The Bigs 2 Review
August 10, 2009 by Jereme Puik
The Bigs releasing in 2007 managed to surprise a lot of people with its dynamic arcade style presentation and gameplay modes. The Bigs offered your very own taste of arcade baseball and managed to perform well in the long run, though still was missing something. The Bigs 2 gets the call from the bullpen to bring in the depth that it was missing from the previous entry. There are a few new features to discuss along with gameplay revisions and tweaks. What can you expect from The Bigs 2? Does it hit a home run out of the ballpark or strike out in the bottom of the 9th?
The first Bigs title was limited in the ways of gameplay modes and just general stuff to do. The Bigs 2 takes on a new direction adding on a 162 game season mode which compliments the newly designed career mode, ‘Become a Legend’. What also returned from the first game was Home Run Derby Pinball. The mode now includes a total of 4 areas for you to smash up as many points as possible. Online modes have been brought back into play with something extra like co-op and head to head. You can play online with home run derby pinball or try your luck in a series of separate mini-games like practicing you’re fielding or hitting as well as your speed. Not exactly very exciting when looking at the grand scheme of things.
The 162 game season mode is, at the very least, the most basic season mode you could encounter. There isn’t much in the ways of stat tracking and you have to play a klinko mini-game to get the chance to even try and make trades. There aren’t many team goals outside of looking at the legendary options like making it to the World Series and winning it, or collecting a certain number of stolen bases, home runs…etc. However, the most rewarding mode is “Become a Legend”. This is where you’ll be creating a player from scratch down to the details on the face and starting your career in a Mexican Baseball League on a rehab assignment. After playing a few games and mini-games to get your stats up you’ll be able to choose your favorite team for you’re created to player to join as he is the superstar of the team.
You’ll be traveling to different cities experiencing different tasks and objectives to gain your legendary status. Rewards include things like unlocking retro jerseys or having the ability to steal players from other teams. As you continue through the season you’ll be able to face off against legendary hall of famers like Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield. The gameplay has pretty much stuck through the same route as the first game. After choosing one of four pitches, you’ll have to time the pitch base don the growing meter, the greater the meter the more effective the pitch is. If you manage to hit a perfect on the meter, you’ll earn more points and extra boost to the pitch.
Batting on the other hand has you timing your hits as the pitch crosses the plate. You’ll be able to gain turbo on both sides of the field. By making great catches, striking out a batter or even getting a hit period you’ll be able to use that turbo for getting that all important strike out or activating the Home Run Blast. You can aim your swing with the analog stick depending on the situation you’re in. If you’re a pitcher, make sure you don’t give up too many hits as you’ll quickly lose all of your pitches.
Every player is rated based on their abilities, from hitting to catching and more from 1-5 stars. The “Legendary” rating gives players extra boost when making plays in the field, so you’ll definitely want to watch who those players when hitting. That occurs of course after a quick time event, and another new addition to that feature is making dug-out catches or foul ball catches against the wall.
Points are the biggest feature in The Bigs, and as you play the game you’ll notice you will earn points for everything you do. This includes anything from making great plays, striking batters out or hitting a home run. If you hit 100,000 points you could activate either the Big Heat for pitchers or the Big Blast for hitters. It practically guarantees a home run if you connect. While The Bigs 2 might not have a lot going for it in the long run, there are still little nicks and cranny’s you can find that will keep you busy. A nice addition to the batting gameplay is the “Batters Wheelhouse” which is essentially just a hot zone for the batters strongest hitting potential. If you get a swinging strike, the batter looses his wheelhouse slowly but surely. This gives the game a bit more strategy and with the many quick-time event options in the field, The Bigs 2 ends up being more of a baseball game then a steroid induced slugfest.
Player models look as though they could try out for a WWF match and win Obviously that’s the look developers took when creating The Bigs series considering it is an arcade style baseball game. They certainly amped up the presentation with detailed stadiums, pulsing lights on giant scoreboards. The downside to all of this, however is the camera is stuck to one position. Outside of batting, the camera feels a little too restricted in movement. If you hit a single into the outfield for instance, the camera will completely close in on the players in the outfield making it hard to keep track of the runner. There is a diagram on the top right of the screen but at times you don’t really pay too much attention to it. In The Bigs 2, everything is bright and colorful with just right amount of lighting to complete the circle.
Have Dolby 5.1 surround sound? Good, then turn up the volume when you boot up The Bigs 2. You’ll be hearing everything from diving players hitting the ground to the “Big Blast” home run as it hits the scoreboard exploding everything into a fiery flame. There is only one commentator in the game and is busy all game long, after a while though he starts to become more annoying then pleasing to the ear, he definitely needs a partner. A rocking soundtrack lights up The Bigs 2 with artists like Disturbed and more. Everything else is pretty normal; you have your over the top commentator along with the rocking music to keep you entertained.
Home Run Derby pinball has to be the highlight here considering its one of the most addicting online modes for multiplayer. Using the ability to pinball baseballs off of expensive lighted boards is priceless. Earning points as you go to beat your opponent. There isn’t much else to do online aside from playing 5 inning games against others. In the long run the online component will eventually die for The Bigs 2; it isn’t exactly as appealing unless you care for the sport.
The extra boost from the legendary catches adds a bit more incentive to playing through the dynasty mode. The new foul line catches also add a bit more realism to the game giving players more versatility on the field. So, while it’s not exactly the perfect baseball simulator it is nice to have arcade fun every once in a while.
The Bigs 2 is a nice pick up and play title you can use to pass the time. It doesn’t take much to learn the ropes. The gameplay has been expanded though remains the same as the first title with not a lot of changes to it. Home Run Derby Pinball is a nice addition worth checking out that has new areas to play in. It could have used a little more refinement here and there especially with it being more of a baseball simulator with the 162 game season mode. For instance a little more stat tracking would have been nice. Either way, you won’t be disappointed by The Bigs 2 if you liked the first game, but don’t go into the game expecting a full blown simulation. This is arcade baseball after all.