My friends know me as a guy who loves sports games, but hates the sports game media. Actually, it’s really the reason I started reviewing games back in 1996. I remember reading sports reviews at OGR and Gamecenter and thinking, “these guys are friggin’ incompetent .” It really burned me when I emailed an editor at Gamecenter with no less than 5 flat out lies in a review of a college basketball game (the one made by High Voltage back in the 90s.) This guy, an EDITOR, said in his review that the game had a mode that allowed “continuous seasons.” This was bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. His reply to me was, “thanks for reading Gamecenter. Don’t forget to use our feedback page!” Thanks to that dumb ass editor, I’m here today talking to you about sports games.
Once getting into the industry, I learned that most reviewers are nice fellas — E3 is always a fun place to catch up with fellow media hounds and there are sports game writers that I trust as much as I do my own opinion. (Brett Todd (usually), Jeff Lackey, Rob Smolka back in the day among a few others. Not Dan. He’s an idiot.)
However, after spending time with sports game writers (some, not all) but after speaking with them for 5 minutes about sports it hits you that they shouldn’t be allowed within a police line’s length from a sports game, let alone from a sports game and a word processor.
I bring this up to you today because I’ve been playing ESPN 2K5 a hell of a lot the past few days, getting my CGM review in order. No matter how you slice it or spin it, this game is a bug riddled mess. There’s the wild pitch/passed ball snafu, night game bugs, lineup/roster bugs, player creation bugs, sound bugs, AI glitches, a craptacular camera system, more line outs than ground outs, SAC bunt issues, pitcher fatigue issues — and on and on. Some of these issues you aren’t going to see unless you..well..actually play the game for more than an hour.
I go to Gamerankings and see that the game has an 85% overall based on the reviews. 85%. ESPN 2K5 deserves an 85 only if that’s out of 200. I’ll sum up the reviews by quoting the review at Team Xbox:
Just about every aspect of MLB 2K5 is better than last year’s offering, which was outclassed by the competition. Kush Games knew they would have to come into 2005 with a barrel of steam and no intentions of sliding, which is exactly they did. A few of the quirks from last year’s game that haven’t been touched in MLB 2K5, however, may kick up a cloud of dust for gamers waiting to make the call. This is a must-rent for any hardball fan, and will probably be the sports title to play online until the next generation of hardware ships.
I think that says it all.