With a pocket full of birthday money, and a sale at Best Buy, I decided to give MLB 2K5 – “powered by ESPN” – a try. I must say, desite all of the horror stories I heard about this title, my one-game experience was pretty positive. I didn’t encounter the deadly passed-ball bug, or any crazy bugs with runners on, numbers of outs, and so forth. Granted, one game is hardly a sample size, but I left with a favorable feeling about the game. Also, it seems that hardcore fans have found workarounds for the biggest problems, as reported in many gaming forums.
First off, the atomosphere is over the top! The crowd rose to the occasion, and really pulled me into the game. The “thwack” of bat on ball, or a missed swing, was pretty poor, but other wise, the action was very ESPN-like.
I love the myriad of gameplay styles and options. For my one game, I stuck with “True Aim” hitting and “K-Zone” pitching. After a couple of at-bats, I was able to put the bat on the ball pretty consistently, albeit without much power. I slapped 14 singles, but got no runs! A couple of untimely double plays and a pickoff did me in, plus some extremely conservative baserunning on my part. Actually, the baserunning was almost exclusively station-to-station. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the speed of the ball in the outfield, the outfield size, the outfielders’ speed, their arms, or my aforementioned lack of aggressiveness on the bags.
The K-Zone was pretty easy to pick up as well. I through about 85% strikes. Sometimes I would miss badly, and throw a “meatball,” but usually, I could hit my spots. I did walk one batter, but I was pitching around him. Their are four other pitching styles to choose from, and I’m looking forward to playing around with them, to see which one suits me the best for realistic play.
The most encouraging thing is that there are about 50 or so sliders for the AI and human player to adjust. I’m assuming they’ll have a measurable impact, so the game can be tweaked to my preception of “realism.”
Hopefully, I won’t run into these “bugs” reported across various websites, and I can find the right combination of sliders (without too much effort) to make the game suit me. After game one, and after spending only $15, I’m pretty excited about this title. We’ll see…