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This chapter is from the book

MLB 2006 Versus MLB 2K5: Baseball’s Best of the Rest

Genre: Second-Tier Console Baseball Publisher: Sony/2K Games Developer: 989 Sports/Kush Games Platform: PS2/PS2, Xbox Metacritic Metascore: 81/81

The reason I’m lumping these games together is because you should get a really good look at them. They are most likely the only Major League Baseball–licensed games to be available for the 2006 season unless Nintendo actually decides to release its own game this decade or Microsoft decides to dust off the High Heat Baseball franchise it purchased on the cheap and then left to feste. (I’m planning to retrieve this code Mission: Impossible style as soon as possible.) MVP Baseball from EA Sports was clearly the best baseball game of 2005, and even though it will have a 2006 college game on the horizon, EA is on the outside in terms of Major League Baseball.

MLB 2006—A Step Closer

When I of think 989 Sports, I usually don’t think "superb sports simulations." Nothing against the company or Sony for that matter, but the company’s track record is that of really bad sports games. That can no longer be said of its baseball franchise, though. MLB 2006 was close—agonizingly close to being an excellent baseball game. It’s not as good as MVP 2005, but this is a game worth paying attention to and I can’t wait to see what MLB 2007 looks like. That said, there are vital issues that simply must be fixed. MLB 2006’s gratuitous anomalies include

  • You can force out runners at third base on throws from left field.
  • The CPU AI refuses to try a sacrifice bunt.
  • The AI lets a pitcher bat in the bottom of the seventh inning and then pulls him at the start of the eighth.
  • Too many balls that reach the wall end up as singles.
  • As in most baseball games, drawing and issuing a walk is a rare thing. (A major peeve of mine.)

Major League Baseball 2K5—Call the Orkin Man

Wildly favorable reviews made MLB 2K5 the most overrated sports game of 2005. The game is a bug-riddled mess. Wild pitches and passed balls cause complete havoc, statistical bugs award left-fielders wins rather than pitchers, there are more line drive outs than grounders, and the fielding camera is the worst in the business and cannot be changed. There are bugs in the player creation system, bugs during night games, play-by-play sound bugs, broken pitcher fatigue, and on and on.

I loved the 2K4 version of this series, but anyone who thinks that 2K5 was anything but a major step backward due to the incompleteness of the game is just not paying attention.

The PSP version of MLB 2006 is one of the best early PSP releases around. It’s definitely worth checking out.

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