February 28, 2007 - When it comes to portable sports titles for the PSP, it's extremely tricky to squeeze the full experience from the console version of the game onto the UMDs. The size of the discs can restrict a number of features, such as commentary, camera angles and even game modes because it just can't fit on the disc. Incredibly in 2K6, 2K Sports managed to squeeze just about every feature of the console onto the diminutive UMD. Unfortunately, the tiny package also showcased a number of flaws. While 2K Sports tried to fix all of the problems that cropped up in last year's game for this year's title, MLB 2K7 for the PSP winds up with just about every single issue from last year completely intact, making it much less of a title than you'd expect.
First of all, let's take a look at some of the problematic areas of the game, which haven't particularly changed as much as we'd hoped. Last year, baserunning was a large hassle on the PSP thanks to the limited control scheme. Since there weren't controls to dictate which runner you were advancing or retreating, it was extremely frustrating to accurately round the bases and avoid getting tagged at one base or another. For one reason or another, this limited base running system hasn't been changed one single bit, meaning that you're still guessing which runner you're trying to move at any particular point in time. This shouldn't be a hard thing to fix: simply making one of the base runners flash when you select them would be an easy way to delineate between players, but for some reason, this isn't implemented.
Similarly, players will still have to smack the button for a particular base at least two or three times to make the game recognize that you're trying to select that runner. This no longer seems to be a situation of trying to queue up bases for a runner to advance to - it now seems as if the mechanic is just too flawed to respond to commands. Either it's that, or the lag exhibited between commands and action is one of those intangible features that simply can't be reconciled within the portable programming. This lag also carries over to rounding the bases as well. As you play 2K7, you'll notice that regardless of how many times you try to force a player to advance by hitting the "advance" button, the runners will still hesitate before they continue. I wish that this was cleaner, but it's still just as much of a pain as ever before.
Unfortunately, fielding with the analog nub is just as painful as it was in last year's game. While there does seem to be a slight amount of attention paid to the improving the cuts towards a fly ball or a ground ball, players will still inexplicably veer off in a different direction than the one you're trying to move them in. Some of this is due to the insensitive analog nub, but some of this has to be due to some odd glitches that spin players around in place as you're trying to line them up to make a play.
Fighting to get your players in the right spot to make a play isn't the only problem that you'll have to contend with. Just like the baserunning, if you want to throw the ball, you have to hit the corresponding button at least two or three times before your player will actually respond to your command. If you don't, you'll quickly find that your outfielders will start running with the ball still in their hands without throwing it to a cutoff man or an infielder. Now, since you're not going to "queue up" throws, it's inexcusable that the programming reacts this way for defense, and even worse that this hasn't changed at all from last year to this year.