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Springtime Fantasies

Category: Software Published on Monday, 02 March 2009

New games bring crack of the bat to armchair managers

Michael L. Berman's Blog
April 9
, 2007

Smell that????

It's Spring! Time to hear the crack of bat on ball. Time to hear calls of "goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllll" during a professional soccer match. The time when you get all of that sports equipment out of the closet and work off that extra 20 pounds you accumulated during the Winter hiatus.

Or, if you're a geek like I am and you can hit better, run faster and leave your opponents in the dust using a joystick rather than a big stick, you may want to check out a few of the tons of sports-releated games that have hit the shelves for the XBox 360, Playstation 2 or PSP.

Let's start with baseball:

These games have become more realistic this year with MLB07 The Show from Sony for the PSP and PS2 game consoles ($39.95) and Major League Baseball 2K7 from Kush Games and 2K Sports for the XBox 360 ($59.99) topping the list. Both ganes deliver great graphics and gameplay with a slight edge going to 2K Sports. The animaton is a bit smoother and more realistic, which is probably due to the more sophisticated graphics capabilities of the 360. But The Show boasts a bevy of new features that can't be found in other baseball games, including:

  • The Road to the Show, where players have to compete specific goals, including getting on bases, driving in runs, etc. Pitchers have their own set of goals.
  • Umpires have their "personal" strike zones, so they vary depending on who's behind the plate.
  • A new Pitch Command System gives pitchers patterns on how to attack hitters and they, of course, can break those patterns.
  • An up-to-the-minute Enhanced MLB Ticker that not only gives you scores of real games, but includes who's on base, who's pitching, who's batting and a full box score.
  • Dice K's Gyroball has been added to the pitch selection, but only for him.

Of course all the features you've come to expect from a baseball game are still there - - - animations exclusive to each player (including Sheffield's bat waggle), something called Adaptive Pitching Intelligence (which is also available in the 2K game) where catchers can relay batters' tendencies to the pitcher, and a speaker-busting soundtrack.

The changes found in Major League Baseball 2K7 are far more than cosmetic and were desinged to take advantage of the advanced capabilites of the XBox 360. They include:

  • Someting called Signature Style where tendencies and animations of 150 major players are duplicated to perfection.
  • Defensive play is a lot more realistic, based on who is at the plate.
  • A Dynamic Throwing System includes unique animations for many players.
  • You can track a team's finances, news, ticket prices,and "buzz".
  • You can play againt four friends online in franchise or season mode.
  • Umpires will have their own unique ways of calling games.
  • Managers can argue with umpires, with opponents taking control of the umpire during online games.
  • Increased use of force feedback.
  • Plus you can have batboys retreiving foul balls and fans snagging baseballs in the stands.

Whichever game you choose, armchair managers are guaranteed to have hours of fun, without breaking a leg or collapsing from exhauting running from home to first base.

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