Major League Baseball 2K6 Review (PSP)
Submitted on: Jun 15, 2006 by Shawn Drotar
Major League Baseball 2K6 brings the venerable console series to the PSP this year, one of only two systems (the Playstation 2 is the other) that the title isn't the only hardball "sim" in town.
Invariably, this game will (and likely should) be compared to the PSP's other baseball "sim", MLB '06: The Show. While I'll try to avoid direct comparisons for the most part, it would be impossible to give consumers a proper perspective without the occasional look at both titles.
Our own Clay Shaver reviewed the Xbox version of the game earlier, and I won't belabor his points, since they do tend to apply to the PSP version, as well.
The game has made a thorough translation to the PSP; retaining the vast majority of it's features, and it's replete with game play modes. Of course, some things get lost in translation, and the most notable removal would be that of the "Swing Stick", which was obviously necessary due to the lack of a right analog stick on the PSP unit. Taking into account a few necessary control adjustments, most everything that was in the console version is here - for good and ill.
The game's graphics and sounds are decent enough, but the game's presentation has a bland feel, with none of the flavor that visiting baseball's most unique parks normally brings. The players animate well - perhaps even a little better than their console counterparts for some reason, but the animations are still off-kilter. The positions that some of the players throw from are both painful to look at and all-but-impossible to attempt in real life, and watching them removes you from the illusion of the game instantly. The swing animations aren't as cringe-inducing, but they're not exactly what you'd hope to see, either. For a fully licensed game, the inaccuracies on many teams' uniforms are completely inexcusable, and I'm a bit shocked that MLB itself approved of them. The game's sounds are run-of-the-mill and far too quiet, but announcers Jon Miller and Joe Morgan do a decent job. Basically, the game feels merely functional - it's without any real sense of style or panache, as if there was no overarching goal in the game's presentation; just a sequence of serviceable models, renders and animations thrown together for the sake of functionality.
It's not that the game looks or sounds all that bad, but as a whole, it feels lifeless.
There are plenty of game modes to keep any gamer busy, and the game's depth is more than welcome. Both local and Internet play are available for online gaming, as well. I like the new pitching interface and how your hurler's confidence is affected by it, and the Inside Edge scouting system is well-implemented. Both are excellent additions.
The rest of the gameplay feels a bit stiff and awkward, and it performs inconsistently. Baserunning and fielding oddities will crop up (as Clay explained in his review), again removing the illusion that you're involved in a real baseball game.
Major League Baseball 2K6 isn't a terrible game, but it simply pales in comparison in every discernable way to Sony's MLB '06: The Show. A large part of that is a testament to the quality of Sony's effort, but make no mistake, 2K Sports has released better products than this, and as such, gamers should expect better. There are things to build upon here - especially the pitching interface and the Inside Edge scouting - but the graphics and atmosphere need significant attention, as does the overall gameplay.
Major League Baseball 2K6 makes solid contact at the plate, but in the end, it's a routine one-hopper to short.