- Publisher: 2K Sports
- Developer: Visual Concepts
- ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
- Genre: Sports
- Release Date: March 5, 2013
- Pros: Great Pitching/Batting Mechanics
- Cons: Nearly Identical to "MLB 2K12," Which Is Not a Good Thing
For years, I defended the "MLB 2K" franchise against claims that it just didn't compare to "The Show". Can't we have both? We have the American and National Leagues? Why can't we just enjoy both games? That wall of denial fell with "Major League Baseball 2K12" and it truly crumbles to dust with one of the most lackluster sports game offerings from a major studio in the entire PS3 generation. "MLB 2K12" was a mess but it at least hinted at a developer trying to correct flaws of the past. There's not even a whiff of effort here. New title, new rosters, Houston Astros are in the AL West -- that's about it. And the problems from last year persist with awkward camera angles, a lack of depth in gameplay, and some unacceptable glitches, particularly in the unprofessional audio tracks that can't keep up with the game in any way. The pitching mechanics are still the best thing about the game but it's become impossible to recommend it on that basis alone.
Pitching in "MLB 2K13" continues the form of the last few editions with different pitch types performed with different control stick configurations. Fastball is up and down. Change-up is down and up. More complicated pitch? More complicated control stick maneuver. I love the pitching mechanics in the 2K games and not just because I'm wicked-good at it. It's a clever way to capture the difficulty of pitching. Similarly, batting has a nice, smooth motion, using the control sticks with a push forward for basic contact and a back-and-forth motion for a more powerful swing.
As for modes, "MLB 2K13" features the expected array (especially if you have last year's edition) with a focus on "MLB Today," the actual games being played on that day in the real world of Major League Baseball. Season mode, exhibition play, online games...wait, believe it or not, 2K Games can't even be accused of directly importing last year's edition since they removed online leagues, possibly because they couldn't get the support together for it in time between near-death and release. The game also includes "My Player," which is a dismal cousin of "Road to the Show" in Sony's version. To make sure I was comparing apples to apples, I started a player at the same position in both games. Everything about "The Show," down to the camera angles behind the plate and at 2B as you're trying to field a grounder, is superior. "My Player" has quicker load times (which matters when you're on a team playing small ball and you're trying to get from first to home) but it's just nowhere near as enticing to put in the many hours it takes to get a minor league newbie to a major leage star.
And then there are the clearly-cut corners in "MLB 2K13." I can't count the number of times that the announcers got things straight-up wrong. It's usually situational -- talking about how there's a lot of time left in the 8th inning or incorrectly labeling a player on 1B as a stealing threat -- but it's also often specific and embarassing, like calling a ball fair down the line that has been caught. And baserunning in this game is pathetic and annoying. Players take way too long to get baserunning cues from the controller, making quick decisions, like breaking for home when you realize the throw isn't going there, simply impossible.