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Major League Baseball 2K8 - hands-on

Like your sister during puberty, fielding has gone through some major changes too. Before, players would plant their legs and stay rigid when waiting for a popup to drop, effectively screwing you if wind pushed the ball off course. Now, you can manually adjust for position, eliminating the need for dramatic dives. Once you’ve made the catch, you’ll notice throwing has been reworked as well. Instead of tapping a button to launch the ball toward second base, you hold down on the right stick for the windup and a vertical meter pops up and will start to fill. Release just as the slider reaches the sweet spot and you’ll rocket the ball where ever the left stick is pointing. The higher the player’s fielding rating, the larger the sweet spot in the meter.

In addition to all the MLB teams, you have access to 90 playable minor league clubs - most of which use the actual player likenesses. This is especially awesome in Franchise mode where you can play with up to four teams per season - in any combination of majors and minors you please. At any time you can bring players up from AAA to the Bigs to round out your squad if you need to make a dash for the playoffs.

Even though we warmed up to the new controls quickly, it remains to be seen if longtime fans will embrace the changes. If it seems like 2K went a little thumbstick happy, don’t worry - as mentioned, you can revert back to the old control scheme. Whatever your control preference, check back for a full review in the next couple weeks when the game ships.

Feb 15, 2008