MLB 2K13 review

  • Stalwart pitching mechanics
  • Drenched in statistics
  • Pitcher-hitter battles
  • It’s essentially a roster update
  • Choppy framerate
  • Online leagues cancelled

It’s sad to watch a once-proud franchise struggle. In years past, the MLB 2K series was a hallmark of progress, featuring crisp visuals and depth of gameplay that seemed to foreshadow consistent greatness. Quite the opposite has happened, however: The latest from 2K Sports is a forlorn title trapped in an impossible situation. As the embodiment of the most insulting term that can be hurled in this genre--“roster update”--MLB 2K13 is also the most disappointing console sports game in recent memory.

From the moment you step on the mound in a standard game or start a career in My Player, the lack of any difference whatsoever from its predecessor is stunning in its completeness. It is, literally, the same exact game as MLB 2K12 with updated rosters, schedules, and uniforms. Each one of the complaints listed from last season’s review is still present, with uninspired visuals, a choppy camera when following the ball in motion, and many awkward animations. Strange bugs pop up at regular intervals involving players magically gliding across the diamond or facing the opposite direction that they’re throwing. Ugly hitches take place at the moment a hitter makes contact with the ball. In many areas, MLB 2K13 is simply a mess. Just like last year.

Naturally, everything positive from last season remains the same too. The battle between pitcher and batter is exceptionally gripping, from the pre-pitch planning until the moment the bat is swung. Helpful statistics and analyses drench every interaction, as you’ve got a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips to work through every situation. The My Player career mode is terrific in many ways, reducing much of the game’s biggest weaknesses by always focusing on one player, while enhancing its strengths as a series of pitcher-hitter duels. My Player also provides clear goals, both in-game and during the season, to lead you down the path of success and make it to the major leagues. Just like last year.

The back of the box, typically the place where all the new features and improvements are clearly listed in exciting ways, is creatively devoid of any words that indicate improvements to the platform. In fact, MLB 2K13 is shipping with less options than last year’s, as Online Leagues have been removed. Any opportunity to track stats and wins amongst your friends for kicks is gone. While it’s obvious few people took advantage of them, killing off Online Leagues entirely seems excessive, especially given the lack of any innovation or improvement to other areas of the game.

Newcomers to the series can certainly have some fun playing baseball with their favorite team or creating a player from scratch and taking them through a career. Unfortunately, many fans will walk into a store and pay full price for a game that they won’t know has all the same problems-- and less features--than last year’s game. Also, it’s a shame that Xbox 360 owners have nothing close to the quality of MLB The Show on the PS3, the gold standard of baseball games.

Perhaps 2K Sports has something up their sleeve for baseball on the next Xbox, or perhaps MLB 2K13 is the last gasp of their baseball franchise. If that’s the case, it goes out not with a bang, but with a whimper. It never should have gone out in the first place.

More Info

Release date: Mar 05 2013 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Mar 05 2013 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Sports
Published by: 2K Sports
Developed by: Visual Concepts
Franchise: Major League Baseball 2K
ESRB Rating:

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  • ryan-mcgaha - March 25, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    I disagree with a chunk of this review. I own a PS3. Until this past year I always had a 360. I traded it in to try out a PS3. So needless to say with previously owning a 360 I have always played the 2K series Baseball. This year on release day, I decided I would try MLB The Show. Boy was I disappointed. I have a really long review somewhere online about The Show. If you want to read it let me know. The Show as far as features and depth goes is in fact an AMAZING game. I don't buy baseball games to sit there and simulate. I LOVE playing actual baseball games. This is where The Show fails , miserably . Their gameplay is horrendous. I won't go into details but trust me I played it for a couple days non stop. It was terrible. MLB 2K 13 sucks for features. Their depth is okay, seeing as they do have a lot of stats and what not to look at during games and seasons. They even have advanced sabermetrics. Where MLB 2K succeeds is on the diamond. It BLOWS The Show out of the water. Is 2K simply a roster update with new uniforms and the Astros moved to the AL West? Sadly yes.Does 2K still lack in stunning graphics? Yes. Does 2K still have some random spots where things look at little silly in game? Yes. But I seen some weird stuff on The Show too. But honestly , these things have ZERO effect on the outcome of the game and usually no outcome on the play in which these little bugs occur. So as my team is running in from the field to come to bat the second baseman magically skates across the mound. Who the **** cares?!? How does it effect what happens in your game? So 2K doesn't quite fit the bill when it comes to graphics . Also doesn't quite get there as far as a bugless game goes. But ask yourself, what is important about a baseball SIMULATION. Should it be pretty graphics and smooth gameplay covering complete unrealistic bull**** like The Show? No. 2K does the most important thing about a baseball SIMULATION right. The actual playing of the game is darn near perfect. Hitting, Pitching, Fielding,Running and Managing a game. The right analog swing stick along with left analog aiming gives me complete control over where I hit the ball. Analog pitching makes me actually feel like I am putting spin on the ball. It is simply the best pitching mechanic ever in any baseball game. The fielding and the throwing meters in the field , which you can use the button or simply hold the R analog in the direction of the base to throw. The base running is so simple and perfect. Managing the game is beautiful. I can't count how many times I've been in a close game and have emptied my bench and my bullpen trying to out manage either the other player(if playing online) or playing against the AI. Do I wish 2K had done something to make this year's game better? Oh yes for sure. But lets remember one thing. In December, 3 months prior to release. There was NO MLB 2K13. It was scratched. A last minute decision allowed them make their game for this year. In the span of 3 months they updated the rosters. Updated uniforms. Added new players. Made changes to stadiums. Moved Astros to the AL West. Had the commentary team in to record all the new commentary. If you actually spend some time with the game, you will notice there is a lot of new commentary. So to wrap up, I will pay $60 for the updated rosters and the Astros to the AL west. Just for the pure gameplay of 2K13. It kicks The Show's *** in gameplay and presentation.
  • Meneley25 - March 10, 2013 11:31 p.m.

    Seriously MLB 2K?!?!?! You people are an embarrassment to Sports Games, what the hell happened??? You guys aren't even trying, you all should be ashamed of yourselves
  • shawksta - March 8, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    well thats a shame Online leagues cancelled? Really? WOW

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