MLB 2K10 is actually a pretty enjoyable affair, even if a couple defects remain.
It’s obvious that serious attention has been paid to the pitcher-hitter duel; pitching is handled with a series of joystick twirls, which entertains and challenges at the same time. Watch your pitch count though, ’cause fatigue or frazzled nerves will cause your pitches to miss their mark. Batting, while offering a more accurate portrayal of hitting than the homerun fests of previous MLB years, is difficult. You really have to work the pitch count because free swinging mostly means a strikeout. Fielding is fast-paced, though it seems like the CPU is filled with gold glovers, because you’ll often find yourself hitting into double plays or getting regularly picked off.
New to the 2K series is the “My Player” option, in which, like a sports-RPG hybrid, you gain skill points for practically everything you do as you take your MLB prospect all the way to the big show. Since you take control of only those plays in which your specific player is involved, a pitcher obviously gets more work than a position player. While the option is oddly addicting, it can also lead to frustration, as certain skill points are really damn difficult to earn on the default difficulty setting.
With vastly revamped gameplay, and the imperfect but intriguing “My Player” option, MLB 2K10 offers enough for a solid baseball simulator. There are still things to work out, primarily batting difficulties and fielding issues, but for a franchise that’s been reeling the last few years, this is a step toward building a winner. — Bryant Franks