Is the third time the charm for 2K Sports' baseball series on Wii?
Major League Baseball 2K10 is 2K Sports' third iteration of the series on Wii, and it appears to have changed very little since the debut 2008 edition. For those that enjoyed the previous games, this should be good news if you're simply looking for a roster update. For people who didn't enjoy the past two entries or have missed the series up until now, this might be horrible news.
To begin, the game is a visual mess. The character models are barely recognizable, with all sorts of unflattering jagged edges, and a majority of the animations look unnatural and occasionally inhuman. The framerate suffers at times as well, which is puzzling because the game's graphics remind me of an early PlayStation 2 baseball game.
Luckily, the hitting and pitching controls survive the miserable graphics. The hitting is simple, with a Wii Remote shake representing a swing, and the Wii Remote and Nunchuk buttons modifying it. The motion is supposed to be a real swing of the Wii Remote, but due to the imprecision of the motion controls, you can just flick your wrist. Still, hitting is fun even though the "baseball swing" of it is optional.
The pitching controls are the highlight of the game, and they succeed by replicating Mario Super Sluggers' pitching controls and adding more depth to the concept. You can select pitches with the analog stick on the Nunchuk as you point the Wii Remote at the screen to select your location. When you're ready, you hold down the B button, flick the Wii Remote up, wait for the circle to close around a specific location, and then flick it down. It works extremely well, and is reminiscent of the pitching mechanics of conventionally controlled baseball games.
The rest of the controls have their ups and downs. The overall issue with the controls is the fact that any gesture-related motion is unspecific. For example, you can shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to give a baserunner a boost, but if you do it near a base, it'll usually initiate a slide as well, which is supposed to be performed by thrusting the two controllers. Additionally, when you're fielding, you better make sure the Nunchuk is held in the upright and locked position, because if you're holding it on its side your fielder will endlessly perform the dive maneuver, which is supposed to be performed by thrusting the Nunchuk.
The game modes are exactly what you would expect in a baseball game, with modes such as Exhibition, Season, Franchise, and Home Run Derby. You'll likely spend the bulk of your time in Franchise mode, the most in-depth of them all. There's no online component to Major League Baseball 2K10, which makes the act of updating rosters a Herculean feat, and also limits the longevity of the game.
Major League Baseball 2K10 is a passable but relatively poor attempt at a Wii baseball game. With dodgy controls and horrendous graphics, it's an experience that only the bravest baseball fans should attempt to endure. If you're looking for a realistic baseball experience, you're better off going after the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of this title. If you're looking for a light-hearted baseball experience with motion controls, Mario Super Sluggers or MLB Power Pros might be more up your alley.