Review by golonghorns

"Mediocrity perfected"

After Sega's bad attempt at a baseball game on the Dreamcast, I was cautious when I first picked this game up. The first thing I noticed that was different was the manual fielding, and I breathed a little sigh of relief. At least they didn't mess it up again. The game is definitely better, without a doubt, but it still has some major flaws.

Graphics 6/10- I never thought it would be possible for a game to have worse graphics than the year before. Yet this game managed to do that. Not many different animations, blocky and clumsily done player models, and horrid batting stances, as many of them are nothing like their real-life counterparts. The pitches are too easy to hit and come in way too slow, and the swings look terrible and choppy. They faces on the players are not well done and the stadiums leave a lot to be desired. The animations when fielding are much better than the batting animations, such as diving for a ball or throwing from the outfield. The frame rate could use a little bit more frames per second, and the crowds look terrible. I wouldn't have complained much if they hadn't changed it a bit from last year's beautiful graphics. Bottom line is this is a major weak point of this game.

Control 7/10- The control is pretty easy to master, and I liked the throw to corresponding base with the controller. For example, A throws to home, B throws to first, Y throws to second, and X throws to third. So it simplified things a bit for me. Some of the options in the outfield can mess you up. For example, if the batter hits a screaming line drive to center field, and you dive for it, and miss it; you have to run like hell to catch up to it. It would have been nice if they had implemented a short speed burst for times like that. The batting system changed as well, for the better. The strikeouts are hard to come by, as you have to hit the outside corners by a little bit, or you have no chance. Despite these flaws, it is still a fun game.

Gameplay 6/10- The different modes here aren't worth too much. Franchise mode is utter crap. Trading players is an exercise in extreme frustration. Why can't you trade more than one player at a time? Say you need another quality starter for your baseball team. Why can't I trade two good players for one great pitcher? Even if you have an equal and good trade, the CPU will almost always deny it. Season mode is pretty well done, and really was the only mode I ever played regularly. The home-run derby is pretty good, but somewhat unrealistic. When was the last time someone banged out 18 home runs in 20 pitches? Create-a-player was well done, but it was too easy to make a player into a superhuman freak. A rookie with 99 overall? Not likely.

Audio 5/10- The crack of the bat doesn't sound like it does in real life. While that may not sound quite like a major flaw, it ruined much of the atmosphere for me. The announcers are like zombies, and really have nothing valid to say. Sound on or off, it really makes no difference. I personally play with the sound off, as it is less annoying. The fans sometime yell things at the players, and that is the only redeeming quality here.

Difficulty- Varies with the setting. In rookie, it is easy to crank out 40+ runs because you can see where the pitch will land. In pro, you can't, but it is still easy enough to bring home 15+ runs with 5 or more homers. All-star is the only real challenge here.

Replay Value- 5/10 Aside from trying different modes and playing through the season with a different team, not much replay value here. After playing through one season, you have pretty much been there, done that.

Rent/Buy- If you must have this game, and are a baseball freak, then go ahead and rent it. If you aren't, don't touch this stinker. Ever.

Overall- 4/10- Slightly better than last year, but that isn't saying much, for last years game was horrendous. The only thing worse than last year is the graphics, which were poorly done. Control is mediocre, and the modes offer little. Huge disappointment.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 07/14/02, Updated 07/14/02

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