Not the Traditional Baseball Game
Before picking up a copy of The Bigs 2 for the Play Station 3 you should know that even though it has the looks of a top of the line traditional baseball game for the console, it’s very much an arcade game. So for those looking for a stat heavy baseball simulator it’s best to look elsewhere. For the rest however, it’s the presence of that arcade element that draws players in, though the game still plays much the same as any other baseball simulator. Keeping this in mind, it’s the face-off between batter and pitcher that’s at the heart of game play.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
The gameplay in The Bigs 2 revolves around the traditional battle of batter vs.pitcher. As the batter, making contact with the ball is the key as in any other baseball game, and finding the right place to swing is the same problem you’ll find in any simulator. Batters in The Bigs 2 have a sweet spot that increases the possibility of a hit, and provides additional punch to hits from pitches thrown within the zone. Hitting within this sweet spot is determined largely on your batter’s skills, as the size of the zone changes growing larget the better the batter at the plate.
Pitchers in the game only have 4 different pitches available to them. Each pitch is aimed before it can be thrown, during which you can choose the power of the pitch through a moving gauge. Stopping the gauge at its highest point not only provides power throws, but hides the pitches as well, making them all the harder to hit. The pitcher can throw anywhere within the zone, but if you choose to throw against the batter’s sweet spot you can beef up a turbo meter if successful. The turbo meter allows pitchers to throw flame powered pitches, but at the same time the sweet spot is also the best place for batters to connect so throwing to it is a high-risk maneuver.
Arcade Heroes (5 out of 5)
Flaming fastballs combined with homerun grabs that shake off the laws of gravity are normal events in this arcade heavy game. Fielders play like superheroes, capable of 20 ft. high leaps to catch a fly ball, and enormous horizontal dives for line drives, they can even jump on the dugouts to snag foul balls. These acts are triggered by quicktime events within the game. The super heroic elements give players points which can be used to perform even more superhero like moves. Pitchers can use points to toggle a Big Heat mode which allows them to toss off flaming fastball after flaming fastball. While batters can use points for Big Blast, letting batters hit one out of the park regardless of the actual strength of the hit. Points take a few innings to build up, but their use can change the momentum of a game significantly.
Become a Legend Mode (3 out of 5)
In The Bigs 2, the Become a Legend Mode is the main mode in the game. In this career mode, the players begin by creating a character starting out in the minor leagues. The player then guides the character through a career in the Minor Leagues and the Pros, eventually becoming a Hall of Famer. In the quest to become a legend players have to win games with other teams, and play through mini games which improve player stats.
Overall (4 out of 5)
The Bigs 2 is a fun additional to the roster of stat heavy traditional baseball simulators. The look and feel of the game is consistent with other high-end console baseball games, with the game being easy to control, and without too steep of a learning curve. Batting and pitching provides a nice core game that should satisfy the traditionalists for the most part, though base running is a problem in game as unless carefully watched, teammates will often choose the worse times to run for a base, costing the players possible runs. The combination of arcade and traditional baseball provides for a unique experience. Arcade elements add a sense of unreality that grabs the player from the start, making many of the arcade enhancements as enjoyable to view as to play. The quicktime nature of many of the arcade add-ons tends to take the player outside of the game though, interrupting the flow of action. Become a legend mode is a nice career addition, giving players a specific avatar to root for along with a team, complete with the dislocation that results from being traded mid-season. Don’t go into The Bigs 2 expecting serious game play. At its heart it’s an arcade game, but the mix of the traditional with the arcade makes The Bigs 2 an enjoyable addition to our nation’s pastime.