Review by Yanks12486

"WSB 2K3: Swung on and belted...."

(Please excuse me, this is my first review ever, I will be using a standard set of rating categories, actually taken from Moseph. But all of the comments and such are indeed mine)

I am a baseball game nut. Every year since the days of Ken Griffey Baseball on the Super NES, I have purchased a baseball game. In the past years for PS2, I have always bought All Star Baseball games. But, they never seem to fix the problems with the game, so I went with the game that was supposed to have the best franchise mode, and WSB 2K3 was it. Keep in mind that this is my first WSB game played, I have never played the original for the XBox.

Graphics: 7
Graphics aren't the best ever, in fact, there is much room for improvement here. The player's faces, minus a few superstars, are all chosen from a small database of generic faces. The uniform effects aren't great, either. However, the stadiums are top notch. There are even stadium-specific animations when a home run is hit! I have never seen this in a previous baseball game. The crowd graphics are pretty standard as far as today's sports games go.

Gameplay: 9
Excellent. Minus some small problems such as the difficulty level of stealing (Mo Vaughn could probably steal 70 bases if you wanted him to), and some minor glitches (home runs called foul [but still counting as HRs], strange injuries [a player not even involved in the play has a broken finger all of a sudden], some fielders having weak arms, and some other odds and ends), its all there. It is like sitting in your favorite ballpark and watching a real game.

Gameplay sound effects: 9
Sound. There really isn't anything wrong with it. From the crowd, vendors, PA announcer, anything, its all clear. A favorite has to be the player-specific crowd taunts (ex. for Nomar Garciaparra at an away stadium- ''I can hit better than you Nomar!'' Very cute. The commentary is just average, with some repitions and stupid things said (game calling mistakes, single is a double, a pop up is ''hammered!'', and other small things. This prevents the game from getting a 10.

Franchise mode: 10
The best I have EVER seen, in ANY sports game. Think of the best one you can. Forget it. WSB 2K3 gets it in a headlock and gives it a noogie. Anything you can imagine. Send underachievers to the minors, and call up a star. Playing well? Your team will get more income from fans. If your not, watch out. Your fans won't come, your income will drop, and your players will get upset, and likely not resign contracts. There is even a Hall of Fame! Along with the standard All Star game and any stat category you can think of, including updated career stats, this has EVERYTHING!

Presentation: 10
The ESPN license makes this game that much better. You can choose from just about any Sportscenter or Baseball Tonight theme song you can think of as your background menu music. The menus are set up like the ones you would see on TV, including how to navigate them (the BottomLine). Can't ask for much more here.

Challenge/Replay Value: 9
This game can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. There are sliders to adjust how the game plays, similar to the Madden games. There are different types of hitting, from just hitting one button (timed hitting), lining up a cursor (normal), or Power Pro Hitting (timing a swing exactly right by holding down a button and releasing it at the right moment). Like I said, the easiest thing in this game is stealing, but if you don't abuse it, there really is no problem, is there? As you progress in the franchise, players retire, contracts run out, anything you can think of that happens in real life. New players enter the league, and your players' stats increase or decreased based on their performance and potential ratings. Very deep. The replay value is the best I've seen in a sports game.

Extra options/modes: 10
Each team has at least 2 or 3 retro (throwback) jerseys. Sega even went as far as contacting the MLBPA about creating fake retro jerseys for the newer teams, thus guessing what the older ones may have looked like! The Big League Challenge serves as the Home Run Derby mode. It is basically just that, and if you've ever seen it on TV, you know it is a tournament that pits the power hitters against each other in a baseball game style format. There is a Sega Sports Challenge, in which you play games, and based on how well you do, get a code to submit to Sega's website to see where you compare to the best players in the world!

Overall: 8
Best baseball game I have played since the original Ken Griffey Jr. game on SNES. It has everything I expected, with much room for improvement. Some things I'd like to see next year are things like replays from other games, an in-game BottomLine with updated scores from around the league, real-time updating scoreboards in the stadiums, better player models, better batting stances (another gripe I didn't mention, many are way off), and the glitches to be fixed. But, I am not complaining!

Buy or rent: Buy!
I didn't rent it, and neither should you. If you want the true ''baseball experience'', go with World Series Baseball 2K3 by Sega Sports. It is a game truly worth a measly 50 dollars, as it will be enjoyed for hours by anybody!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/24/03, Updated 04/24/03

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