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by Acclaim

c24-01.jpg (3458 bytes)Even though it might be too cold outside to go play baseball (unless you are a diehard that doesn’t 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.

c09-01.jpg (5174 bytes)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.

c18-01.jpg (6094 bytes)All 30 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.

c07-01.jpg (6264 bytes)The real 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.

c01-01.jpg (6356 bytes)For the 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 couldn’t 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.

c02-01.jpg (7005 bytes)The 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.

c03-01.jpg (7041 bytes)Every time 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.

c17-01.jpg (7419 bytes)As 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.

c11-01.jpg (8368 bytes)All-Star 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. 

Jake Carder   (01/15/2002)


Ups: Simple controls; full MLBA rosters.

Downs: Inept AI; choppy animation; commentary.

Platform: text