It takes a lot of guts to open up the engine of a game that's likely no one's top priority, fix its biggest issues, and ensure that everything works great from top to bottom. Yet that's exactly what the fellas at 2K Sports did with MLB 2K8 on the PS2. Considering where it was last season, it's a significant improvement in most ways - except graphically, where it still lags behind The Show and remains firmly stuck in 2003. Even so, it's a solid baseball title in a year that has seen more than its fair share of diamond excellence.
Much of the game's success is directly related to fixing problems from last season. Considering the focus of the development teams on next-generation systems, it should not be overlooked that the differences between last year and this year are in all the right places. Gone are the hiccups and stutter-steps that plagued 2K7's PS2 game; in its place is a solid and smooth nine-inning experience.
Above: All screens are from the PS3 version
On the other hand, much of the gameplay you knew from 2K7 makes its way back without a whole lot of change, especially the simplistic-yet-deep pitching mechanics. The utterly awesome Street Fighter-style throwing tools seen on the next-generation titles don't show up on the PS2, leaving you with the perfectly functional yet by-now-passe three-tap meter to hurl the ball towards the plate. At least the hitting is improved, utilizing an updated Hit Stick in a way that doesn't force absolute perfection just in order to make contact with the ball.