The Bigs Hits It Out of the Park
For those who find baseball a little slow and boring (like me), The Bigs takes America's pastime and ratchets up the action, making it fun to play on any console.
In this game, everything is fittingly larger-than-life, including the players, who all look like hulking steroid users (not that there's steroid use in baseball). To be fair, the licensed stadiums have been transformed into huge coliseums that feature interactive backdrops, such as a scoreboard that explodes when hit with a ball. The game's manufacturer, 2K Sports, uses the term "heroic" to describe the huge players, and the look (which is incredibly detailed on next-gen consoles) serves a purpose, since hitting balls out of the park is an integral part of the game.
These huge players can also perform gravity-defying leaps in the outfield that turn surefire home runs into outs and make sensational double plays -- assuming you type the correct button combinations. A race to the plate between runner and opponent is decided by a button-mashing duel.
It's also a fun diversion to send balls into New York's Times Square in an exclusive mini-game called Home Run Pinball. This mode alone, which allows you to hit everything from taxis to neon signs to the New Year's Eve ball, makes this game worth the price of admission. Other modes include a Rookie Challenge, which replaces a full 162-game season with a 20-hour career mode that throws your minor leaguer into key game situations to become an all-star and eventually win a World Series. Play Now, Exhibition and multi-player options add to the game's depth.
In addition to the arcade action, the game employs power-ups to aid brutal pitches and fantastic home runs. The Wii game deserves particular notice, because it successfully translates real pitching and hitting (even for two players standing side by side) into a fun Wii Remote battle that will tire you out. Aside from issues with fielding and base-running, which take getting used to, the Wii game should satisfy both hard-core and casual fans. Everyone from baseball purists to casual gamers will enjoy the fun you can have in the virtual park with The Bigs.
-- John Gaudiosi
The Bigs Everyone; Xbox 360, Playstation 3 ($60); Nintendo Wii ($50); Playstation 2, PSP ($40)2K Sports/Blue Castle Games