We can’t really see non-baseball fans getting excited over going nine-innings of any baseball simulation and the developers at 2K Sports surely know this, which is why MLB 2K12 is suited towards the baseball purist. However, the game is techy enough and features enough fun gameplay to attract a few average everyday gamers as well.

Although The Show boasts superior overall graphics, 2K12 has better stadium graphics. The details (even in the Spring Training and minor league ballparks) of the stadiums are very true to life. Player likenesses and animations are good as well, right down to batting stances and swing styles of various players. Not to mention the authentic game day presentation. Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips and John Kruk’s commentary makes it feel like you’re watching a game on television.

The realism that is present in 2K12 is great because it helps the title remain true to the sport without making it overly difficult. It can be complicated to master pitching, hitting, base running and fielding but staying competitive at each is not that hard on Pro and All-Star levels. 

The batting system for instance allows users to hit the ball to various parts of the field by using a combination of left and right sticks, which is how the game should be played. Power swinging is simplified (although it can lead to a lot of pop-outs and displays of warning track power with certain players). Even fouling pitches off is very easy. The multi-colored squares in the batters box also help tremendously as they tip off hitters to a pitchers tendencies throughout the game. 

When you’re on the mound, the tips and instructions will be your best friend until you get the hang of the right stick action. The computer will tell you when you’re doing well and when you’re about to throw something Mitch Williams worthy.  Users have to stay aware of pitch count and repetition. 2K has thrown in the Pitch Rating system to show when a particular pitch is losing or gaining effectiveness. These extras aren’t included just to be fancy, they are useful because throwing the same pitch or even different pitches to similar spots to the same batter over the course of the game will get your shit smacked on the regular. 

The throwing system has been changed a bit. It’s not just about chucking the ball to a particular base or the cut off man. There is a meter on the screen once you get the ball and depending on where you stop it, the throw can be wild and off target or right on point. This makes fielding harder but it does add a touch of accuracy.

The dopest new feature by far is the MLB Today Season Mode. As long and drawn out as baseball games have become, most of us don’t have time to finish a simulated season. This new feature lets users complete a season at the same pace as a real MLB team. If you’re a Yanks fan, you play when the Yanks play and you can compare stats and records with your virtual team, to the real life team.

The 2K Sports staple, My Player has also been enhanced as well, but not enough to warrant a whole bunch of praise. For those who play that area of the game, you will notice some changes in how players are rated based on their particular hitting style and position.

The Paper
We can’t mention MLB 2K12 without touching on the annual Perfect Game Challenge. This year’s iteration kicks off April 4. The top eight perfect game pitchers will get flown out to NYC to compete in a tourney for a shot at a cool million bucks.

What was once America’s favorite pass time has now become an acquired taste and the same can be said for its virtual cousin. If you love the sound of the ball makes when it hits that sweet spot on the bat or the smell of fresh grass on opening day then MLB 2K12 will get you hyped for opening day.