Major League Baseball 2K7
Baseball is in the details, which may be why Major League Baseball 2K7 invested significantly on selling the visual sizzle over gameplay innovation this season. The bet pays off for hardcore baseball fans, as nearly every major-leaguer not only looks like his real-life counterpart, but moves and behaves like him too. Take Mets hurler Tom Glavine, who refuses to throw a pitch over the inner half to righties in real life, and does the same thing in the game. Or Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia, whose belly is the size of Cleveland, while the bill of his cap is as flat as Ohio. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee has pants that go to his heels, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz wears wristbands to his elbows, and on and on. The pinpoint attention to detail is inspiring, and goes a long way in making up for the game's deficiencies.
Thing is, there are no standout faults in the game. Still, the lack of advancement beyond past iterations holds this back from being a classic. Hitting, pitching, and fielding are largely the same as in earlier versions, though on the upside, that guarantees familiarity and ease of use. The slightly homerun-centric offense takes some joy out of the homerun trot, but overall, this one will keep players busy well into the dog days of summer.
Beyond the game: Forget playing with the San Francisco Giants to break the homerun record—Barry Bonds isn't in the game. Why? For years, Bonds has had a special licensing deal that requires him to be paid separately outside of the usual MLB Players' Association licensing deal. For years, his asking price has been too steep.
Worth playing for: This game teaches you why Tom Glavine is a 290 game winner. In real life, it's unthinkable that batters would swing at the garbage this 40-year-old lofts plateward. But in 2K7, you'll be swinging at that exact same junk, cursing the hole in your bat.
Frustration sets in when: When PS3 players go head-to-head, the lack of rumble in the controller is a killer. Instead of being to locate pitches by feel (the rumble tells you when you're aiming outside the strike zone), you'll simply have to guess.
Final judgment: Beauty can make a lack of substance forgivable, and that's definitely the case here. MLB 2K7 looks so realistic that you may end up looking around your living room for a hot-dog vendor between pitches.