Posts Tagged ‘Baseball Stars’

MLB 2K11 First Impressions

In case you didn’t already know, we’re huge baseball fans here at We’re also pretty passionate video game enthusiasts. With that said, every spring, we’re not just craving baseball, but we’re also anxiously awaiting the annual release from the MLB 2K series. Since the demo was available this morning on XBox Live, I am now prepared to give my first impressions of this year’s game.

Before we get into 2K11, I think some background is in order. I’ve been playing baseball video games dating back to the early 1980s on the Atari system. So without further ado, you get a bonus in this blog: My Top 10 Baseball Video Games

  2. MLB 2K8, XBOX 360, 2008
  3. MVP BASEBALL, PS2, 2005
  4. BASES LOADED, NES, 1988
  5. HARDBALL, C64, 1985
  7. HARDBALL 5, PC, 1996
  9. R.B.I. BASEBALL, NES, 1987
  10. ALL STAR BASEBALL 2005, XBOX, 2004

Yeah, Kev would say it’s blasphemous that I ranked RBI Baseball so low on my list. It was groundbreaking because it was the first NES game to use real players, but I preferred playing all the ones ranked ahead of it for one reason or another.

So here’s the quick and dirty review.

It doesn’t exactly knock my socks off.


From the demo, it’s just “meh.” If the actual game allows, I’ll probably get a different camera. I just never really got into that “catcher’s perspective” view that World Series Baseball introduced in the mid 90s. If I can change that, maybe I can just go with the standard broadcast, behind-the-pitcher view. The analog hitting controls don’t really do much for me either, so I’m switching to basic which lets me time the swing better. It seems to eliminate the power swing — not sure if that means anything. Maybe it just hits home runs if you time a pitch perfectly, with the right hitter, in the right situation? Whatever. Hitting seems to be OK on the surface, I guess. I’d need to play with it some more and see how the results turn out.


The analog pitching is complete crap. The pitch selection, followed by the gesture is so dumb. Why not one or the other? I won’t really hold this against them though because it lets you switch back to classic controls very easily, and those work just fine.


I’ll hand it to them on this. The fielding felt like it was much improved. It also allows for analog or classic controls on the throwing. My preference was actually the analog here. Kudos, 2K, you got something right.


I’m not even talking about frame rate or any of that here (though that seems pretty smooth to be honest). What I want is to be able to skip all the worthless cut scenes and random nonsense that prevents me from completing a game in 15-20 minutes. The Demo does a good job of letting you skip in between pitches with a tap of the A button. However, the rest of it seems to take a bit too long for my taste. I want to move along as fast as possible after each pitch/play/inning. In previous years, they had some sort of “hurry-up” mode. That was a great idea, but I just remember that it prevented me from seeing any sort of statistics during the game. Just because I want to get through games quickly doesn’t mean I don’t want to know the pitcher’s ERA and the hitter’s batting average. I guess we’ll see about these options once the game is officially released and people can really test it all out.


This is all still unanswered, and it’s a critical component. For some reason, year after year, they can never get this aspect right. Here’s what we want: ONLINE FRANCHISE WITH A MIX OF CPU & HUMAN PLAYERS. Why is that such a difficult program to implement? Oh, yeah, we also want online play to actually work — not some laggy, buggy mess. The ability to condense the league and shorten the schedule would be tremendous as well. This stuff seems so simple to add, yet they avoid it and keep coming up with crappy Home Run Derby modes that aren’t even any fun.


I’m still on the fence. Will I buy it? I probably will because I don’t have any other options. They have the exclusive MLB license on Xbox 360, so my only alternative would be to purchase a PS3 for MLB 11 The Show (which I hear is terrific). I guess that’s an option, but my preference is to avoid stacking dozens of electronic devices that cost hundreds of dollars, ya know? It is what it is.

Gord Tep’s Top 10 All-Time Video Games

This is by no means a definitive list of the greatest games in the history of the universe. It’s just a list of my favorites.

Honorable Mentions: NHL Open Ice (Arcade), Gears of War 2 (XBox 360), River City Ransom (NES), Sonic 1 (Genesis), USA Basketball (Genesis), Smackdown vs. Raw (PS2), Fight Night Round 3 (XBox 360), Legend of Zelda (NES), Superman (Atari), UFC Undisputed 2009 (XBox 360)

tecmobowl10. Tecmo Super Bowl (NES, 1991)
Before EA and Madden monopolized the NFL genre, there was Tecmo. It had the real teams, the real players, and the ability to play a full season with stats. I’ve never even been a big football guy, but I still loved this game.

gi-joe_-_joe_command9. G.I. Joe (Commodore 64, 1985)
Most have never even heard of this game, but I have very fond memories of this one. A two-sided disk was required to hold this graphical monster. For some reason I recall the character selection screens featuring top names form both G.I. Joe and Cobra, including Zartan and Destro, among others.

7thguest8. 7th Guest (PC, 1993)
What an awesome game! In the early Pentium and CD-Rom days, this game was king. There were countless unique, hard-to-solve puzzles and a pretty cool story. It was sort of like Clue in a haunted house, with a whole slew of brain games.

nhl_'957. NHL ’95 (Genesis, 1994)
An NHL game was bound to make this list. I chose ’95 because it was revolutionary in that it was the first to track statistics, hand out year-end-awards, etc. It took the greatness that everybody remembers of ’94 and upped it several notches.

punchout16. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (NES, 1987)
From Glass Joe all the way to Kid Dynamite, this game was pure fun. Everybody who ever owned a Nintendo had to love this game. I can still remember the excitement I felt the first time I knocked out Iron Mike. Give him a call at 007-373-5963.

claudia_400_2905. WWF No Mercy (N64, 2000)
WrestleMania 2000 was great, No Mercy was better. The best gameplay in any wrestling game, bar none, with a phenomenal create-a-wrestler engine. Kev and I spent countless hours playing this one in college. His Bob Backlund creation is legendary.

cyoh4. Baseball Stars (NES, 1989)
This is what a baseball game is supposed to be. Creating players and powering up their stats to reflect real-life counterparts was a blast. My brother and I played season after season in this game, and it never got old– excellent controls and graphics. Amazingly, this game still holds up pretty well 20 years later.

shot113. Star Wars (Arcade, 1983)
I can remember playing this one in the arcades and feeling as if I was actually flying an X-Wing through the death star trench. The cockpit style machine matched with the vector graphics made this one of the coolest video game experiences ever.

Tenta-in-Wrestlefest2. WrestleFest (Arcade, 1991)
Whether you’re playing the Royal Rumble or Saturday Night’s Main Event tag team matches, WrestleFest delivered in every way imaginable. My favorite characters in this game were Mr. Perfect and The Earthquake, but all of them were cool. I got so good that I could beat it on a single quarter– approximately 15 minutes of playtime. It seems like just yesterday I was playing this at the Caribbean Beach resort in between trips to Epcot and MGM Studios.

gta-iv11. GTA IV (XBox 360, 2008)
Simply put, this game is a masterpiece. It’s the most entertaining and complete experience of any video game ever made. Liberty City feels so incredibly real. Driving around, not even worrying about advancing the story or playing the side missions, is remarkable. Throw in tremendous characters, storylines, dialogue, etc. I am not one for long games, nor am I usually willing to put the necessary time in required to beat a game. However, with GTA, every hour was enjoyable. Even after beating the game, I went on to finish the Lost and Damned add-on which was a great game in and of itself. If you haven’t played Grand Theft Auto IV, you must.

Switch to our mobile site