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All-Star Baseball 2003

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Acclaim
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:

'All-Star 2002 is a poly-by-poly port of the PS2 version, which is a good thing since the PS2 version doesn't look all that shabby. Each of the players are modeled nicely, right down to the various batting stances of player and the stadiums look great. The presentation is definitely the best I have seen so far. It is very detailed right down to the mascots dancing on the dugouts and the umpire's 'waiting' animations. '

Sound familiar? This is my review from last year's version of All-Star Baseball. I was blown away last year, and this year it only got better. My two biggest problems last year were the crummy looking crowds and choppy player animations. This year, Acclaim seems to have gotten everything worked out. The players all move with a smoothness that is about as natural as a game can get. Oh, did I mention the crowds? OH MY GOD do they look awesome! While they are still 2D, the developers used shots of real people - whether they are the developers, or just people from the local trailer park, I couldn't tell you - but the effect is great and takes the game one step closer to looking like the real thing.

The commentary is some of the best I have heard this side of a Sega Sports title. I do not know who Acclaim hired as their sound team, but these guys deserve a raise because, for once, it seems like they actually 'got it'. The commentary, for once, sounds like a real presentation. What I found interesting was that the commentators were not just limited to what was going on in the game and would often go off into little tangents about other teams in the league just like in a real game.


Gameplay:

All-Star 2003 is the best version of the game yet. There are a few problems that need to be ironed out, but this is baseball at its best. Again, Acclaim has gone beyond the call of duty in bringing fans what they want. The 10 different modes in All-Star run the full gamut, from Franchise, Season, Career - it's all here. Over the course of your season, the game keeps track of every stat known to man, trade, injury and scratch the players make. All the game needs is a pre- and post game version of SportsCenter. As if the game couldn't get any deeper, you can choose to play through numerous season types like a 162 game season, 81 game season, a 87 game round-robin tournament...again, if you want it, you got it.

All-Star also includes every major award a player can win, including the Golden Glove award and Cy Young award. The game also keeps track of awards and mentions them in the commentary.

Oh yeah - in addition to all these cool features, you can play a great game of baseball against the computer or a friend.


Difficulty:

All-Star offers three difficulty levels, Rookie, Veteran and All-Star, all of which fit nicely - in other words, Rookie will give you an easy game while All-Star will give you a hard time. My only complaint that seemed to appear in every difficulty was the computer's outfielders. This was also a problem I had with last year's version - no matter where the ball was going, the computer's outfielders always seemed to be right in the area to catch the ball while mine, which were also controlled by the computer - don't even seem to realize they're playing. The computer is prone to the occasional error and will miss catches, but it does not happen nearly enough.

Game Mechanics:

Control is just as good as it was last year, and actually manages to make a few improvements. The most noticeable one has to be the larger 'bat' icon. Last year, the triangle was a tad small, which made batting a painful. All-Star also offers an 'Easy Bat' option which requires you to time the button press to the ball. As I mentioned, fielding does leave a little to be desired when allowing the computer to control your players - so I recommend switching to manual.

As good as it is, All-Star did present one major problem - it takes about 151 blocks to save either a Franchise or Expansion game. The problem is that the standard memory card only has 59 blocks. I do not know if this was an oversight, but it's a bit of a problem, and kind of careless. But, despite this All-Star 2003 is still an excellent game overall.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo GameCube All-Star Baseball 2002 Nintendo GameCube Big Air Freestyle

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated