Considering the intuitive controls of the Nintendo Wii, it was only a matter of time until someone besides Nintendo made a baseball game for the system. While 2K’s “The Bigs” may not be exactly what hardcore baseball fans are looking for, as its focus is more on arcade gameplay, than fulfilling the dreams of stat-hungry gamers, the end result is a fun one that is worth at least a rental.
Upon playing “The Bigs” for the first time, you’ll notice that everything looks much bigger in scale. The players and stadiums are huge and brightly colored, looking as if they take place in some kind of dream where every player can be a superstar and every stadium can host a World Series.
As a matter of fact, in the world of “The Bigs,” even David Newhan, the former Mets bench-warming utility man, can hit home runs. Gaining points for every hit, great catch, strikeout and everything else that can contribute to you winning the game, “The Bigs” big play-meter fills up after every great play and can eventually turn even the most lethargic big-league hitter or pitcher into a superstar, if only for a short time. Knowing that, it doesn’t take a genius to know that runs come quite easily in the game and big plays are more frequent than a Jose Reyes stolen base.
This type of action-first gameplay will distract those who are looking for a genuine MLB-experience, but will capture the hearts of the casual fan and remind them of the same exciting and enthralling experience they had playing games like “NBA Street” and “Mutant League Football” for the first time.
As far the game’s control scheme however, while not being exactly perfect, they do get the job done and even manage to reward those who master them. Unlike the Wii-Sports version of baseball, “The Bigs” uses both the nunchuck and Wii-mote, offering a more complete and thorough gameplay experience.
Using the nunchuck to decide where your pitches will end up and where to place your swing and the Wii-mote for the timing of your pitches, swings and the speed of your running, players who decide to venture into the game will find it quite a workout. Nevertheless, once mastered, the game’s control is quite responsive, despite some hiccups when fielding and running the bases from time to time.
Adding to the game’s solid control is a bevy of gameplay modes, including a Rookie Challenge mode that allows you to create a player and take him to the big leagues and an amazing soundtrack that features Jane’s Addiction, Rollins Band, Motorhead and Stone Temple Pilots. However, despite its plentiful amount of gameplay modes and amazing soundtrack, the game still feels like it’s lacking something.
With Major League Baseball known for its plethora of player moves every season, a baseball game today needs to be able to keep up and offer everything from a smart roster management system and online updates to keep the game fresh and current. While its mediocre roster management system may drive some players batty and force them to buy a new game, those who care less about not being able to trade Scott Proctor for Wilson Betemit [the game doesn’t allow trades of pitchers for hitters or vice-versa] will still find it a charming entry into a Wii lineup starved for adequate sports titles.
All flaws considered, “The Bigs” is an absolute blast to play and even better with friends. Hardcore baseball fans may want to wait for something more realistic to hit the shelves, but casual fans may just find a new staple in their Wii collection.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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