Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars - NDS - Preview

From the start of the new year, game developers rush to compete for simulation sports supremacy. It’s far from an easy battle – the two biggest, 2K Sports and Electronic Arts, have a vigorous fight with each other, plus Sony and all of the little guys attempting to crack this massive market.

Over the last 12+ years some developers found that they could sneak in through the back door with niche and arcade titles like NBA Jam and NFL Street. These anti-rules hits were big on fun, not on realism, gaining attention from all gamers – not just the diehard sports crowd.

Last year 2K Sports took their first major step into this style of gameplay with The BIGS, an out-of-this-world baseball game built with Jam, Blitz and Street inspiration. This year 2K Sports will dive into this arena once more with a Nintendo DS exclusive – Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars. Here’s our first look:

 
The stadium designs are extremely inventive. 

By far the most unique feature revealed is the batting system. Using the bottom screen, players will touch and drag their bat across a half-circle display. It appears that, once the bat has been pulled all the way back, you immediately drag your stylus forward to complete the swing. This is bound to involve a slight learning circle (hopefully not much more than that), but the end result could be amazing. If these mechanics are as intuitive as the standard MLB 2K8 game, Fantasy All-Stars will be a blast to play.


Could this be baseball’s first foray into Halloween decorations? Big Daddy would be so proud.
 

Since this is a fantasy game, the players and environments have been drenched in cool cartoon effects. The animations are notably exaggerated; as players step up to the plate, you’ll be able to pick out several differences between them. Some have extreme upper-body strength, indicated by their immense muscles. Others have arms that are much too long for the rest of their body, making them appear to have come from the animal kingdom. Likewise, when a ball comes flying your way, expect a ton of crazy animations to follow (with smoke and dust trails falling behind the ball).

Thus far we’ve gotten a taste of the farm and city environments, as well as one that appears to take place under water, and another that appears to be inside of the human body. To see what each of these looks like in action, peruse our downloads section for four gameplay clips.

 
The player fluidity demonstrates the DS' ability to produce high-end animations.

Due to hit stores on April 7, Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars looks like another home run hit for arcade action-craving gamers. Stay with GameZone as we bring you our first hands-on preview of the game in the coming weeks.

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