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The Bigs 2 Review

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Developer: Blue Castle Games Publisher: 2K Sports
Release Date: July 7, 2009 Available On: PS3, Wii and Xbox 360

If you are like me, you firmly believe that sports games have gone the way of the World War II first person shooter: way too many of them, with too little variation. Enter The Bigs 2, a fast paced arcade-styled baseball game with a pretty promising concept, but a less than stellar delivery. Unfortunately, this game will be pushed back into my memory, only to be brought up when a customer asks me about it at my “real life” job. At which point, I’ll probably just refer them to this review.

Upon inserting The Bigs 2 into your respective system (for this review, a Xbox 360), and the developer/publisher screens move by, all of the energetic music and cool menu sounds start getting the ol’ man-with-sports adrenaline pumping in your bloodstream, and you start thinking “Alright! I’m in for an awesome ride!”. This is true… for about 3 hours. Once you get past the rather difficult learning curve, the (seemingly) cheating A.I., and the very repetitive announcing, The Bigs 2 does not have a whole lot to offer that its predecessor didn’t already cover.

The core game can be really fun, in short bursts. The only easy thing about the game are the controls. Simple one button commands for the different motions means you can pick up everything quickly without complex stick movements like other baseball games. 2K really tried to make the game easy to play, but when they added the A.I., it pretty much kills any chance of being skilled in any short amount of time. Playing against the computer is incredibly annoying. Really the only way to fully enjoy playing the game is with friends so that the special moves and such aren’t taken advantage of.

Let me elaborate. Different players have the ability to perform cool, gravity and reality defying moves in order to pull off miraculous plays. Legendary catches, which are perhaps the most annoying and frustrating, are triggered with button combinations and “held” buttons (meaning you hold the button until the circle hits a certain spot and release), and can rob you of homeruns and even regular base hits. I realize this is what separates The Bigs from other sports franchises, but when in action against the A.I., it only makes you want to stop playing. Other moves include “no doubt homers” meaning if you step up to the plate and hit the ball, you have a guaranteed homerun, and also other specific position related moves that just keep adding to the difficulty of the game. These are fun to use, but when used against you every single time by an unfailing A.I. (while you can fail the moves quite easily), you will probably have more fun using the disc as a Frisbee.

On a more positive note, the game looks and sounds great. The soundtrack gives the game a nice “in your face” punch that wakes you up and gets you ready to hit things with bands like Pantera and Disturbed. Apart from that, the actual baseball sounds in the game give you that “I’m in the park” feeling, and has a funnier (and more repetitive) announcer than other baseball games. The graphics are definitely more polished than the last iteration and while very arcade-y, they are still very pleasing to the eye. The players are a bit more beefed up and when balls are hit/thrown especially hard there is a meteor-like tail that really gives the look of over-the-top speed.

There are plenty of game modes to choose from. Homerun pinball is (literally) a blast for a little while, then it gets a bit old and repetitive. My only gripe is with the career mode. It’s the same as a season mode, only with somewhat of a story. You create a player with a surprisingly shallow creation mode. There are very few options with unlockables and the unlockables are so generic and boring that it is not even worth the challenges to get them. There is online multiplayer for which I had problems with lag and glitches. I definitely had more fun with local multiplayer with friends that were as skilled as me, which is not too skilled. To be quite honest, I don’t think there is any “skill” to this game, just luck.

The premise of the career mode, is that you are an injured major leaguer, making his way back to the top via the imaginary Mexican league. It’s interesting, but gets annoying after a while with all of the different challenges you have to do in order to unlock the next game tier. Your player is upgradeable, but it takes a long time, and you get tired of playing long before it starts paying off. There is also a regular season mode, so if you want to take the arcade counterpart of your favorite team all the way to the World Series, this is the best option to do so, because the career mode won’t let you off so easily.

The Bigs 2 is a fun game for a little while, but the constant insanity of the A.I. and their invulnerable skill level gets old after a few hours. The different game modes give the game a decent amount of replay value, but you will not be coming back for long. I can only truthfully say that The Bigs 2 is worth a rental. Depending on your level of baseball fanaticism, it may be with the now $40 dollars (at time of review) if you want a quick pick-up-and-play sports game. I did enjoy it for a little while, but overall the game is pretty forgettable.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 7.3
Written by Evan Wilson Write a User Review