A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a sports simulation based on Major League Baseball. Players control their favorite teams for individual games, and can even guide them through an entire season. Pepsi and State Farm are big sponsors of the game, and their ads are visible in every stadium. The game is also playable online, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for children under the age of 12.
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What's it about?
While Major League Baseball teams prepare for the start of the season, video game players can get a head start with the release of MLB video games. One of those titles, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2K9, returns with simplified controls and a solid baseball experience overall. Players take control of their favorite MLB team and lead them to victory in exhibition games, or guide them through entire seasons. Franchise Mode allows players to manage teams more closely, performing tasks such as signing and trading players.
The controls have been simplified to make pitching and hitting easier. The three-step pitching process from last year's game has decreased to two. Pitches are thrown by executing a series of moves with the right analog stick. For example, to throw a slider, a player pushes the stick to the left then makes a half-circle motion toward the right. When hitting the ball, players simply pull back on the right analog stick and push up. Major League Baseball 2K9 also introduces Living Rosters, an online feature that provides daily updates to the game's rosters based off real-world events. So if a player gets hurt, his virtual version will be injured in the game.
Is it any good?
Major League Baseball 2K9 is a solid game for beginning players, but longtime baseball video game players may have a difficult time enjoying the experience. The game seems to emphasize a flashier, faster game. Computer-controlled opponents play inconsistently. They swing at the first pitch every single time. Pitchers place every ball in the strike zone, making hitting a breeze. Whacking homeruns out of the ballpark is a bit too easy to pull off.
Visually, the game looks great. Players look very realistic. The stadiums are full of boisterous fans. However, players don't move fluidly. For example, when a player goes from throwing a ball to standing in place, the transition between these movements looks very abrupt and unnatural. The game still offers plenty of depth, from the robust Franchise Mode to Inside Edge reports detailing players' strengths and weakenesses. Although Major League Baseball 2K9 offers a satisfying experience, it's not in the league of competitor MLB 09 The Show.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.