After spending a quick few games playing the 3-inning demo for MLB 2K9, I have a few impressions. Obviously the final build of the game could vary from the demo, so please allow my take some slack.
- Hitting. The timing and the realism of how the ball plays off the bat is much improved over last year. I was pleased with the difficulty level and ability to read the pitch out of the pitchers hand. Being able to pull the pitch to a grounder or fly ball is also a good thing. Borrowing from MVP 2005 is a good thing, 2K!
- Pitching. Gone is the ridiculous "process" of performing a pitch. While pitching isn't a breeze, it's much better in 2K9.
- The crowd. This game, by far, has the most realistic and seemless crowd movements and reactions. Bravo for paying attention to this detail - it really adds to the presentation.
- Commentating and sound. The addition of Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips is a much needed breath of fresh air. Gary is, in my opinion, one of the best and natural voices for video game commentating, and Phillips does a decent job of filling in the dead space. The sound effects of bat and balls, along with the crowd, were fairly accurate...
- Presentation. This year, the cutscenes have been removed and the game flows in real time. Even when skipping ahead, it seems natural and moves at a very smooth pace. The game has a better "broadcast" feel than I've ever seen in a video game.
- Framerate. The game looks great and runs smooth...but will it do so when replays and celebrations are included?
- Fielding. I was a little perplexed that I couldn't control my outfielders as well as I'd like. A couple times a fly ball landed right next to my player...as if he wasn't standing underneath it. This is something that might be easily adjusted in the final build, or could be changed with a slider or setting.
- Tags. Several times when trying to apply a tag, the runner ran right through my player, and no tag was applied. Annoying.
- Replays - It's only a demo, but it didn't have replays or cutaways of big moments...wish this could have been included in the demo.
- Control scheme. The demo doesn't give the player any idea on how to steal, dive, slide, etc. Really confusing why this wasn't included.
- Will framerate and game flow be helped by downloading the game to the 360 hard drive? Hopefully.
- Will there be more stadiums and unlockables this year? I'd love to see more uniforms added.
- Will the minigames affect your team and/or players throughout the season or in the offseason?