MLB 2K12 review

With a laser-like focus on individual matchups, MLB 2K12 strikes at the heart of the game. Is that enough to put it over the top?

Baseball is all about the details, and MLB 2K12 is all over the map. There were a couple of niceties we picked up; for example, a first baseman’s uniform was filthy when he came up to bat right after making a diving play in the dirt to end the previous inning, while bunting was draped in the ballparks along with special postseason logos on the infield for the playoffs. On the other hand, when we hit a walk-off single to win a 14-inning playoff game, there was no on-field celebration; the players were shown ambling off the field as if it were an ordinary half-inning. We also had a bizarre in-game situation occur when a smash up the middle bounced off a pitcher then magically warped right to the second baseman.

The commentary, however, is mostly outstanding. MLB 2K12 is drenched in statistics, and the three-man booth does a good job calling the action based on what’s happened and what the numbers say. Occasionally we’d hear Steve Phillips make a reference that didn’t quite mesh – such as saying it was still early in the game when in fact we were in the 8th inning – but these were the exception rather than the rule. Inside Edge does more than provide the announcers a great basis to talk from as well; based on the plethora of information available to you, there’s more than enough data to turn you into a Moneyball-esque on-field game manager as well as front office expert.

My Player mode has received a few updates this year, mostly around defining your role before your career begins. As seen in past games, it suffers from two problems. First, it’s extremely menu-driven, which means tons of loading and clicking instead of enjoying games. Secondly, if you’ve spent much time in it last season, there’s little appeal to repeating it again. To be fair, though, the different roles provide a nice variety and no two careers should play out exactly the same.

The early stages of online play have been decent, but we’ve experienced some slowdown when the ball is in motion that helps cause fielding issues. Because our timing was thrown off, we wound up committing lots of throwing errors, and so did our opponents. When there are runners on the basepaths, things slow down even more. None of this is game-breaking, but is definitely annoying. On PS3, online has seen even more issues. In addition to the aforementioned issues that also afflict the Xbox 360 version, we also had a game in which the commentary started echoing badly for some bizarre reason (which hasn’t happened offline). As of week one, there are some issues that could use a patch.

We’ve been unable to play the all-new MLB Today mode, but we’ll have in-depth reports on that (as well as more on My Player) in upcoming Box Score columns and podcasts once Opening Day comes and that mode takes on relevance.

Despite its many issues, MLB 2K12 packs a significant punch when it comes to the nuts-and-bolts of big league baseball. We’re excited about taking a couple of teams through the season. Unfortunately, it’s just too ordinary-looking and choppy-playing to appeal to a wider audience. For all its good points, a game of this stature should be more polished at this stage of the franchise’s existence.

This game was reviewed on Xbox 360 as the lead platform. We also played through sections of the PS3 version to see if there were any distinct differences, and any technical distinguishments are noted above.

More Info

PlatformXbox 360, PS3, DS, PSP, PC, Wii
US censor ratingEveryone