Major League Baseball 2K6

Forget about “the cream” and “the clear” - baseball’s back in the one place it’s guaranteed to be steroid-free: on your favorite videogame console. With a third-party exclusivity agreement with Major League Baseball in publisher 2K’s back pocket, MLB 2K6 steps onto the field as the only pro hardball title on Xbox and GameCube, and just the second on PS2. And while longtime fans of the digital diamond may be nervous at the thought of a pro MVP-less season, you’ve got to like 2K6’s chances after scouting the massive changes it’s made from last year.

First and foremost is the pitching interface. Last year’s “line up the vertices” system made what should’ve been a fun videogame feel a bit too much like math homework, so this year it’s MVP-esque in function (if not in form). You hold down the desired pitch button - the longer you hold, the more “oomph” you put on it, but at the risk of missing your location - then release and tap again when the icon is right on top of the target.

Part two of 2K6’s rebuilding process is its hitting system. Again like MVP, it too assigns swinging duties to the right analog stick. Simply pull down as the ball is leaving the pitcher’s hand to shift your batter’s weight to his back foot, then release the stick when the pitch arrives to complete your swing. Additionally, you can push the stick forward if you want to put a power swing on the ball.