Review by Moseph
"Sega hits a grand slam!"
Ahhhhh baseball. The smell of the beer, popcorn, hotdog's, and nachos, all tickle my senses the instant I walk into the stadium. The drama, fun, and just downright awesomeness of the sport is the reason why its America's pastime. And finally, a videogame almost brings you in the ballpark!
The Graphics in this game aren't the best thing I have ever seen, but they are pretty nice. Real player faces adds to the realism, although they are pretty bland looking. The player models also look nice, but again, the logos stitched on to the uniforms are pretty bland. The Ballparks are accurately modeled and have a high level of polish to them. The batting helmets have a realistic glare to them, which is a nice touch.
The gameplay is very solid. The pitching interface is nice with the hot and cold zones in the batters box. Although the pitch cursor is VERY twitchy. A slight move of the control stick moves the pitch cursor almost out of the strike zone. This is a small gripe and isn't a big problem.
The batting interface is really nice too. There is a new type of batting called ''power pro hitting'' which is basically a charge up meter. This can be kind of hard at first but with practice can become very useful in hitting the longball. The standard hitting mode is there, which is just a circle that you have to put where the pitch is going. Timed hitting is there, younger players will be very thankful for this. There is no meter, no circle, you simply just have to time your swing right. The downfall of the gameplay has to be the easiness of stealing bases. The slowest guy on your team could probably steal second without a problem.
Gameplay sound effects: 10
The sound in this game is amazing. The sound of a glove hitting a mit, the thwap of a ball getting hit by a bat, and the crowd cheers are just another thing that makes you feel like you are actually pitching in the 9th inning of the world series. The random insults the crowd makes toward the batters are great. My personal favorite is when a crowd yells to A Rod ''Hey A Rod! Why don't you buy your team a pitching staff!'' Hilarious! Although I was depressed that there wasn't any of infamous ''Pitchers got a big butt!'' haha.
This is the downfall of the game. Wrong calls are made VERY often, I hit a double, Rex Hudler calls a single. Sometimes when I hit a home run he calls a foul ball. This is arguably the worst I have ever heard in a sports game. Which is odd since most sega sports games have great commentary. The only thing that keeps the score from plummeting is the random facts they give on each player. Which are pretty interesting
Franchise mode: 10
This is where its at. The franchise mode is arguably the best ever seen in a game. The amount of options to customize your team is amazing. Coach hiring, scout recruiting, drafting, free agent signing.... ITS ALL HERE!! The payrolls are used in things called BP's(Budget Points). The average team has about 550 budget points to spend on players and coaches. You also have full minor league control. Allowing you to send down and bring up players.
Sega really took advantage of the ESPN license. The familiar stat interfaces, and player information is there, along with the familiar Baseball Tonight theme song. When you start up the game the intro video starts out like a sportscenter highlite reel. I was just waiting for Stuart Scott and Rich Eisen to come onto the screen and telling me todays scores.
Extra options/modes: 10
This is yet ANOTHER thing that makes this game so great. Every team has about 4 retro jerseys which is really cool. Also, there are 5 historic ball parks to play at. Too cap the extras off is a Hall Of Fame team which is just plain cool. The Big league challenge mode is basically an old style home run derby. When you finish it they give you a code that you can enter at Segasports.com to compare your playing skills with players from all around the world.
This is, in my opinion the best baseball game this year. The amount of options you have in this game is incredible. It has a franchise mode that rivals Madden, and to top it all off, great gameplay! What more could a sports gamer want?
Buy or rent: Buy!
The addicting gameplay and franchise mode will keep you busy well into the baseball year. Well worth 50 dollars
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/23/03, Updated 04/23/03
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