||World Series Baseball 2K1
No! Balls! and two! Strikes! - Review By Mr. Domino
Ah, the meat of any real WSB2K1 review. Although I enjoy the
auto-fielding, there really should be an option to turn it off. While
the computer controlled fielding is usually fine, there have been
moments where it just made the dumbest of dumb decisions. I've
encountered several instances of players just not wanting to field the
ball, particularly with the pitcher or short stop just standing
motionless as the ball travels an arm's length away from them. Annoying.
Probably the worst instance was the pitcher chasing a ball to first
base, picking up the ball a foot from the base, and just STANDING there,
letting the opposing team score a free run. All he had to do was tap the
base with his foot, or hand the ball to the first baseman. No, he just
stood there, and that's just pathetic. Frankenstein might accurately sum it
up with "AI bad!", and he'd be right.
As a certain well-known editor might say, this crowd looks like ass.
The on-screen diamond map is just bad, too. The arcade World Series '99
had a large close-up of the diamond, with easy-to-spot bases and
runners' positions on the diamond. For some reason, WSB2K1 decides to shrink the diamond
so that the map displays the entire field, which is just ridiculous
since there is no control over the outfield anyway. It is particularly
annoying since players are reduced to a single pixel, and trying to get
a throw in to pick off a runner is made unnecessarily difficult because
of this poor display. The game switches to several dynamic camera angles,
and while it makes the game exciting to watch, the defensive game is
made more difficult as a result. It's a shame Sega didn't leave in the
split-screen "runner cam" from the arcade version as well, which not
only helped tip players off on a runner taking off, but also was exciting
Luckily for the defense, base runners are guided by idiot AI as well. It is
all too common to see runners take off on an infield pop fly, and they
will not begin returning to the base until it's too late. The only thing
which is more pathetic than WSB2K1's AI is the announcer. Remember the
guy from the Sports Talk series on the Genesis? "Sox... Nothing!
...Yankees... Nothing!" Ug. A single announcer, he possesses a
vocabulary of about 100 words, using the same exact phrases over and
over and over. When an announcer makes Pat Summerall sound energetic
and cohesive, you know you're in trouble. The crowd noises are equally
bad, with static for applause and what sounds to be about five guys
booing the away team. All your organ favorites are here in true muted,
cheap Casio keyboard style as well.
Laugh it up, fatties.
The replays are a joke as well. When you do something impressive, you
want to see it, right? Well, you won't in WSB2K1. The replays cut off just
as they're getting to any action which is worthy of being seen again.
For instance, say you hit the ball for a single. The camera will follow
the batter up until he gets about ten feet from the first base and then STOPS! End of replay. It's stupid! I've pulled off a double play before and had
the replay end just as the runner was slowing down before he was out. Why don't they show the actual play? The only times you get a real
glimpse of the action is for home runs and stolen bases, which will show
the scenes as they were meant to be -- in grand, broadcast quality style. Why is the other 95% of situations screwed? Who knows.
Finally, the options, or lack thereof. There are none. The back of the game
advertises realistic weather settings. Nope, not in there. The home run
derby? Nope, not in there, either. A real stat tracking season? Guess
again. WSB2K1 is basically a graphically enhanced port of the World
Series '99 arcade game, and Sega appears to have spent all of the time
just enhancing the graphics. Of course, if the season's prospects sound
bad to you, the game will go ahead and let you jump into the World
Series. Fun? Not really. As wonderful as the batting and pitching
interfaces are, the lack of a true season mode really ruins the longevity
of the game. The simple fact that Sega advertised features not present
in the retail game leads me to believe that this was rushed to make the end of
The Final Word
WSB2K1 had all the makings of a great baseball game but, unfortunately,
falls far short of expectations. It makes for a fun arcade game (well, at
least when the action's between the mound and home plate), but is not
really worth much for those expecting a full-blown baseball simulation.
Try back next year.
Highs: Great batting and pitching engine, amazing graphics... mostly.
Lows: No real defensive control, horrid 16-bit announcer, missing many
common and expected features.
Other: 1-2 Players, VMU Compatible (170 blocks), VGA Box Compatible, Jump Pack
Compatible, Arcade Stick Compatible.
(out of a possible 10)
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