Normally, I dislike sports games. In that respect, if I do play one, it has to be an excellent one and force me to keep playing. Very few have done that: Segasports’ NFL and NBA series have done that. So with a pretty good track record with me so far, how could I go wrong with the World Series...ah...series? I did go wrong, but not on a grand scale that left me writhing and curled up in a corner. --I Made It To Third Base-- No matter what Segasports game you purchase, you can be guaranteed of spectacular visuals. I found the overall graphics equal to and even superior to some of the sports games already on the market. The player models were done with extreme care, especially in the faces. Although I couldn’t figure out why they made Mike Piazza thin, with a huge head. Okay, maybe the huge head thing is correct. The stadiums were done to the minor details. Just the stadiums, mind you. The crowds in each of the stadiums were static and didn’t contain much variety. But the stadiums represented their true-life counterparts with good distance perception both in height and width. It was great to see Comisky Park and Wrigley field on my home TV and pick out the seats where I have sat. If only there were Hot Dog vendors in this game. There were two setbacks in regards to looks. The player animations were lackluster. It seemed to me that Sega put a lot of effort into the stadiums, the fields, and the basic character models that they just hurried the animations. The players run realistically, bat realistically, and pitch realistically, but that’s where I feel the animation depth ended. Outfields only seemed to know one way to throw back into the infield and every infielder only knew one way to catch. And no matter how high or low a player threw, whoever was catching the ball caught it at exactly the same level each time. So if it bounced, who knew? Because each time, the player caught it at stomach high. The second setback was the slowdown and it occurred in two places. When there was a throw to the plate, when the ball was halfway there, there was significant slowdown as the player slide into home, the catcher attempt to tag him out, and when the numbers came up to score. I think Sega should have waited for the score to come up before throwing it all into one plate. The other slowdown occurred when there was a throw to one of the bases, especially when someone was stealing a base. By the time you get the ball out of the catcher’s hands (at the time the sluggish graphics took over) the runner was 3/4’s of the way there. Very, very frustrating. Nine times out of ten, I just let the runner steal the base. --Hit Me Baby One More Time-- Or at least try. I will warn you, batting requires much patience. It took me some time to get use to the Right Trigger control as the main source of hitting. You hold the trigger down and release it when you want to swing as you use the analog stick to aim your crosshair. The first few games I played, I probably hit only 3 balls. Maybe it’s just me, but the camera angle makes it hard to gauge pitching angles and release points and there are only three more which are all variations on the same camera. Not once is there one which puts you directly behind the plate. They are all slightly off-center from the plate and I feel this is one of the major downfalls of the hitting aspect of this game. For instance, what I think might be a strike, turns out to be a ball or vice versa. Granted, they are called curves and sliders for a reason, but if some of the pitchers really had that kind of control, there would be more shutouts and no-hitters in real-life than there is now. Probably about 15-20 games into my little season, I read a cheat on-line (at that time I was 1-16 and my main pitcher had a 32.40 ERA) that saved my last place team. In Rookie mode (only this mode) if you lightly press the analog stick as the pitch er is in motion, the crosshair will track the ball for you. Then, all you have to do is swing the bat at the right moment. This helped greatly and I started getting doubles, triples and even some home runs. Now don’t ostracize me. I am now in Pro mode with this help and I think using that hint has assisted with my timing and ball-gauging. (Hehe...I said Ball-Gauging). --I’m A Pitch, I’m A Glover...-- Pitching is decent. With the analog stick, you push it in the direction of the pitch you want, hit A and off you go. Each Mound Hugger has their specialty of pitches and as the game goes on, they get tired and their accuracy, control, and speed deteriorate. You have limited ability to control where you pitch goes. If you do want more control, be careful because the slightest movement of the analog stick will send your ball drastically in the direction. I just let the computer throw the ball and see how things turn out. You can toss pick off throws, hit batters, and intentionally walk someone and that’s about it for the pitching. Ok, just how many times can I say pitch or a derivative of pitch in the same paragraph??? --I Am Mode Man, Simplistic and Uncomplex-- I was really saddened by the lack of modes. I will give you four guess as to what kind of modes are in this game. If you said Exhibition, Quick Play, Season, and Playoff, then you win a copy of this game...if you want it. My only question: Where’s the Home Run Derby mode? Exhibition Allows single or two-play action, letting you select your teams. You can change your line-up if you desire and how the computer plays the defensive players. Quick Play Don’t even worry about what teams to pick. The computer picks them for you so you can just get some sandlot action going. Season Play a season...what did you think this mode was??? Stats are kept, slumps and streaks are montiored, the Al l-Star game is played...just like in real-life. Playoff Not really a mode, but you can go to the playoffs at any point. Just make sure your team is geared for the playoffs, otherwise you’ll be selecting this option for nothing. --Be God, Or At Least Marge Schott-- There is a Create A Player mode, which allows you to create up to 25 players. Pick their team, name, uniform number and position. Then select the build, face, mitt type, bat, batting glove, shoes, wristband, socks and elbow guard. After that, give him a throwing arm, batting stance and form and allocate points to Contact, power, speed, and defense. Now all that is left are the endorsements and you have a baseball player! Why did I purchase this game? Initially, two reasons: 1) The 2.99 used Price and 2) I didn’t have a baseball game for the Dreamcast yet. I am playing it frequently, but not as frequently as some of my other games and that’s because it doesn’t impress me enough. After I finish my current season, I will probably red-tag this sucker and send it to the minors.
World Series Baseball 2K1 is produced by Sega Sports, who are well known for producing faithful recreations of American Sports on the Dreamcast. With the highly successful NBA and NFL games, can they do it again with the MLB? In a word, yes. World Series Baseball 2K1 is up to date for the start of the 2000 MLB Season. This means with approximately 1 hour's work, you can update the rosters to be similar to today's teams. Obviously, some rookies are missing, most notably Ichiro, but the game is over a year old, and there is nothing you can do. The game allows you to play an Exhibition Game, a Season or skip straight to the Playoffs. You can play a short season of 13/15, 26/30 games (depending on the league you play), or longer seasons of 52, 104 and a full 162 game season. This provides plenty of depth to the game. The first thing that will strike you is the visuals. All 30 MLB stadiums are recreated in perfect detail, and although it's all static (it's always 12:57 at Tropicana Field), it looks excellent. Baseball fans will be able to identify players by face as well - the detail is stunning. But what about the gameplay? Well, it's good and bad. Firstly, the good: Pitching. WSB uses a good pitching method, where you select a pitch using the 3D Stick, then aim the pitch, and stop the power bar where appropriate. It works well, and you feel quite in control. However, when the opposition gets a hit, you notice the first problem. The fielding was automatic - players ran to the ball and you told them where to throw it. I wanted to field myself, so I went back to the options.....but couldn't change it. There is no Manual fielding option in World Series Baseball, and this is frustrating because the computer misses some plays that you are certain could be made. Then we come to batting. Batting uses a different style to most games. You pull the R trigger, then release it to swing. This feel s ok, until you realise that the "Early" and "Late" advice on when to swing seems a bit random. It feels very sluggish at times. The game is hard. Very hard. It wll take you a long time to start winning on Amateur, and then there's still Rookie, Pro, All-Star and Legend to conquer. However, you do feel that turning up the difficulty only makes it harder to hit away from fielders, and increases the chance of the computer hitting it so it cannot be fielded. It almost feels on higher difficulty levels like you have very little control. All in all, WSB 2K1 is a good game. You feel with another month in the development house it could have been brilliant, but if you want a good baseball game to enjoy casually, this is for you. However, a slightly dodgy batting system and no manual fielding will deter hardcore fans who like total control. This game is only available in the US, but it is worth getting a disc to play import games to play it. The game can be found for $20 (£13), and you can get import disks for under £5.