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Reviewed: Baseball 2001
Author: Chris Kim       Date: April 23rd 2000
Page: 3

As with typical sports games, the multiplayer options are extremely limited. The lone multiplayer option is to hook up with another person to play hot seat on the same computer using different input devices. There are no internet, modem, or LAN options for multiplayer. When hooking up for some multiplayer action, the game is a ton of fun and adds some extra strategies and depth to the game.

Another strong point about the game is a solid foundation for the AI. In conjunction with the realistic batting/pitching interface, the AI makes a very fair and challenging game that is usually played very close. The pitcher will combine various types of pitches and locations to keep the player guessing, as should the player do likewise when pitching. Should the player pitch some foolish pitches dangerously in a location, expect a homerun or an extra base hit. Also comes in the strategy of managerial situations, when to substitute out tired pitchers or whether to pinch hit/run for a player that isn't as strong in a certain situation that requires the best odds possible. Appropriately, the AI tends to adjust and play according to the player's style and approach. The same mistake is rarely made twice (except on the rookie level).

Pop Up
Throw Him Out!
Follow Through

The manual that comes with the game is incredibly short and lacks any detail. Fortunately, the game's interface is very intuitive and allows the user to grow and learn the functions of the powerful features relatively fast. Similar to how the internet works, many items on the interface can be clicked that will reveal some more information and topics about that subject. This allows for relatively quick finding and ease of use. All of the functions from menu to menu uses a well-designed tab system that is easy to navigate and quick and easy to use. Only slight complaint is that the games that are simulated are slightly slow.

Controlling the players on the field is not too much of a hassle, but not being able to see the ball has a major effect on the game. Using a gamepad was the device of preference as the game was designed from the ground-up for usage of one. Using a gamepad, the control is excellent with very responsive controls and easy to maneuver functions. With either the keyboard or joystick, the control is less than optimal, but with some practice the control can be mastered.

Nice Interface
Pop Foul
Dive for It

One of the largest qualities of the previous year's Baseball 2000 was the graphical quality of the game. Once again, this year's offering provides just as convincing graphics and some improved and smoothed out quality features. Each of the player models is well constructed and has their "cyberfaces" which make them dentifiable on the field. While the cyberfacing isn't as convincing as some of EA Sports' offerings, they still hold their ground with being able to identify most of the players that are pictured. Players all move fluidly and are decently animated. Only if the player models were constructed with a few more polygons, the player models could have looked phenomenal. A lot of them have decent bumps and folding on their uniforms, but not nearly enough to be convincing enough. The ground and field textures in the game are pretty detailed and look like what one would expect a field to look like. Most stadium surroundings are rendered from real-life, but with less detail and precision. If only a little more time was spent into creating a more realistic environment, the graphics would have looked awesome.

Aside from looking good, without 3D Acceleration, the game looks and plays like utter crap. On a 450MHz Celeron, playing in software mode at 640x480 was about the maximum to achieve smooth framerates. Anything higher and say hello to a nice baseball slide show. The problem with 3D Acceleration (as mentioned before) is that it is incredibly buggy and crashes a lot. Shadowing works to its effect and they look decent.

He's Outta There!
And It's Gone!
Double Play

Nothing especially special is offered in the sound department aside from a standard fare. No 3D APIs are used and there isn't a whole lot that really makes the sound so excellent. Typical sounds like bats making contact with the ball and speed pitching with whiffing sounds. There is no musical soundtrack, as is appropriate. For the commentary, it is delivered by Arizona Diamondbacks' announcer Thom Brennaman and is pretty solid. There are lots of cool comments made on the side here and there, but the bug that causes his voice to repeat and loop over itself like a broken record ruins the experience. One nice aspect of the effects were the background ambient voices of the crowd shouting and vendors yelling "Peanuts, Hotdogs!"

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Added:  Sunday, April 23, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 3/5

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