MLB 2K13 is the only baseball video game available on the Xbox 360 this year, and developer Take Two Interactive seems to have taken advantage of that fact by being extremely lazy.

There is virtually no innovation in this year’s installment, in fact, the game seems to take a step back.

Game Modes

My personal favorite game mode in any sports game is the franchise mode. To me, there is nothing better than taking control of your favorite team and really doing everything you would like to see the organization do in real life.

There is the exact same amount of control in this game as was present in MLB 2K12, in fact, the whole game is basically the same. All of the same options in the same game modes are there, except for online leagues, which incidentally was my second favorite game mode last year. “Why would you, as a developer, take out one of the reasons this game was so popular?” I asked myself when I noticed the absence. I honestly have yet to figure out a reason other than the lack of competition in baseball games on the system.

There was a single additional game mode added this year, which is called MLB Today Season. It allows you to play along with the real MLB schedule every day including real injuries. This will be a feature to watch, but certainly does not make up for the loss of online leagues in my opinion.

AI

While Take Two did not touch the game modes at all, they definitely tweaked the computer controlled AI this time around. Most of the tweaking has been for the better, with opposing managers making better substitutions and pinch-hitters at the right times, but some of it has made for some unbelievable reaction plays by guys with low ratings. For instance, first baseman Mitch Moreland of the Rangers made three split-second leaping catches on screaming line drives that were in the base coach’s box. That’s three ripped off outs that I could have used to extend my lead.

Presentation

This is carried over from the last year, so I will not spend a lot of time on it. Player’s pictures are even carried over, with Nate McClouth still having a Pirates’ hat on for some reason in his headshot, even though he played for the Orioles for much of last season and is still in Baltimore.

Apart from that the in-game presentation, with the commentators and players stepping out of the batter’s box and taking practice swings, can be nice but it all gets repetitive. I found myself jamming the A button to get to the next pitch fairly quickly, which didn’t stop the commentators from telling me how Nick Markakis had so many injury problems last year.

Audio

I already mentioned how the commentary can be repetitive, but I do appreciate how relevant it is. Soundtrack wise, I’m actually very fond of the indie-heavy track list, but I’m not sure all baseball fans will be in the same boat.

Graphics

I’m pretty sure that these are still the same graphics from MLB 2K10, and if they aren’t I can’t tell. Animations are still just as choppy, pitching wind-ups are not fluid at all, and even the swing analyzer makes it look like a batter is pausing every millisecond.

Final Comments

This game is so recycled that it hardly deserves its own review. A simple ML 2K12 copy and pasted review with a couple of updates would have sufficed. This game is a slap in the face to all MLB fans that only own an Xbox 360. It’s too bad that they can’t pick up MLB 13: The Show, instead they are stuck paying $60 for what is essentially a roster update. Players might be better off making the changes themselves within last year’s entry to the series considering they are almost identical. Being playable and slightly enjoyable are the only two things that this game has going for it.

grade_cminus

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