Rating: 4 Pulses
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1 – 4
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Blue Castle
ESRB Rating: T
I’m not really into baseball video games (other than Wii Baseball of course), but when I heard 2K Games had pulled the NBA Street treatment on MLB, I had to see what was up. Man, was I blown away by the fast-paced arcade style and was even more blown away by the huge home runs.
The BIGS uses a unique strategy by giving teams a turbo meter, which fills up when you are both hitting and pitching. Get a single, double or triple and you’ll see your turbo meter boost. Hit a home run and it’ll boost even more. On the other side of the ball, every time you get a strike while pitching or catching a fly ball your meter will fill up. Just like getting a home run, striking out a player will boost your meter way up.
Now using your turbo meter at the right moment is a key strategy in the game. While hitting, if you use one of your turbo bursts your batter’s abilities will be enhanced, usually always hitting the ball. Using one of your turbo bursts while pitching will do the same thing, which usual has the batter swinging at nothing but air. Here is where the real strategy kicks in. If one player uses his turbo burst at the plate, the other can use his turbo boost while pitching to even the match up.
Both hitting and pitching are equally fun in The BIGS. While hitting, you can make contact with the ball with a regular swing or a power swing that will be aiming for the stands. The pitching is a little bit more intriguing because it involves more timing. A pitching meter will pop up and you have to hold the button until the meter fills. If the meter lands in the green or you get a perfect pitch, you’re almost guaranteed a strike, well unless you’re opponent is using a turbo burst. If your pitching meter lands in the red, the batter is more than likely going to hit the ball, unless your opponent really sucks.
The BIGS doesn’t have a traditional season mode, but there’s a rookie challenge that allows gamers to create their own player and try to lead him and his team to the World Series. You’ll get through spring training, which is a bunch of fun mini-games, and then get into the real season. The single-player mode is fun for awhile, but once you’re done with that you’ll be hopping online to play or inviting some friends over to join the game.
Besides some of the lousy outfield controls and the weird base-running scheme, The BIGS is one of the year’s best baseball games, even with its arcade feel. The annual simulation baseball games and their slow-paced gameplay can get quite old, so its nice to see a baseball game that can stay fresh and keep my attention. The BIGS is definitely an all-star selection.