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May 9, 2002
All-Star Baseball 2003 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Gamecube screens, PS2 is very close.
One of the biggest surprising games last year due to the unexpected quality was Acclaim's All-Star Baseball 2002. Despite some horrifically large borders in the PAL version the game was absolutely tremendous fun, and kudos must go to Acclaim for bringing it out in PAL territories. As with most sports games the developers have released their yearly update of All-Star Baseball which shows plenty of potential. Although I can't yet confirm the situation about the borders yet there are plenty more upgrades that should make this an essential purchase in any case.

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Preparing for the pitch.
Owners of last years game will know how much Acclaim packed into one little disc. This year's version looks better. All-Star Baseball 2003 includes official in-game Donruss player trading cards enables users to collect, trade and unlock cheats. The game includes 10 game modes: Exhibition, Season, Career, Franchise, Expansion, All-Star Game, Series, Manager, Home Run Derby and Batting Practice. This is an impressive list and just shows how much effort Acclaim are putting into a very American title.

As you probably noticed the 2003 game includes an all-new Expansion Play allows baseball fanatics to choose a city, stadium and team logo and add that team into Major League Baseball. Once again Acclaim are using a 3-man broadcast booth with Bob Brenly, Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons for the most in-depth commentary. To round it off Acclaim are including a National Baseball Hall of Fame team featuring your favourite sluggers from the past like Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Yogi Berra.

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A stunning diving catch.
As with last years game Acclaim are certain to ensure that the graphics and animation of the players is of very high quality. The game will move at a solid 50fps and includes 30 Major League teams and over 900 players all with official stadiums, logos and uniforms. Speaking of stadiums Acclaim are promising over 50 stadiums to choose from including 8 classic stadiums and 10 expansion stadiums. Last years game included 130 unique player-batting stances, 50 pitching deliveries, and over 1500 motion captured animations. This sequel should better that by some distance and while the surrounding screenshots are from the Gamecube version apparently the PS2 game is pretty close in quality.

With no Baseball game in PAL territories from Electronic Arts, fans of the sport are left with two options. 3DO's High Heat Baseball, which was released in late April, has solid enough gameplay, but very PSOne-ish looking graphics. Acclaim's effort on the other hand looks like a much more solid package all round. With many enhancements and additions over last years game, All-Star Baseball 2003 should be an essential purchase for Baseball fans. Any other sports game fan, which is almost everyone, should at least consider adding this game in their PS2 collection. You won't be disappointed.