Swing and a miss. Again.

Finally got to dive into the MLB 2K7 demo. I wouldn’t call myself a baseball fan, but as a gamer, I wanted to see how this game played after checking out some of the brilliant early footage that even showed wind blowing against the players’ uniforms. Spring training has started after all (and the game came out this week), so I felt a slight pinch of baseball fever when my download was finished.

That fever evaporated when I realized how badly I stunk at this game. You can pick from the Mets or the Cards (and the World Series champs, St. Louis, seem WILDLY underrated) and even get advanced scouting reports on opposing players to help out your pitcher. I ended up getting the workups on Delgado, Wright and Beltran — after all, I saw those guys the most on SportsCenter.

I got a fleet of tutorial text when I was both batting and pitching. Defensive shifts, pitch targeting, intentional walks, payoff pitches — I got it all. I’ve known mostly the MVP Baseball style of pitching and have only dabbled in the MLB style, which requires you to hold down the button, release it at the right time, and then press it again for accuracy. You use a sniper scope-like reticle that expands and contracts as your timing guide. It took some getting used to, and I paid for my knowledge by serving up gifts over the middle to most of the Mets order.

What really boggled me was batting. MLB uses the “swing stick,” which means instead of simply hitting the button at the right time (which you can still do), you can use the right thumbstick to control practically every facet of your swing. It’s the ultimate test of timing — you have to take your step, swing direction, and follow through into account. For a simple contact swing, you pull back on the stick (the step) and release it at the right time. For power, you pull back and push forward. For stuff like pulling and hitting to the opposite field, the game has you do Street Fighter-esque circle motions — so “hadouken” could mean a base hit.

I’m gonna hit the demo once more, visit with 2K to talk about the game, and then it’s time for something completely different — Bullet Witch for the 360. If it comes down to playing more baseball or shooting demons/casting spells with a smoldering, gun wielding sorceress, I’m picking the magic. Of course, if the game stinks, I’ll just play Crackdown or Rainbow Six.