Game Watch

March 25, 2007

BASEBALL VIDEOgames have become so realistic they might as well come packaged with pine tarrags and rosin bags. In fact, the two titles licensed by Major League Baseballfor 2007, MLB 2K7 by 2K Sports and Sony's MLB 07 The Show, are almost too muchlike the real thing. Consider 2K7, which is available for every system but theNintendo Wii. The heart and soul of this visual stunner is the Swing Sticksystem, which lets you control a batter from leg kick to follow-through. But ittakes time to get the hang of it; you'll trudge back to the dugout more thanAdam Dunn until you do.

Sony gamers will be familiar with The Show, available for the PSP and PS2 andout on the PS3 on April 16. The key innovation in this year's version is theRoad to the Show story mode, which allows you to play as a minor leaguer tryingto get to the bigs. Both 2K7 and The Show have a franchise mode, a home runderby, online leagues and authentic batting stances and tics. (Yes, Nomarfidgets.) Unfortunately, both also continue the video game tradition of poorbaserunning AI. Too many potential rallies turn into Bad News Bears flashbacks,especially for inexperienced players. The Show goes the extra step of givingumpires personalities—some have tight zones, others are more Eric Gregg--ish.Overall, both titles have enough to keep you busy through the summer. It mighttake that long to master them.

PHOTOSONY (MLB 07 GAME) PHOTOCOURTESY 2K SPORTS (2K7 GAME)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)