High Heat Baseball 2004 (xbox) review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JustinT, Mar 15, 2003.

  1. JustinT

    JustinT Stunt Coordinator

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    I didn't see any individual review threads for this game, and the search function is currently disabled, so here is my review of HH 2004.

    I've been playing this game a lot for the past week, and think that it is the best baseball game that I have ever played. But I had to tweak a lot of the settings and game options before I really got the game to play the way I like. Before I do my review, I am going to talk about all the settings that I have changed.

    Pitch Speeds: If you go into the tuning menu, you can adjust the speeds at which the players run, throw, pitch, etc. The first time I played the game I felt that the pitching was too slow and too easy to hit. I bumped up the speeds for each of the individual pitches from about 50% all the way up to about 80%. This makes the game more challenging, but still playable, IMO.

    The Action Camera: This is my biggest gripe with the game. The action camera is turned on by default, but is very annoying. Any time the ball approaches one of your players, whether it be a throw, a grounder, or a fly ball, the camera zooms in on that player. This is especially frustrating when you have a runner caught in a pickle, since the camera zooms in on the fielder and you have no idea where the runner is. This can be easily turned off by going into the "Home/Visitor Settings" menu, but I have not figured out a way to save it so that the action camera is always turned off. I have to turn it off everytime I start a new game, which is kind of a pain.

    Game Options: I have to make a few adjustments to this menu everytime I play as well (again, you can't save these settings, WTF). I bump up the game speed from normal to fastest. This just speeds up the pace of the game, by not showing the infielders throwing it around the horn, etc. I also turn on the pitcher warm up option, which forces you to warm up pitchers in the bullpen before you bring them in.

    Now for the review:

    Graphics: The graphics are really not that bad, and don't take away from the game at all. Some of the individual player models, batting stances, pitching techniques are perfect. (See Gary Sheffield, Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina) Other player models are pretty generic. The player faces aren't that spectacular.

    Gameplay: I just continue to be impressed with the gameplay of this game. Everything seems to timed so well. Baserunner speeds, arm strength of outfielders, etc is PERFECT. Try scoring from second on a basehit to right when Vladimir Guerrero is out there. Not gonna happen. Sac flys, sac bunts, double plays, hit and runs, going first to third on a hit to the outfield. I've seen Alex Rodriguez make a diving play in the hole, throw the ball from his knees to first, where the first basemen scooped it out of the dirt for the out. Incredible. I am amazed at how well all the subtleties of the game are executed in this game. If you are really a fan of baseball, this game will have you grinning from ear to ear.

    Franchise Mode: Unfortunately you can only have one franchise going at a time. I started a season with my roomate where we did a fantasy draft. You can choose a few salary cap options, whether it be market size (your team gets a salary cap equal to how big it's city is), the same cap for every team, or a variable option where you pick how much money you want. We have already played through a whole season (we simmed all the games against the computer, and played all the games against eachother in the same division). Our teams finished in last and second to last in the AL East, so I guess we've got some work to do. But in the offseason, we were able to promote people from the minors, sign free agents, and make trades.

    This game has plenty of game modes to keep anybody busy for a long time. If they could find a way to fix the issues I have with saving game data, I wouldn't have any complaints about this game. Highly recommended if you are a baseball fan.
     
  2. Jeffrey_Scotts

    Jeffrey_Scotts Stunt Coordinator

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    From my previous post - I thought since this is a HH thread I'd post it here.

    I have been playing HH 2004 for the XBox the past 4 days. To answer the question, yes, the XBox version does indeed support connection to XBox-Live for updated rosters and patches (says so on front of box too.) Here's the scoop on it after playing:

    1. Still the best game for serious baseball fans. Nothing else comes close to the A.I. and system.

    2. The initial rosters are WAY off for some teams and very lacking. Some players are even out of position. Take for instance the Cubs. Most of the AAA players are not the same and the leave off a major league catcher for them Damian Miller. He was announced way back in December for playing with the Cubs, so it's not like it was last minute. This guy isn't even in the farm system and must be created. Next, we have 1B Hee Sop Choi, whom they have as playing LF for the Cubs. He has never been a LF player and always at 1B, therefore a major oversight, but easily corrected by editing the roster. I sight these as examples, but you will find a few others on teams like Cardinals, Diamondbacks, etc. that need updated.

    3. So far I don't see any updates on XBox-Live to fix the issues above. A roster update is certainly needed, but about 90% is correct for the major league. The AAA is more like 70% correct at best for some teams, so a lot of editing and creation is needed if they don't fix this soon.

    4. The animation seems jerkey when swinging. It doesn't look natural as the batter is slow to swing through. Also, notice how long it takes the bat to go back up to his shoulder after a swing. The motion here is bad and the 2003 version looked better.

    5. Players don't look good at all. In fact, some players look blurry in the face. Sammy Sosa doesn't look even close. Animations such as home run actions, such as Sosa's trade mark "pop and hop" is poor. He does the pop and then a short one leg, one step hop. This is not how he does it for anyone that's seen him play. Plus, it looks like they just cut it off and didn't finish it. Other player models for the home run is not very good either, but a little better, such as Bonds.

    6. Stadiums look better and crowds look better.

    7. The pitchers certainly have better pitch types that mimic real life pitches they actually throw. Such as: Moving Fastball, Hard Sliders, Circle Change, etc.

    8. A HUGE amount of control over managing a team. If you have a favorite team, I'm sure the game will make up for the cruddy graphics and rosters. You can control just about everything. New is a franchise mode that let's you manage the ownership of a team. Everything from teams salary caps to buying and trading contracts is offered.

    9. A few minor bugs such as: if you select to turn on notices of injuries to stop the game, the menu will come up to substitue player but once you've done so will stay visible unless you hit pause to bring up the game menu and then unpause it.

    10. It feels rushed in my opinion. They should've held this until at least June to ship. The game needs better rosters and certainly a patch for the minor bugs.

    Bottom line:

    Despite the problems listed above, I have seen most of the others, but not all as some are still Betas. High Heat is still what you want if you are a SERIOUS baseball fan and want to stay with one team or maybe just two or three at most. You will not find pretty graphics or even well done animations. You will need to either wait for the updates to come by XBox-Live or edit yourself. For me, it was as simple as going to a web site and editing the rosters one afternoon. If on the other hand you are just a casual baseball fan and would rather hit home runs and just play one on one games and not manage or play a full season then you will most likely want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, it's still the best and we can only hope XBox-Live will come through with patches for the rosters at least.

    Update: 2-15-03

    After playing it for some time now, there are a few more issues.

    1. The audio will cut short at times while the announcer is saying something. It's random and nothing you can pin point. Happens with a friends copy as well.

    2. The announcing is mostly the same for the past two years. Can't they add more to it? GEEZ!!! I thought sure we would have moved past where it was when it first came out on the PS2, but instead little has changed from the 2003 game to the 2004. Very poor in this area.

    3. Camera angles can be a problem at times, especially fielding. There are a few rare times when a ball will go over an infielder, you can attempt a diving catch, but then loose the view of it if the infielder misses it when the camera switches to the outfield. It seems like it doesn't follow the ball well in this case.

    4. Some pitchers need to be edited. Pitch speeds need bumped up for some players to reflect their actual real life fast ball velocity.

    5. Despite all this, still feels more realistic to play than any other game title at this time. WSB is way better for graphics and certain things, but HH is for those of us that are SERIOUS baseball fans.
     
  3. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    Something I don't get: if HH is so serious about baseball how could they not get the rosters straight? It seems to me like the last year or two they've been resting on their laurels and getting sloppy. I'm a pretty hardcore baseball fan but I don't want to spend afternoons fixing rosters, etc. Would you still reccomend Heat Heat or should I look elsewhere?

    Or maybe I should put it this way: if I'm not a hardcore High Heat player, should I invest in this year's version or try one of the others?
     
  4. JustinT

    JustinT Stunt Coordinator

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    Todd,

    I've never been a HH player, in fact, the last baseball game that I played a lot was WSB. I bought HH without playing it and am not dissapointed.

    Jeffrey,

    Sounds like your issues with the camera can be fixed by turning off the action cam.
     
  5. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    I was going to wai till may for the live baseball games, but i needed a game to start the season so i picked up high heat. I played 1 game last night and it was pretty good. Im gonna play some more today

    capt
     

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