So began my review of MLB 2K12 a year ago, though it could just as easily serve as a fitting introduction for a review of MLB 2K13. Axford's facial hair hasn't changed in MLB 2K13 – and neither has the game. I take that back: The Online Leagues feature has been removed, the Houston Astros are now in the AL and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price is on the cover. There, I think we're pretty much all caught up.
The exclusion of Online Leagues aside, this game is, appallingly, the same as last year. There's simply nothing new here, no glaring bullet points that shout, "this is what everyone will be talking about." I experienced the same stuttering player animations as seen in MLB 2K12. Tiny bouts of lag popped up while batting in an online game all over again. As I write this, over 5,000 people are online in MLB 2K13, getting the only sim-style baseball fix that's available on a Microsoft console and is supposed to be considered new. How many will be online in the coming months?
After booting up the MLB Today mode, I immediately looked at the roster to see how my Brewers were looking. The game's "living rosters" are set up so that I should be able to play the same game my team is playing in real life that day. I found Aramis Ramirez starting at third base, apparently unharmed from his recent sprained knee, and Mat Gamel surprisingly still playing first base after his catastrophic, season-ending ACL tear. Corey Hart was still out of action, because the last sign of life from this living roster must have been from weeks ago. Even during spring training, shouldn't fans expect the "living" part of "living rosters" to hold up at the game's launch? How can players put faith in a publisher with a history of poor post-launch support for its online modes, let alone one that releases a product like this?
As much as other series attempt to advance the genre in new and exciting directions, this clear lack of effort is an indelible grass stain on baseball games, and leaves us with more questions than answers. It's as much a shame on 2K Sports for releasing this game as it is for the MLB to carelessly stamp its name on it. Whether it was sheer apathy or contractual licensing obligations that caused MLB 2K13 to exist in this state, it certainly wasn't a love for baseball, sports games, or its fans.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of MLB 2K13, provided by 2K Games.
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