Xbox World Series Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug Miller, May 22, 2002.

  1. Doug Miller

    Doug Miller Supporting Actor

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    Here's my initial review for Sega's new World Series Baseball. I'd been waiting for this game for awhile, in the meantime enjoying All Star Baseball. That being said, here we go...

    I don't like it. The graphics are much better than All Star Baseball, but the gameplay just doesn't do it for me. For all the things I didn't like about All Star Baseball (the graphics, and fielding), I realized after playing World Series Baseball, that All Star was a better game than I thought.

    I've played 2 full games so far this afternoon, the same number of games I played before I posted the review for All Star. The things that I really didn't like about World Series will follow:

    - The pitching is awkward. Instead of using one of the 10,000 buttons on the control to chose a pitch, you use the direction pad and "A". You don't have a lot of freedom to set a pitch, or move it as you go. Instead, you have to use the joystick to line it up where you are trying to get it. You let go of the joystick, and it pops back to dead center plate.

    - Hitting just isn't as fun. With All Star, you can aim to all parts of the field. You can toggle between an extra power swing and a conservative one. From what I can tell with World Series, you only have one swing (with no direction control) and have to set the cursor where you think the ball will go. (I'm not the best manual reader, just let me play the damn game -- that's why I play a game or two to get the hang of it.) Consequently, you don't have the ability to grow your skills at hitting to opposite field, etc.

    - Clunky feel. Wha-?! What I mean here is that the ball is hit, you get it, throw to base. Hit, run, whatever, it just seems like you don't have a lot of control over the actions. It seems like for every minute of screen time, I only get to do something for about 10 seconds. Play it, and you'll see what I mean.

    - Roster. Let me get this straight. It's May. Baseball has been going strong for almost 2 months. Why do the Mariners still have Alex Arias and some other dude I've never heard of before? Where's Gipson and Luis Ugeto?! I shouldn't have to create characters in the middle of the season -- I can deal with it and accept it when a game comes out in Spring Training, but May? Give me a break!

    - The Home Run Derby is insultingly easy. You can't move the cursor, it stays in the middle, you just time the swing. If I hadn't turned the game off, I would still be hitting home runs.

    Overall? I'm sticking with All Star. I'm almost tempted to trade in World Series for Triple Play. I know I used to enjoy that game quite a bit, it's a bit more arcade, which has it's place on some days. Feel free to post some reviews/comparisons to Triple Play in this post too.

    Anyone else buy this yet?
    Doug
     
  2. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

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    I bought this today and haven't had a chance to play it yet. I'll post my thoughts tomorrow after i've played it a little...Doug, Can you create a custom team?
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the initial review, Doug.

    I'm a big ASB fan from the N64 days and I just bought an XBox. I was going to spring for ASB 2003 but wanted to see what the word was on WSB.

    Matthew, please do post your feelings when you get a chance. I thought I was going to try WSB but from the sound of it (and assuming the ASB for XBox is something close to ASB for the N64) it looks like I'm going back to ol' faithful.
     
  4. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Blast, I didn't want to hear this news. [​IMG]
    Dan
     
  5. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I bought it today and will start playing it in about 5 minutes. I'll post more tomorrow. Basically, I think this game can't be as boring as ASB. I played that for a full 5 day rental and was yawning the entire time. We'll see if things are different for this one.
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I'd like to add that the most important thing for me in baseball game is the pitcher batter interface. That's what I loved about WSB 95 for the Sega Genesis, and for ASB 1999-2001 on the N64. Is WSB's better/worse in terms of realism of ball movement, placement, pitch selection (i.e. pitchers can only throw what's in their repertoire)?

    I usually turn autofielding on because I've never been good at it. I like to control the fielder right after they've got the ball and direct where to throw it.
     
  7. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    I was pretty bored with WSB2K2 on DC. I still have the most fun with WSB on Saturn (Which is really almost too arcadey though).

    No fans of High Heat?
     
  8. Doug Miller

    Doug Miller Supporting Actor

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    I've played a few more games. Same review applies. I just now got an actual base hit. I make a lot of contact but the opposing side is always there to make the catch. I've hit one home run on a fluke.

    In regards to questions. The ball movement is fine, the pitches seem to react the way they should. The thing that's missing is that it says the pitcher fatigues, but he doesn't have a fatigue meter of any kind and seems to maintain a consistent strike zone. With All Star the pitcher gets tired and his pitches lose velocity, and accuracy goes down the toilet -- I really don't see that here.

    I like the point of view of the batter in World Series, I feel like I have a better look at the ball... but I just keep popping out everywhere. Again, with All Star you can aim the cursor into the ground to jam the hit into the infield; you can adjust the cursor up to hit a sac fly, etc.

    The franchise mode seems fun, I like that it says that "Joe Smith" is a hot prospect, do you want to sign him, etc, but it's just not enough for me.

    Doug
     
  9. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    That's what makes video games so much fun...everybody can agree to disagree.

    I have played three games now...one on Rookie, two on Pro (haven't tried All-Star). I just finished a 5 day rental of ASB prior to this one coming out so I can be fresh on my review. Take this with a grain of salt because I don't OWN ASB, so the nuances may have escaped me.

    With all that being said. I really like WSB so far. Graphically, the difference between this and ASB is night and day. It is WAAAAYYYY nicer looking than ASB. In fact, it is so good looking you may catch yourself looking into the sky and watch the clouds going by (I did!). The stadiums have incredible detail and it's just absolutely georgeous.

    I much prefer the sound in WSB to ASB as well. In this game, the umpire actually speaks! You clearly hear strikes and balls called as well as safe and out. You don't have to wait for the announcers. The sound is so good that while playing with Nomar Garciaparra a guy in the croud yelled "Hey Nomar, how's the wrist?"

    The batter/pitcher interface is from behind the plate. I don't know if you can switch to a perspective from behind the pitcher as of yet. Here is how it works. When batting, depending on the difficulty level and your settings you will either have a large batting icon, medium or small. Simply put the cursor over the ball to hit it. There are two key differences between this and ASB. No matter whether your batter is a power hitter or singles hitter, the icon is the same size and you cannot choose a power stroke or a singles stroke. Another difference between this and ASB is you can actually dissern a ball from a strike when the pitch leaves the pitchers hand. In ASB, you basically have to guess. I think it's much easier to hit in WSB, although "successful" hitting isn't prolific.

    As for pitching, your pitcher comes equipped with whatever arsenal of pitches he has in real life. If a pitcher only throws a fastball and slider, that's all you get to choose from here. You need to choose the pitch first using the bottom left thumbpad and directional. Then you use the upper left thumbpad to aim the pitch. It's tricky, I will agree, but once you hit the A button to select location, it doesn't matter if the tracking goes back to the center. He'll throw it where you aimed. As for fatigue, there is a meter in the upper right part of the screen. Pitchers do not fatigue nearly as quick here as in ASB, so that can be good or bad depending on your point of view.

    Fielding is much easier on WSB. The main complaint I had with ASB was that every ground ball made my infielders double clutch and it was not smooth looking at all. Routine grounders were often way too close for comfort. The animation of fielding is so smooth in WSB, you will feel like you are watching a live broadcast. Fielders routinely charge balls they are suppose to charge and watching them field a shorthop and sling the ball sidearm to first is a joy....much better than ASB. There are also way fewer spectacular grabs in the outfield here. I hated hitting a ball into the gap on ASB and watch the outfielder catch the ball from out of nowhere when it looked like he could never get there. Not so here.

    Likes/Dislikes

    Well, I dislike the fact you cannot pull up an in-game box score. I also dislike the fact that when you need to bring in a relief pitcher, you don't have to warm up a bullpen guy first. You just bring in the guy totally cold and he's pretty effective. That's not realistic. I like the fact that starting pitchers have more stamina here than in ASB. However, I don't like the fact that they maintain pretty good control even when fatiguing. I like the fact that every batter has a hot/cold zone so you know where to pitch him. I like the fact that the umpire sometimes blows a call, both on the basepaths and calling balls and strikes. Once in a while you will miss by a small margin, but he'll still call it a strike. I also like that the same hot/cold meter keeps a recall of previous pitches, so you know how the pitchers been trying to set you up. I don't like that the game takes a long time to play. My 12 inning game using the franchise mode took over an hour. There is no "FAST" setting like on ASB.

    Basically, I would say this is a must rental just for the graphics and sound. The commentary is nothing spectacular but feels a little bit better than ASB. For instance, I brought in Mike Timlin for relief and the commentator knew he lived in Oklahoma. Thought that was cool. The franchise mode seems like a blast. You have a salary cap, have to buy your entire coaching staff ( you can skimp on a terrible minor league scouting developer and he'll recommend bogus players. Buy a bad pitching coach or hitting coach and your young players don't develop as fast.

    Honestly, I like this game a lot more than ASB because I think it's more fun. Looks way better too. I'm pretty critical of baseball games and this one is good. It's not perfect...but seems to have a good blend of gameplay and simulation. Take that for what it's worth. My .02
     
  10. Andrew s wells

    Andrew s wells Second Unit

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    Doug... on the home run derby, if you havent already take it off rookie level. it even says on the side its very hard NOT to hit home runs on that difficulty.[​IMG]
    I just bought the game today, and i must say, IMO it returns to the glary days of saturns world series 98.
    High praise indeed. basically took all that was wrong (at least from what i have played so far) with world series 2k2,corrected it,and added MANY new features to the game. Farnchise mode alone is worth the price of admission. If you are unsure,give it a rent, but i would say for sure, this is a must buy game. I love it so far.[​IMG]
     
  11. Dan B

    Dan B Screenwriter

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    I just read that this game is Game of the Month in the newest Electronic Gaming Monthly. From a post in the IGN Boards:
     
  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the alternate viewpoint, Evan. I guess we differ because I find it fairly easy to hit in ASB 1999-2001. I even took a year off and tried ASB 2002 on the PS2 at the Sony Metreon in S.F. Within 2 batters I was reliably making contact and by the third inning I jacked a HR with my power hitter. I guess I'm used to ASB's style, and I always play on All Star Level (turn off the strike zone indicator, pitch location indicator, and I use power swings until I have 2 strikes).

    Shoot, looks like I'm going to have to try and rent these two before buying. Ballbuster just got $12 from me.
     
  13. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Just read the next post, boy that really is terrible about the position player striking out people. I think ASB2001 wouldn't let you put a position player on the mound, asking you to sub a pitcher (and I never used all 7 relievers so I don't know what happens after you run out).
    If anything, I am so excited for next year's games. ASB was king of the hill on the N64 and rested on its laurels, making only minor improvements through the series. Even on PS2, Triple Play was regarded as Arcadey, so they really didn't compete. I'm glad there's another game out there with an immersive pitcher/batter interface. Hopefully these two will bring out the best out of their respective programmers due to a little healthy competition. [​IMG]
     
  14. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

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    Finally played around with this last night. I should let you all know that when i play sports games, i'm looking for realism in every way. If there are too many home runs, hits, strikeouts, etc., I don't likey. So if you're into arcade-style baseball games, you probably won't agree with me here.
    So far WSB is pretty dang good. The graphics and sound are excellent. Gameplay is realistic enough, I've played Triple Play 2002 for xbox and WS seems a little more "choppy", but good. I don't know, I'm not a huge graphics freak, so i could be wrong here.
    The franchise mode is cool. The only thing i don't like is that it seems to limit you to 25 created players on your roster. I like to create a whole team from scratch. With the 25 man limit, you end up with leftover guys from the MLB team you're playing with. That's right, i haven't found a way to "create a team", which i thought was supposed to be included with this game. [​IMG]
    Another nitpicky thing i found is that when you name players, it only gives you 6 or 7 letters for the last name. I hate that.
    Overall, i like this much more that TPB so far. Much more realistic, i haven't played All-Star Baseball.
     
  15. Frank_W

    Frank_W Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, here is my take. I have played ASB for XBOX a lot
    as well. I picked up WSB and played 5 full games using AllStar mode.

    Likes ....
    -I love the sound in this game
    -Pitch counts actually matter (ASB goes by batters faced)
    -Graphics are very good (but does not 'blow away' ASB by
    any stretch).
    -Pitch/Bat Interface is pretty good
    -Defense control and animation is very good (except for one
    major problem I'll get to soon)
    -A lot more foul balls - which is good
    -Walks are easier to give and get - very important
    -Franchise mode is really nice
    -The games move at a good pace

    Dislikes...
    -No need to warm up a reliever (kills the strategy somewhat)
    -AI running is horrible. Example I gave up a deep fly ball
    and the runner on 3rd NEVER tagged up. This happens also
    on 2nd to home or 1st to third. It just runs from bag
    to bag. Also pop ups in the infield are made and I can
    easily double up if someone is on base. (Killer for me).
    -Cannot jump on defense. Deep ball to the wall and I cannot
    make a leaping attempt to pull it in.
    -Cannot save season to season if you are in franchise.
    -Cut off throws are very hard to make
    -Forcing me to use the joystick is awful (personal opinion)


    All in all it is not a bad game - but not great either.
    The AI base running problem kills it for me in the end. I
    just don't see how that was missed. I suggest renting it
    first, along side with ASB to make a decision. I'm going
    to give it a week and see how it goes.
     
  16. Damien

    Damien Supporting Actor

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    i've been monitoring this game non stop for the last 3 months and it irks me this game is getting mixed reviews. If you read IGN's previews and gamespots designer diaries with VC this was supposed be THE baseball game to own. It dumbfounds me that they would put in such a huge franchise mode and neglect to have a jump button and cut-off man throw?! No power/contact, no hitting tilt, no pitch guess, plus why can't they use the diamond on the X-box to control the baserunning/throwing? Then you can't warmup pitchers and the AI is dumb and some stances/faces are off? There is NO reason why these elementary flaws wouldn't be fixed for the most powerful game system out. None of these problems are on the all-star games on the N64(!), why do they appear here BTW I don't have X-box, I'm getting one Monday. There is a little temptaion to get a PS2 and see how high heat is because I need a nice, mechanically sound bb game to play during the summer. But i know it lacks a franchise and is not anything to look at, so how is that game?
     
  17. Rob Varto

    Rob Varto Supporting Actor

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    I bought this game this afternoon. Thank God I bought it from Electronic Botique... so I can return it! Im really disappointed with this game. I was really looking forward to a great console baseball game with Franchise play. I consider myself a baseball snob - I know the game inside and out and I look for as close to realism as you can get with my computer / console games. That said, here are my likes/disklikes
    Likes:
    Franchise Mode: bar none, it's the best around
    Graphics are very nice
    Sound is cool (crowd is into it - and makes smartass comments [​IMG] )
    Dislikes:
    Control - Defensively, nice but when trying to hit, forget it. It's easy to rundown the ball on defense, but the throwing motion leaves something to be desired.
    Hitting: forget it, it sucks with that cursor
    This game goes back tomorrow.
     
  18. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    So guys, as an owner of all the Cube, PS2 and X-Box, what currently stands as the best baseball game you can buy? Are any other baseball games coming soon? I'd so hoped WSB would be THE one to buy..

    Dan
     
  19. Brian O

    Brian O Second Unit

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    High Heat is a solid choice if you dont need the very latest eye candy. On the PC, it is the best baseball game period. The PS2 version has better graphics but less resolution. The Pitcher/Batter Interface is known to be the best available in any game.

    The PC version is the recommended one for me because of the Tune file that allows you to tailor the game to your liking and experience. Also, there are many mods you can download online that include stadiums, uniforms, sounds, music, animation, rosters.

    I have been looking forward to World Series on the Xbox but it sounds like there are too many flaws. Baserunner AI is a killer for me. I understand that Allstar has always had that problem too.
     
  20. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    High Heat it is then! Thanks, Brian. I'll check out the PC version first then, I like the idea you can download new aspects for it. Heck maybe I will be a chump and get it on PC and PS2. Since Baseball has such a minor following over here, High Heat 2003 on PS2 can be had for as little as £15.99. I wonder why 3D0 are not bringing it to the x-box?

    How's the GBA version meant to hold up?

    Dan
     

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