With controls that actually work and make you build up a sweat, The Bigs is one of the most fun sports games ever. It does a good job of making the Wii controls just like the real thing. And with controls like this proving that games can be this well made, it’s probably right about now that someone like EA or Codemasters took notice of 2K Games’ design and made a cricket game.
Baseball might not be Australia’s favourite past time, but we’ve sure got a lot of people who want to play it. After years of not seeing a baseball game released here, 2K Games have answered the calls of the fans and have released The Bigs for all major consoles, including versions for all the current PlayStation consoles, Nintendo Wii, and the Xbox 360.
But it’s the Wii version that interest us most as it aims to make use of the Wii’s motion sensitive controls to really get the feel of a baseball game down.
The Wii isn’t known for having the best graphics and while The Bigs doesn’t exactly have the most polished look, it also isn’t too shabby. It’s true that there isn’t a lot of difference to the way players look and the crowd certainly aren’t showing any signs of realism, but you’re not here for state of the art graphics. You’re here for the gameplay and the feel and the feel is actually pretty good.
Timing is everything and learning how to swing is really easy but the pitching requires a bit of skill. You’ll hold buttons and throw down the Wii controller and while the instructions are always on screen, throwing balls that require a turn to a side often aren’t pulled off.
Worse are the controls for catching a ball in midfield and running which for the most part just don’t work when it really matters. Often you’ll find yourself standing in midfield trying to catch a ball only to find it’s just missed you. When you’ve picked it up, you try to throw it to first base but the controls interpret your gesture as third and by the time you recover, you won’t be getting them out.
Strangely, it doesn’t matter. While the game can be frustrating, it’s not a realistic sports game but rather an arcade sports game. This means you get points as you play with bonuses every few hundred thousands letting you land instant mind blowing home runs or amazing
heated pitches. And between the game modes — from exhibition to home run derby to Rookie Challenge, a mode that lets you start from scratch and become the next baseball superstar — you’ll probably find the gameplay of The Bigs satisfying no matter how irritating parts of the game can get.
Most of the sound is actually really good with the announcer having that over the top crisp American accent you’re probably used to hearing out of all major sports games. The players too sound like something out of both a baseball game or movie with umpires yelling STRIKE! with as much gusto as they probably would in real life.
The music works a treat here too but it should be said that it probably doesn’t turn on enough. Games are usually pretty quiet with only the sounds of the field, players, and commentator keeping your ears happy. Those of us who want to listen to music as we take to the field are going to have to turn our own music on by some other means.
With controls that actually work and make you build up a sweat, The Bigs is one of the most fun sports games ever. It does a good job of making the Wii controls just like the real thing. And with controls like this proving that games can be this well made, it’s probably right about now that someone like EA or Codemasters took notice of 2K Games’ design and made a cricket game. And even with some flawed controls, the game never stops being fun. Whether you’re pitching a fastball or batting a homer, you’ll still have a blast.
If you’re looking for a game that really gets you into the spirit of America’s favourite past-time, you simply can’t go past The Bigs on the Nintendo Wii.
Should you buy it?:
If you’re a baseball fan, you can stop playing WiiSports just for the baseball part. The Bigs can be hard but it’s very fun. Buy it if you love baseball.
Developer: Blue Castle Games
Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark
Publisher: 2K Sports
Formats: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable
URL: The Bigs