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Video Game of the Week – Major League Baseball 2K10

The latest releases from the Major League Baseball video game franchises are always a welcome sight: they coincide with spring training, meaning baseball is just around the corner, and for most of us, they mark the beginning of the end of a long winter!

Sports video games with an extended history and a widespread following – think Madden football or Tiger Woods golf – tend to be judged by the progress they have made over last season's version and whether they have stayed true to the games concepts. Sometimes this can be a double-edged sword, stifling innovation in case radical changes upset the fan base.

In the case of MLB 2K10, things are a little different. The publisher, 2K Sports, doesn't enjoy exclusivity when it comes to Major League Baseball, sharing the stage with Sony's highly-acclaimed MLB: The Show. In many respects, 2K Sports is the must-try-harder underdog, needing to improve its own product and not cede any more ground to competition.

Of all the improvements in MLB 2K10 – and there are many – perhaps the biggest is the one that's most fundamental to the game of baseball: the duel between hitter and pitcher. 2K10 has finally mastered the multitude of strategies that go into this confrontation, making the hitter work hard for his hit and the pitcher equally hard for his out.

The other major new development is My Player mode, where you create a player at the position of your choosing and, through hard work and on-field success, attempt to bring him up through the minors and into the bright lights of "the Bigs". Although some player positions are decidedly more interesting than others, the challenge of earning skill points and trying to get to the next level can quickly become addictive.

Other play modes, including Franchise, Play Now and Home-Run Derby are largely unchanged. However, the graphics and audio track have undergone a complete makeover, resulting in a more realistic at-the-ballpark feel. The limited online play of past years is also there again, with leagues and quick match options available for those with high-speed connections.

All-in-all, MLB 2K10 is a more-than-worthy successor to the 2009 version; one which will undoubtedly please its own fans – and even convert a few from the other camp!

MLB 2K10 is rated "E" for Everyone.

Publisher: 2KSports
Platforms: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Windows Vista/XP, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP
Genre: Sports simulation
RRP: $19.99 to $59.99
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone

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