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MLB 2K11 (Nintendo Wii) Review
MLB 2K11 on the Wii
Review by 
5.9/10 from one rating
 
I have what you might call a hate-love-hate relationship with Take-Two Interactive. Their catalog makes it clear that they don't have much use for Wii. There's been a good port (Bully: Scholarship Edition), an excellent hockey game (NHL 2K10 and 2K11), and a gutsy if flawed survival horror game (Manhunt 2). Aside from that, Wii doesn't get much love from them.

It's been really difficult to get information on the Wii's version of MLB 2K11. If you go to GameTrailers, into their Wii section, you'll see an MLB 2K11 preview featured. It's not for you. None of the stuff that the game designer in the video, Sean Bailey, talks about is in your version. That's only for the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, but nowhere on GameTrailers, or in the video, is this indicated.

What I found when, against my better judgment, I bought MLB 2K11 from Best Buy today, was pretty much MLB 2K7. That's right, since 2K outsourced it to China, the Wii version of the game has barely progressed at all. There have been some minor bug fixes, and the balance of the game has been improved a bit, and the rosters have been updated, but it's still basically the same decent-playing, horrible-looking game it has been for the last four years.

It starts off looking promising, but once you get past the splash screen, your opinions of the game get ground down little by little. The IR pointing is serviceable, but oddly quantized. The pointer does not move smoothly. The text used in most of the game looks bad, is difficult to read, has poor leading and kerning, and what you have to click on can be pretty small at times. The main menu system features larger, round, easy-to-hit icons for navigating the main areas of the game, as well as the in-game pause menu. Some graphics look okay, while others look heavily aliased. Button usage in the menus are a bit inconsistent. It's a long-time Wii convention that the "A" button moves you forward, and the "B" button moves you back. Most, but not all, of 2K11 follows that. Every so often they decide to use the plus button instead, such as for launching the Home Run Derby.

Honestly, I really can't complain much about the controls. The original scheme from 2K7 works pretty well, and has been carried on mostly unchanged. There is still no MotionPlus support, which would really have improved batting, and throwing to bases on defense still uses the d-pad, which isn't ideal considering its flakiness. I found myself throwing to the wrong base when I could have sworn I pushed the right d-pad direction, but I attribute this to the Wii remote and not the game. (Which, as a side thought, I often wonder, why is the Wii d-pad so imprecise? A question for another time I suppose.) Sprinting during baserunning requires drumming, which you may or may not care for, and siding into bases uses motion, as well as diving or jumping for fly balls. I do wish they would have evolved the motion controls more, but I suppose I should be grateful that, unlike Madden NFL 10 and de Blob 2, they at least didn't strip out the motion controls. Unfortunately, the baserunning controls appear to be completely unimplemented, in spite of being described in the manual.

The graphics.....well, the graphics still look like a PS2 having a bad day. Some of the uglier glitches, such as off-center names on uniforms, have been fixed, but nobody is going to mistake 2K11 for a high-budget production. The colors are bland, the face models are still mediocre, and parts of the field are heavily aliased. I still have to say, MVP Baseball 2005 on the GameCube still looks better. heck, 2K's own game The Bigs looks better. The Wii can do much better, if 2K would put even just a little effort into it.

As with most baseball games, the default gameplay settings aren't terribly accurate, but you can improve the realism dramatically by tweaking a set of sliders governing the speed and accuracy of in-game AI. Several web sites have lists of "slider settings", and honestly you could probably use any of the settings listed for the Wii versions of 2K8, 2K9, or 2K10 and they would work because the game engine hasn't changed. Most of the real game has been covered in the rules, but I still managed to confuse it in one instance: When playing as the Cardinals, I used pitcher Kyle Lohse, a pretty good hitter, as a pinch hitter, but the game then insisted that he take the mound for one batter the next inning. Fortunately, I was playing the Rays and was able to strike out David Price (who, as an AL pitcher, never bats) coming in cold, so it didn't get in the way. But I'm not sure the game's designers have all the possible Tony LaRussa weirdness that could come into play.

The audio is competent. The play-by-play and color commentary, while it gets repetitive rather quickly, at least fits the game and it's not actively obnoxious. Sound effects are appropriate. Some of the extras I can take or leave. Gone is the silly baseball card system from previous versions, replaced with a Mini-Diamond game, which is also silly and looks hideous -- we're talking Nintendo 64 bad -- but at least it's interesting and playable. Sorry, still no on-line anything. Not even roster updates. There's a fair two-player mode, but it's strictly in-person.

Honestly, the value for the game is poor if you buy the game every year. While I rented previous versions for reviews, I hadn't bought the game since 2K7, so there was just enough progress over the last four years to keep me from feeling too cheated. Taken on its own, it's perhaps just worth the stock $50 price tag, but if you buy the franchise every year, you will feel let down.

I've kinda given up hope for baseball on Wii. The Wii has never been a priority for 2K, and the NHL franchise is looking increasingly like an aberration. The booklet for MLB 2K11 does have an ad for Top Spin 4 on the back of it, so maybe there's some hope. But the horizon isn't looking promising. I've found myself hoping that EA can get the MLB license back, or maybe just shelving my baseball expectations until the Wii's successor arrives in 2012.

http://www.motiongaming.info/article.php?articleid=172&category=3

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Posted: 03/15/11, 00:39:42  - Edited by 
 on: 03/15/11, 00:42:20    
 
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?
 
Oh, here it is!, haha.

--Wow, I'm surprised, and not at all surprised with them and this game.

Did MLB2K10 come out last year for the Wii? I feel like it didn't. You mentioned NHL2K11; I'm currently playing that game in a league, online (more in the recent Podcast!). NHL2K11 is Wii exclusive, and I think it shows. There was a lot of hubbub from the HD fans about NHL2K not landing on those systems this year..but they have the EA franchise to fall back on anyways. Those guys only care about graphics anyways.

You'd think that 2K would step back and say "ok, theres no competition on the Wii..we can corner the market..lets make this the best baseball game we can." Why not go Wii exclusive with that? Why not step up in the sports department for this one system instead of spreading your resources out and ultimately underselling on all systems? Incorporate the WiiMotion+ that hockey utilizes, and implement the beefy online leagues as well! How hard is that? I'm yet to see an MLB2K commercial, though I see advertisements for "The Show" every day. Not available on Wii, folks.

I'm still playing MVP Baseball 2005 myself. Its the newest baseball game in my house. My wife wanted Power Pros, but we never got around to it. So yeah, I don't know what they're doing. But still, no online, at this day in age? Not even roster downloads? C'mon, guys..


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 00:59:14
There was a 2K10 on Wii. I didn't buy it. I assume it looks pretty much like 2K11 but with last year's rosters.

I have to give them kudos on the NHL franchise. Kind of an odd choice of exclusive, though. And peculiarly out of character for 2K to put that much effort into a Wii title.

Power Pros is okay but it hasn't been kept up with. I always thought that Power Pros would do better on DS, though.

If you watch the MLB Network on cable, you'll see that 2K11 is being advertised pretty heavily right now. I'm disappointed that Sony didn't run with Move support on The Show.

David V


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 01:31:59
Haha this game looked like such a turd on Nintendo Week. God damn.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 02:58:08
I wonder if these games actually release in the UK. I will have to look it up and see, I suppose it would be like a cricket game releasing in the states.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 11:51:50
I'm no sports fan by any means, but it's just ridiculous that baseball fans can't get their fix on the Wii.

I had fun playing the pack-in baseball in the original Wii Sports. Does anyone feel that game could have laid the foundation of some solid Wii baseball experiences?

I have no idea how it compares to other baseball games, but I had a blast playing the Ken Griffey Jr. games back on the SNES and the N64. They were simple enough for someone like me to jump into. The only reason I was even interested the Griffey games at all was because of Nintendo's heavy promotion of the game in Nintendo Power, and I figured, hey, if Nintendo is backing this series up, it must be good.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 18:32:35
@roykoopa64
Nintendo has to do it themselves. Pennant Chase Baseball was supposed to release towards the end of the GCN life, wonder what happened to it? They should add in some motion plus controls, and release that sucker for Wii.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 18:59:41
It's probably not what you're looking for, but MLB Power Pros is actually a pretty good baseball game for the Wii. It had a (supposedly) good sequel as well, although I never played that one.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:10:42
@Zero

Agreed.

I'm a pretty big baseball fan, so I try to do the rounds with most franchises. Power Pros is a really fantastic version of arcade baseball, only rivaled by something like The Bigs. Since 2K is a bust Wii-only owners should not hesitate to look into it if you're looking for a baseball fix.

For the realistic stuff, the 2K (HD) franchise has been playing catch-up for years with the PS3 exclusive, The Show...and doing a pretty poor job of it at that. After experiencing The Show, I wouldn't want to even touch 2K baseball on any system. Much like EA defining sports gaming bliss with their current-gen outings of NHL and FIFA, SoE has simply dominated in the realistic baseball genre with The Show.

Oh well, at least 2K still has the best NBA titles on the market (oddly, by a pretty wide margin too).


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:33:23
At least the Wii seems to get the highest rated golf games nowadays. Golf counts as a sport, right Mustache?


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:38:11
True that.

Now if Nintendo can just get off their butts and deliver a proper Mario Golf, I can die a happy man.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:42:16
@New Forms
I dunno, I think FIFA is arguable. I know on the Wii the go-to soccer game is PES.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:45:16  - Edited by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:45:39
Everyone needs a Carlos Ruiz.

My god that commercial is incredible.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 19:50:24
@anon_mastermind

I was just talking about the franchises as a whole, nothing console-specific (except The Show, I guess).

Pro Evo (Winning Eleven) used to be the undisputed Top Dog for international football, but they've really lost their way over the past number of years. EA came along and stole the show from them a few years back and now they're generally considered the best soccer games on the market (barring those crazy stat-sims like Football Manager).

For statistical comparison the latest PES game is averaging 76% in reviews and the latest FIFA is at 89%. Neither franchise is inherently broken or anything and both get the job done just fine for fans. It just seems like EA has been far more ambitious with their franchise recently, unlike the god-awful job they're doing with Madden.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 20:14:36
@New Forms
Ah, yeah I had a feeling FIFA was top dog on the HD consoles. I wonder if Konami will release a Move-compatible version of PES, it works really well with pointer controls on the Wii.

It's a shame what happened to baseball games, though. The Show is undoubtedly awesome, but it's only on the PS3! What ever happened to the good old days of MVP Baseball?


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 20:40:36
@anon_mastermind

Yeah, I miss the hell out of the MVP franchise. But luckily I've got access to The Show and it's just as good, if not better than the famed MVP.

Funny, but The Show was a big reason why I picked up a PS3 in the first place.


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 20:57:17
@Zero

Yes. But thats EA.

And unlike basketball or football on the Wii, WiiMotion+ is the preferred method of playing a Golf game.

@New Forms

Have you guys played Super Swing Golf? I actually meant to bring that up in my podcast; it was the one game left uncovered on my sheet. I loved Mario Golf on N64, and this filled that quota for me. I can't stand Wii Sports golf. Try Super Swing if you haven't! You won't have Mario Characters, but there are Characters nonetheless. Each upgradeable with different clothes (that have attributes), and obviously different clubsets, too. The courses are fun (and Mario Golf-ish), and there are crazy shots you can do as well. Give it a whirl if you haven't!

(Super Swing Golf and Super Swing Golf Season 2 both release a lonnng time ago for Wii)


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 21:23:24
@Mr_Mustache

How is it better than what's in Wii Sports?


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 21:38:28
@Pandareus

Wii Sports you (I should say "I") can't control it as easily. You can swing as hard as you can in "real" golf and have an AWESOME shot. Thats how guys drive the ball ridiculous far. In Wii Sports, you CAN'T do that. If you swing as hard as you can, you're going to slice it. Or hook it. No good.

Super Swing Golf:
Its more arcade, like Mario Golf. If they were Mario Characters, you'd say "..yeah! This is it!"

Basically, to swing, you check out where you want to hit it, and get ready to swing.
You have a distance meter at the bottom. You bring your swing back as far as you want to on the meter, hold B at the top of your swing, and then come through. The effectiveness is based on your Wii remote angle at the point of impact. You can still slice it or hook it. BUT, if you get a "perfect" (PANGYA!!) your ball will go a little farther, and you get bonus points/money. I can't remember what its called offhand (I think that Fink is a big SSG fan..), but you use your winnings afterwards to buy new accessories to get better for next time.

So yeah, I MUCH prefer it to Wii Sports Golf. You can probably find it super cheap now. Used for $4? Uh, ok!


PANGYA!!


Posted by 
 on: 03/15/11, 21:45:00
Tiger Woods is far and away the best sports game on Wii. Madden 09 NFL was the best football game and then they lost their minds. PES 09 was the best soccer game. 2K is doing okay with NHL 2K10 and 2K11. Baseball really has struggled. Mario Baseball is probably my favorite so far. As far as I know, all basketball games have been lousy.

David V


Posted by 
 on: 03/16/11, 00:10:27
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