With summer getting into full swing, it’s time to step back and take a look at this year’s baseball titles and where to go moving forward. Over the next several weeks I’ll be taking a look at both titles (2K10 and The Show) and presenting wishlists, for next year’s versions. These lists will comprise of ideas found throughout the sports gaming community as well as my own ideas of how to get the most out of the titles. The initial batch of lists will focus on this year’s most improved title (and the only one available for the 360); MLB 2K10.
- Improved AI: This goes for all gameplay. Taking a pitcher out with two out in the bottom of the 9th after pitching 8 2/3 scoreless? Have a pitcher stay in for 140 pitches? Improving how the AI handles these situations and countless other will be a key to improving the overall experience in “My Player”.
- Add "minor" details: I will admit that this may be a personal preference but I don’t think that the “My Player” mode does enough to replicate the experience of baseball players in regards to progress through the system. It certainly seems that the mode is aimed at getting each player to the “Bigs” as soon as possible, usually within the first year. However, it just doesn’t happen that way in 99% of cases. Make users earn their spot on MLB rosters and make them progress through the system through promotions and demotions. This is often one of the most noticeable differences between baseball and other sports in that rookies rarely make an impact right away and "My Player” should be true to that distinction.
- Offseason progression: Players tend to get better during the offseason (at least most do). Give users the ability to get better at certain aspects of their game throughout the offseason through the use of “practice sessions” or “drills”. If your second baseman is hitting for average but hasn't seen much progress in getting extra-base hits, have certain drills designated for working on power. Have picthers develop new pitches or work on honing the ones that they already have. Offseason is a great time to improve and hone skills, so let's see that happen in the virtual world as well.
- A little love for the other guys: While the emphasis is on the user controlled player, the fact that all of the other players looks terrible on the field just makes things weird. This is most apparent during the postgame clips. Give a little love to the other players on the field and the mode will be just a little more pleasing.
- Switch up uniforms: In today’s MLB it seems like each team carries at least three uniforms, if not more. However, these uniforms are rarely seen in “My Player” mode. Users should be able to choose which uniform they will be wearing for each game just to keep things fresh at the very least.
- Take it online: For next-gen consoles, online play is a huge selling point. It would be fantastic to take these players online in some way, shape or form. In the very least, as a way to compare yourself to other players but what is really exciting is the idea of online multiplayer. It would be great to have “club” teams play against each other or even in a “play now” type of scenario. It may be a long shot, but would go a long way in extending the life of the mode.
- Injuries: Injuries are part of the game, so, they should be part of the game. It’s unfortunate, but it happens, especially when pitchers throw a ridiculous amount of innings/pitches. Have it controlled via a “durability” attribute which can be improved throughout the year. It may be annoying for some, but it will add an additional level of realism to the mode.
- More options for fielding: Much like baserunning, fielding feels a little dull. More optins for fielders would be a much welcomed addition. Catchers calling games, middle infielders participating in double play balls (whether they are starting, or turning the DP), etc. Also, if users have an option to assume a greater role in fielding, their player could receive additional attribute points for backing up plays, being able to cut off throws, or trailing runners. Any way to get more excitement out of the fielding experience would go a long way.
- Getting “drafted”: I love the idea of getting “drafted” by a team, without any say in where you go. However, the system currently in place is not really like being drafted in that users can eventually just choose to have another random team selected. Also, the process should in some ways be facilitated by need. If I am a 22 year old pitcher with decent stuff, I’d imagine the Giants would probably not be the first ones waiting to draft me, whereas a squad like the Indians could use some pitching depth.
- Improve baserunning: This could be as simple as providing users with more options in regards to running the bases. While it’s part of the game, it is easily the most boring and redundant aspect of “My Player” mode. Users should have the option to wait through every pitch, only balls in play/steal or turn it off altogether. Similarly, some of the aspects of baserunning are a bit funny, especially with the CPU making pick-off moves to second. If issues such as this are tuned or fixed, running the bases may not only feel smoother but also play quicker.
- Customization: This is always a big push when dealing with single player, RPG inspired modes. The more customization that can be provided the better. Extra gloves, sunglasses, batting gloves, cleats, everything. In a lot of ways, there can never be too many options when it comes to customizing your player.
MLB 2K10 is available for all systems and is now avilable throughout the Boston area.
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