The Bigs 2 is a baseball arcade game from 2k Sports which features insane stunts and a bewildering array of mini games which when combined with the new features mean it should be a good improvement over the original which was released in June of 2007.
When Bigs was released it had a ‘Rookie Challenge’ mode and this time it is called ‘Become a Legend’. You start by creating a player who has been the victim of a serious injury the year before and you hit the Mexican League with the goal of making it back to the MLB. To do this you travel around a plethora of cities and countries taking part in many games.
Playing through the Become a Legend game you have to beat many Hall Of Famers to ensure you get into the Hall yourself. To complicate matters, simply winning the games doesn’t always mean you progress as the game can set specific goals for you to complete to get further. These scenarios can be troublesome in that some of the requirements rely on the AI team to set you up with the required conditions to achieve your goal.
The mini games are a huge addition to the sequel such as completing the Legendary Catch which means you have to hit specific buttons in a desired sequence, hold down one for a specific amount of time then balance a ball on a beam when you are hunched over a railing so you make the needed catch on the outfield. Other mini games include statistical improvements which mean they will appear every so often through your career and if you do well they improve your statistics in the given area. Some of the design elements are weird however because you are required at times to do the most ludicrous things, such as running on top of a roof. There is a good argument that these should really have never made it to the game because improving them naturally over time would seem more realistic to me than being subjected to an array of silly mini games.
There are also some changes to the main gameplay in that there is a wheel style indicator on every batter and if you are pitching this is the area you need to stay away from. This red zone is an area where the batters will be able to hit dangerously long and cause you the most problems.
The AI is a little poor especially on the default setting and batters don’t seem to adapt to specific throws which means if you can hit to a weak spot you can generally just keep doing it without any fear of the batters causing you problems. Those with eagle eyes will see that the ball can really only be hit in around 20-25 directions which means they are set up via placement and direction rather than a truly interactive physics and weather system. It does appear as if I am being overly critical but you will notice the ball taking the same trajectories after playing it for a few hours.
Negatives aside the Bigs 2 is still a great game to play because it focuses more on the fun elements rather than being a bogged down simulation. You are not tied to the career mode and if you fancy a single game with a friend there are options to keep you happy. You can even take part in a season with the club of your choosing if you find this more rewarding. The turbo mode makes a reappearance and by hitting a button you can crash into the catcher to hopefully knock the ball loose for a dramatic finish to a run.
The Bigs 2 has other aspects to keep you amused because it really comes into its own when you sit down with a buddy to play. The online experience is rather spartan but it works well with little lag to mention and there are ranked and unranked games to choose from.
Graphically, the game is much like before with some slight improvements to the faces and animations. The players are now more expressive and show emotions during critical plays, such as frustration and anger.
The audio is not impressive as I found it jarring with repetitive commentary becoming frequently annoying. The soundtrack is also a stereotypical rock montage from the 1980’s which sounds like a reject Bon Jovi. Sound effects are loud and colourful however they also failed to impress me on any significant level.
The Bigs 2 while not perfect is a significant improvement over the last one and it delivers enough fun to make it a party favourite with friends. If you aren’t a baseball fan then this will not change your view, but if this is one of your key sports then I suggest you check it out.
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