The Fall Classic is back and better than last year.

January 25, 2008 - Remember the days before exclusivity deals? Back when it was exciting to see how the two videogame iterations of our favorite sports stacked up against each other. EA Sports adds right analog stick, next year 2K would follow suit. 2K Sports adds in leagues for online play, next year EA Sports would do the same. The competition was fierce and the consumer benefited because of it.

Times have changed, though. With the NFL siding with EA and Major League Baseball going with 2K Sports (at least for third-party publishers) one might think that the feature set for each game would dwindle. After all, where's the incentive to push the envelope? Thankfully that hasn't been the case, as each franchise has been able to refine its game while still adding new elements each season. We've had a preview build of MLB 2K8 for a few days now and are happy to report that the same holds true with America's favorite pastime. Last year's MLB had far too many bugs and glitches to go along with its general lack of gameplay fluidity. Not only have 2K Los Angeles smoothed things out, but they've added new control dynamics that will likely change the way you experience videogame baseball.

When people think of baseball they think of four key elements: batting, pitching, fielding, and throwing. 2K Sports has changed the way you'll be doing each of these for MLB 2K8. We'll start with the simplest of them all: throwing. In every baseball game for the past several years the shape of the diamond has been mirrored by that of the face buttons. A button was home plate, Y was second; hopefully you can fill in the rest. Now things are a bit different. Keeping in the tradition of sports games changing their control schemes to hinge on the right analog, MLB 2K8's now does the same. To throw to first you'll need to hold the stick to the right which then brings up a meter that has been partitioned into three distinct parts.

Stop your throw (by releasing the stick) too soon and you'll release the ball too early, sending it high. Hold it too long and your throw will short-hop the base. Not only will you have to worry about when to release the right analog, the precise direction of your stick matters as well. The goal is to hold the stick as close to the cardinal direction as possible, but if you miss then your throw will go slightly astray. Sometimes you'll get lucky and the baseman will be able to adjust, other times it will result in a wild throw.

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