Even though it might be too cold
outside to go play baseball (unless you are a diehard that doesnt let that keep you
away), there is a solution to keep in mind. All-star Baseball 2002 by Akklaim might not be
the best baseball game ever, but it is the best the cube has to offer. It will be a
short-term fix until a better-finished game comes along.
All-Star Baseball, a respected
franchise for the N64, breaks its cleats into the miniature disk world of the Gamecube.
Walking a fine line between being an arcade game and a simulation, it tries to please
everyone. Unfortunately die-hard fans might seem left out. This game might be best suited
for baseball fans that are playing their first baseball game on a console.
teams are represented, which brings the total to an excess of 700 individual players.
Pedro Martinez and Barry Bonds are just a few of the big name ball players you can
control. If you play sports the way I play, then what better way to represent your
favorite team than having yourself on the roster? Having control to create a player in
your image increases the willingness to succeed. And to ensure that you cannot create
someone who is perfect in every category, limits have been set on how many attribute
points you can disperse amongst the categories.
depth of the game lies within the season mode. In the season mode you can take control of
the mantle of General Manager giving you control over what players you want on your team.
Players can be acquired through the means of free agency, trades and the draft. Depending
on how much you want to play, the schedule can be set up a variety of ways. The biggest
schedule has 162 games in it. That right there is enough replay value to last you longer
than most of the games you have in your current library. If that seems a bit long for you
then the minimum of 29 might just suit you fine. If you do not want to test your skills in
the season mode to win your championship, you can play just the World Series mode. At the
end of a season members of your team could be awarded the cy young, MVP, or golden glove
awards for their performance over the season.
casual gamer there is a single game exhibition option if you are not concerned about all
the technical aspects of the game and just want to play. There is also the ability to play
with three friends in some multi-player action. After all, your friends couldnt be
worse than the computer when it is trying to make things easier for you. This AI needs to
be sent down to the minors. Whether its fielding or base running, there is a tendency for
the computer to do the wrong thing for you. The biggest problem is the blatant
inconstancies such as when you hit a ball towards deep center guaranteeing you at least a
double, the computer overruns first base. This is not as bad as the lack of concentration
on the computer. The computer controlled players on the field will wander around--often in
the direction away from the play. This AI severely hampers the play-ability of the game.
Gamecube version of All-Star Baseball has shown improvements in the eye candy department
when compared to its PS2 counterpart. Players are modeled to be realistic-- within reason.
The over 120 various batting stances demonstrate the variety available. Pitchers fatigue
with each pitch and with time will really show that they are loosing steam. Some of the
animations have stuttering to them. The most spectacular part of the game is the accurate
portrayal of the stadiums. All 30 stadiums have all the little details that their real
counterparts share such as fountains-- and more importantly-- the distance to the fences
in the outfield.
a sports game comes out with no commentary we make note that it is absent and should be
there, but for the most part if a game does have commentary we complain because it is
inaccurate and a nuisance. One day we will have a commentary we can live with. All-Star
Baseball 2002 does not help the situation at all. Many times the commentator miscalls
plays and the people making or missing them. The PA announcer is the same. Whenever a new
batter is up to the plate he will announce their name. There are times though the batter
he is naming will have already batted and the next one is at the plate.
mentioned earlier, this game is designed for those who are just getting their feet dirty
in sports games. The controls solidify this by having one of the easiest to manage control
systems in a game. For example, the batting no longer represents the hit spot with a small
circle; it is now a pennant shaped triangle with the "sweet spot" designated
within. The same improvements can be said for the pitching. There is a simple menu
designating the style of pitch. The strategy is all on how you place the ball, not how
much you can press a button.
Baseball reeks of a game that was rushed out to the market. Having one of the quirkiest AI
seen for some time, this AI makes the game seem less like pro material and more like the Bad
News Bears. The computer tries to help but hinders. The rest of the game is nowhere
near as bad as the AI, but it is not enough to raise the value of the game. Until the next
baseball game comes along, this is the only option out there.