All-Star Baseball 2002 - Review
|24/5/2001||Acclaim||Acclaim Studios Austin||1-4 ||G||$99.95|
|No||Variable||1513 KB||Yes||No ||Large|
Baseball fans can thank god that Acclaim realises that the sport is enjoyed outside the United States, albeit by a minority. While both 3DO and Electronic Arts' titles aren't going to make it to Australia, Acclaim's All-Star Baseball 2002 is available on the shelves right now, and it doesn't disappoint. Fortunately for those who don't really watch or follow the sport closely baseball is one of those sports that you can just pick up and play. Unlike AFL or NFL which have hundreds of complex rules, baseball is, at it's heart, a very simple game.
|The standard in-game viewpoint.|
As you would expect All-Star Baseball 2002 offers a bevvy of gameplay modes including Quick Play, Exhibition, All-Star Game, Season, Series, Home Run Derby and Batting Practice. The Season mode allows anything between a full 162 game season down to a 29 game round robin for those with less time on their hands. Each of the games is also customisable with selectable options such as the stadium, the game time, the weather, the sky as well as the difficulty.
Actually playing All-Star Baseball 2002 is a lot of fun. While batting you can select whether or not you want to go for normal contact or a power swing and while home runs can be scored a little too easily the game only makes it so with the best hitters. Pitching is actually rather mind numbing with your aim and selection of pitches the only choices to be made. Fortunately the pitchers can have a wide selection of pitches, up to six each in fact. These include Fastballs, curveballs, sliders, changeups and much more. As the game wears on your pitcher becomes less accurate and loses the potency of when he is fresh.
|Stadium detail is quite impressive.|
All Star Baseball 2002 gives you the option of having the fielding totally automatic (including throwing) or manual, which is how the game should be played. Unfortunately after a ball has been hit the camera focuses on the ball leaving you wondering where your players are and which way they should be running. 90% of the time there isn't a problem but it always happens when the game is in a tight situation or the bases are loaded. Throwing to the bases is simply determined by pressing the appropriate button on the face of the controller. Another minor problem is that the fielders rarely drop the catches, even when diving for them. This doesn't assits the computer more then human players but it usually means that balls hit into the air will more then likely be caught.
Unfortunately, the running between bases has a few minor problems. Even when there is a big hit into the outfield it usually only results in a single as your runner goes straight past first base without turning for second. It's very annoying, and one aspect of the game that should have been improved prior to release. One of the most impressive features of this game is the amount of detail with the stats for the game. During the entire season the stats are recorded for each and every team.
|This is like a spot the ball photo.|
From the onset All Star Baseball 2002 looks like a winner. Slick menus, intros and in-game graphics abound. Sure, the texture quality on the players and fields should have been a little better, but there is nothing to complain about. The animation on the players, while fielding, pitching or fielding is very impressive. Each batter has his own stance while the variety of different player movements including running, sliding, diving and catching is impressive. Unfortunately the borders in this game are very large. Acclaim obviously didn't believe the sales of the PAL game warranted making the game full screen. But Acclaim if you weren't going to optimise the image for PAL screens to remove the borders, the least you could do is include a full screen 60Hz mode.
Sound-wise Acclaim have done a respectable, if not great job with the game. While the music is pumping and the commentary is detailed there is a distinct lack of background noise and excitement from the crowd. There never seems to be any ongoing excitement during the game, not even when the scores are tied.
|Winding up for the fastball.|
All-Star Baseball 2002 is a great game let down by some average base running AI and large borders on the screen. If your a baseball fan then this looks like the game to own as Electronic Arts have no plans to release their Triple Play series here in Australia yet. Fortunately as a game All-Star Baseball 2002 should keep you very happy for quite a while..
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