The Bigs 2
Baseball isn’t exactly the most favorite sports over here, let alone in the rest of Europe. Still 2K Sports has decided to release The Bigs 2 here. Those expecting a simulation of America’s biggest waste of time will be stunned. The game is more a collection of Quicktime events, meters where timing is central and tons of minigames. Will 2K Games be able to create a hype in our soccer-loving country or will it be a strike-out?
Everyone probably has played a game of baseball at school during gym class which should mean you’re at least lightly familiar with the rules, but for those that don’t know them, we’ll briefly explain. As in most sports everything happens in two teams, consisting out of nine players that want to get as many points as possible. One team is spread out over the field to catch while the other has to hit the ball. The batter needs to hit a ball that’s thrown at him as good as possible but the pitcher from the other team has multiple throws at his disposal to make the batter’s life miserable. Once the batter succeeds in hitting the ball he has to run past as many bases as possible. If he manages to get to homebase the team scores a point. Each batter has three attempts before he’s out. If three batters miss or aren’t capable of taking a base then the teams have to change position and everything starts all over again. It may sound complicated at first but once you start playing you notice a manual isn’t necessary.
As said before, The Bigs 2 isn’t a simulation but rather an arcade version combined with super powers. Those that have ever played NBA Street will immediately know what I’m talking about. Still you can play a full season with your favorite team in Season Mode or create your own character in Become a Legend. Here you play as an injured player who only can play in the Mexican leagues when he returns. Soon it becomes clear you’re completely fit and can return to the MLB to play with the big boys.
The most fun mode that returns from the first game is Homerun Pinball. Your batter gets placed on a known “venue” or place, like Times Square New York, where you have to smash as much billboards as possible. The mode is especially addictive thanks to the online scoreboard, but also fun to play together with friends on the sofa.
The controls are easy for anyone as you just have to push the corresponding button which is shown on screen. To pitch you for instance have to aim in a square with the analog stick and choose one of the four throws that are linked with the face buttons. Vice versa for the batter but here you choose direction and type of hit. Each player has his own stats that get shown with up to five stars or a “Legendary” status. However, it’s not because your curveball is legendary that you’re invincible. If the other player manages to hit it, there’s a big possibility that you lose a certain throw. Catching the balls by the field players is done by standing under the ball’s trajectory. People with a legendary status can also catch the more difficult balls. This is done by pushing the corresponding button and then succesfully going through the Quick-time event. If you succeed in this you get a ton of bonus points. Next to catching you can also gain points by taking bases, stealing bases, strike-outs, home-runs and all other things specific to this sport. These points fill a meter at the top of the screen and once full you can do a Big Slam which results in a guaranteed homerun. When you’re pitching you can do a Big Heat but it seems better to wait for that homerun so you can score more points.
It all seems a bit unrealistic with all these super powers and special jumps to catch the ball, but it does make the whole a pleasant game. Especially with multiple players the game surprises pleasantly. Certainly the minigames in Become a Legend are fun to play with two and those that don’t have friends can still go online for some baseball. The modes are a bit limited but are enough for a quick game. A full season or Career Mode could offer more but we prefer some decently playable modes instead of a ton of half-finished stuff.
Visually the game doesn’t perform bad. There are a number of better-looking sports games out there but all in all we can’t complain. Especially the characters are well worked out, contain a lot of detail and perfectly show their emotions through their face. The biggest downpoint, however, is that the stadium looks quite static and the grass is even a bit awkward. The audio is a bit less, the music consists of rock tracks from back in the days and the commentary becomes very repetitive very quickly.
The Bigs 2 is difficult to compare with the competition as there are hardly any equal games in our region. The Become a Legend and Season mode are a bit short but the others do offer the necessary replayability. Especially with two players on the sofa you can enjoy hours of gameplay and eventhough it’s not a realistic interpretation of the spot, it will certainly appeal to the (few) baseball fans over here. And you certainly don’t have to let it remain in the store for the price as €30 isn’t much and in some online shops you can already find it for about half that amount which is a bargain.