DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER/PLATFORMS: 2K Sports/Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Windows
FUN FACT: 2K Sports is giving $1 million to the first person to throw a perfect game.
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT:
It's America's pastime! What are you, a terrorist? After last year's somewhat lackluster 2K9, 2K10 is a big step up, with improved gameplay and simulation options. And with fantasy baseball on deck, it's a great way to prepare yourself for the upcoming season.
If you didn't play 2K9, some of the batting and pitching might be a little tricky to pick up at first. Thankfully, 2K Sports added a Drills feature in this year's version. You can get acclimated and test your chops in hitting, pitching and fielding. Pitching is the easiest to master, as each pitch has a unique control with the RS. Hitting is a little tougher to get used to though. Gone are the times of Sega Genesis where you can hit a homer with a simple button. Each type of swing has its own control with the RS — as well as the directional control with the LS. Once you get used to the timing though it's much, much easier...
The newest (and coolest) improvement over 2K9 is the My Player option. Unlike most sports games, in which you can create your own player and play as him to cultivate a career, 2K10 makes the process that much better by boiling your career down to its key moments. You start in the minors—but instead of playing a full game, you only play your own at-bats and a handful of fielding plays. Each scenario goes down with specific goals in mind, and your player is rewarded with points for successful play. The more points you acquire, the better your stats are and the faster you move to the bigs. By distilling the seasons, the game keeps your interest and moves at a steady clip.
Also new to 2K10 is John Kruk with the color commentary. Each game sounds custom and his dialogue feels natural—there are even lines where he messes up mid-sentence. It's those types of little details that help give it a sense of authenticity.
GRAPHICS: The ballparks and uniforms look great. Even the names on the back of uniforms adjust when players move. And in keeping with current sports-title standards, the headlining characters have their own distinctive styles that are true to life. As amazingly accurate as the swings and pitch styles are, though, some of the players' facial modeling are waaaaay off. THAT'S what Tony LaRussa is supposed to look like? Fuck outta here.
While all the key components work, when they're all working in concert the gameplay still feels a bit off. The game is slightly glitchy—even playing with a retail build of the game, I had two games freeze out and had the audio drop out of another. It's more than suitable for casual play, but over extended periods of time it became noticeable. Also, and maybe this is just us, the only rap song in the game soundtrack is "Rapper's Delight," which is just kinda weird. Especially when they bleep out the line "if your girl starts actin' up, then you take her friend." (Say what?) Regardless, 2K10 shows that the franchise isn't willing to just roll over for the Sony-exclusive MLB The Show series (ayo!). And if their success in the NBA arena is any indication, they won't rest until they're on top.