This is my first year playing this game, but from what I have read about the past games they were just okay. This game takes a huge leap in hitting styles because timing is crucial and controling your batters eye can be the difference between a ball caught at the track and a game winning home run. I myself am used to the classic batting styles of the MVP baseball games, but I would have to say that this years new batting style is definitley worth trying.
Basically how the swing stick works is as soon as the pitcher is about to release the ball, you pull back on the right stick and when you want to swing you can either release the right stick for a contact swing, or push forward to swing for power. I myself, would advise swinging for contact unless the ball is in the batters eye or you need a huge home run. The bunting system is fairly simple, all you have to do is push up on the right thumstick and use the LT and RT buttons to aim.
Unfortunatly, the baserunning is not as simple as bunting. There have been multiple times where I want my player to go from 1st to 3rd on a single, but I made the mistake of pressing LT twice and my runner rounded third and plowed over the catcher. The catcher rolled around like some sort of crazy break dancer for a while and then showed the ball to the umpire.
The online play is very good and I play it a lot. The one thing that I have noticed about when the catcher gets plowed over is that you can easily go from first to third. I once experienced this playing against an idiot named "dumb an dumber." So what happened was, he plowed over my catcher, the catcher then rolled around and held the ball in front of the umps face for ten seconds while dumb an dumbers runner ran to third. Of course the entire time I was screaming and yelling at the catcher. Other than that, the online play is great.
The fielding, however, is not so great. I have had multiple experiences where the hitter hits a ball between the second baseman and the right fielder. I start using my second basemans turbo to go catch the ball, but he veers off his path and crashes into the cutoff man. While all of this is happening, right fielder randomly dives for the ball and the ball rolls slowly past him. By this time the runner is at second. My right fielder, second basemen, shortstop, and center fielder are all running absent mindedly towards the ball. They all crash into each other, some being knocked over and some just standing there like they had forgotten what they are supposed to be doing. By the time the fielder has picked up the ball the runner has scored and the announcers are criticizing you for letting them score on a routinely hit fly ball.
Other than these few things, the game is fantastic. I would advise playing on rookie at first and then moving on to Pro. Then, start playing online. Although, earlier I griped about the fielding, the veering out of the way is the only real problem. If anybody who has read this review and owns this game or is going to play this game, send me a comment with your gamertag and I will send you a friend request and then maybe we'll play each other. My gamertag is "monkeymafia22" and I am online a lot. I would give this game a B overall.
+ Great new hitting
+ Great online play
+ Fantastic offline modes
- Bad fielding
- Bad baserunning
I hope you found this review helpfull and hope to see some of you on Xbox Live.