Estimated Achievement Difficulty: 4/10 (9/10 without adjusting stats)
Offline: 48 (930)
Online: 2 (70)
Estimated Time to 1000: 60-100 Hours (250+ without adjusting stats)
Minimum Number of Playthroughs Needed: 1 Franchise season
Missable Achievements: None!
Do cheat codes disable Achievements?: No Cheats
Does difficulty affect achievements?: Yes, Cards don't unlock on Rookie
Glitchy Achievements: 9 (220, Card Achievements and Grand Poobah)
Unobtainable Achievements: None!
Additional Equipment Required: None
Like most sports games, everything is very straight forward, from the controls to the rules, so this road map is more to help cut down the amount of time it will take to get the full 1000 in this simulation of “America’s Pastime.” It took me well over 100 hours, but if I had done things smarter, I could have easily cut that in half. MLB 2K9 is not a quick and easy sports game, but a long slog playing dozens of games and meeting requirements for the 320 player trading cards, which will be the bane of your existence by the end of the game.
Step 1: Franchise Play
In most games, you can just simulate the entire season to get the franchise achievements, but this is not the case in MLB 2K9. You need to play at least 20 games, though the achievements take a bit more to actually unlock them. May the Best Man..., Bicentennial Man,and Centennial Man are fairly easy to get just by playing 20 games and simulating the rest, though I had some trouble with Absolute Power. Once you hit 20 games, just simulate to the last game of the season and see what your stats are for the achievements, reload and re-sim if you need, and sim the post season until you win three games in the World Series and play the fourth win. You will probably get a number of the “user profile” and “get x in one game” achievements this way, making things easier later on. You can also unlock a fair number of trading cards by playing this on Pro difficulty or higher, which will really make the mop up quicker, but risks having you lose the World Series or fall just short of the franchise numbers, since you will have a few games where your stats are slightly handicapped. To make it easier, you can either adjust the stats for your players before you start, or you can trade your bad players for better players.
Step 2: Saves Franchise
After simulating the season a number of times under normal circumstances, I was completely unable to get any player in the league to save 40 games in a season. 2K Sports really made things difficult by setting the requirement so high, meaning that you will likely need to set up a season just for getting saves. Turn off the trade deadline when you start the season, set the game length to 3 innings and turn on “force trades.” Sim the first 140 games of the season and then trade for the league leader in saves. Chances are you will still need 10-15 saves, but that is doable if you are focusing on it. Just make sure that you win the game by 3 runs or less and your closer gets the final out of game. To actually unlock the achievement, you need to save your 41st game and make sure that happens after 20 games, or just save 40 and then win the World Series.
Step 3: Online Play
There are only two online achievements in this game, but one of them can be a supreme pain in the neck. Go to the Xbox Live menu and play a Quick Ranked Match. In finishing the game you will get the I Could Have Been a Contender achievement, but Team 2K is considerably more difficult. To get that, you need to win a 9 inning game against someone that has the achievement. It took me 12 games or so to get this, because the people I beat didn’t have it, and those that did, quit early. If you are really hunting, just check the opponent’s gamertag before hand to see if they have it and back out of the game if they don’t. Eventually you will get it, it just may take a while. If you want, check the FORUM to see if there is someone with the achievement willing to throw the game in exchange for cards. Human players are craftier, too, so it is likely that you will find an opportunity to get the Ya Can’t Get Fooled Again achievement, since some players will run on two strikes. The good news is, you can unlock cards in ranked games, so you are at least making progress there if it takes a while to get Team 2K.
Step 4: Game Mode Mop Up
If you haven’t won things like the Home Run Derby or Post Season Mode, now would be the time. Realistically, you can do these any time you are hard up for gamerscore, but if you haven’t done these yet, do it now, because by the time you finish the trading cards, you may never want to look at this game again. Refer to the guide below for further assistance on these modes.
Step 5: Card Collecting
The trading card achievements are collectibles of the worst kind. Not only do you have to get all 320 trading cards, each one of them has a specific requirement that you need to do either with or against 9 players on every team. Even worse, they need to be met on Pro or higher difficulty and cannot be unlocked with two controllers. If you need the list of requirements for each player, it can be found HERE. This can be made a lot quicker, though.
First, start a franchise so that you can save progress and rosters and then make trades so that every position on both teams are filled by players with trading cards that you need. Setting rosters to default, turning on force trades and edit CPU rosters will make this much easier, and turning off injuries definitely helps. Then go to edit roster and adjust the stats of your players so that they are all at 100 (though you don’t really need to bother with things like “stealing aggression,” “as catcher” or the hitting stats for pitchers if you are in the American League). Edit the “contact” and “power” stats of opposing hitters down to 0, and the “vs,” “home run” and “strikeout” stats for the opposing pitchers down to 0. This makes it almost guaranteed that you will get every card available in the game, though you still need to play normally, since even at 0, a pitcher can still strike you out and a hitter can still get a single. Also set the "speed" stat to 100 for hitters because you will be able to turn doubles into inside the park home runs and this makes it a lot easier than actually hitting the ball out of the park. You can also set opposing player's fielding stats down to 0 because it will make innings go longer so you have a better chance of getting more cards. It will usually be easier to start a new franchise with new teams than to trade away everyone at the end of each game. You will likely get to the point that you need only starting pitchers, so when that happens, make sure that you change the number of player controlled teams to 2, preferably the two that play each other on opening day. Always manually manage the pitching rotation and trade closers and relief pitchers for the starters that you need, putting them in the rotation as closers, relievers and set-up pitchers, so that the CPU will bring them into the game partway through, allowing you to unlock 5 or 6 starters every game. Keep doing this until you have unlocked all 320 cards, which should take 10 games, considering you probably already unlocked 100 or so through the franchises (presuming you did it on pro) and ranked play. If not, settle in for a good 20 games to unlock all the cards, including getting 200 home runs, 500 RBIs and 500 strikeouts for the classic cards.
Warning: The cards you have unlocked are tied to your user profile, which is tied to your gamertag. If you change your gamertag you will lose all progress toward the trading card and user profile achievements.
Step 6: Mop Up
You will probably have a few achievements left to complete the game, but they really shouldn’t be major ones. The base stealing achievements (Sticky Fingers and Cat Burglar) may still remain, just edit the opposing catcher so that his “throwing accuracy” and “anticipation” are at 0, which should make this a piece of cake. For any other achievements that you may have left, refer to the guide below.
I have heard of (and experienced) several achievement glitches in this game, particularly around the trading cards. Many of the achievements will not unlock when they are supposed to, but they will unlock eventually. Spread the Wealth is the legendary one, since it will only unlock if you have unlocked a non-starter card on every team with a person that started and ended the season on each team. Get all 320 cards and you will unlock it. If, on the other hand, the One Hundo or Teamwork achievements do not unlock when they are supposed to, your cards may be completely glitched. I don’t know if there is another fix for this beyond deleting your user profile. Grand Poobah will also not always unlock at the appropriate time. If you run into that, just earn an easy achievement (change some players on your card team), and it should unlock.
While MLB 2K9 is an entertaining game, and a good two player game to keep around, it is horribly frustrating when achievement hunting. The glitches, time consuming achievements and horrible disappointment of giving up an error to the 27th batter to break up a perfect game make it a horrendous slog. But after getting the full 1000, there is nothing to prevent you from keeping it around and playing it for fun.