Wednesday, August 08, 2007

VG Review: The Bigs

The Bigs
2K Sports, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Wii

$59.99 (PS3 and Xbox), $39.99 (PS2) and $49.99 (Wii).

There are two kinds of sports video games: the kind that attempt to simulate the sport in as much detail as possible, the better to replicate the feeling of being there, and those that head in the other direction, eschewing reality in favor of something more action-packed, testosterone-laden and, it should be noted, easier to play.

The new baseball game “The Bigs” plants itself firmly in the latter court. You can tell by looking at the virtual players, whose shoulders are so broad and muscles so ridiculously large you’ll wonder if they’ve been juicing in their off hours.

The goal of “The Bigs” is simple: to provide a stripped-down, pumped-up baseball game. To that end, you have a “turbo zone” that, when full, allows you to pull off impressive feats.

Fill it up when pitching by throwing strikes or making outs, for example, and you can deliver devastatingly speedy fastballs. Get men on base and don’t swing at bad pitches while batting, and you can hit home runs that smash off of the lights.

While pitching and batting are easy and intuitive, fielding is a bit confusing. It’s hard to figure out who you may be controlling when the ball is in the air, and those precious seconds are all your opponent needs to score a run.

Also disappointing is the lack of a franchise or season mode. Clearly, this is a game designed to be played in short bursts (most games only last five innings).

On the other hand, the Home Run Pinball section, where you can smash the lights out in New York City’s Times Square, is loads of fun, and the Rookie Challenge provides a good introduction to the game, as well as the chance to create a player from the ground up.

If you like baseball, but find most attempts to translate the game to a virtual environment dull, “The Bigs” might provide the thrills you’re looking for.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007


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