Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 02/09/02 | Genre: Sports
Will baseball games ever have a franchise mode? Well, not this year... Every year, baseball games get more depth and better graphics. Yet the one thing all baseball fans want but have yet to see is a franchise mode. The High Heat Baseball Series first appeared on the Playstation 2 last year. It was the most realistic and deep baseball game seen on any game console. However, the one major thing the game lacked was good graphics. It looked like 3DO took graphics from a original Playstation game instead of using a next-generation graphics engine--that the PS2 is capable of. After trying out the latest version, I am glad to say 3DO has gone to great strides in High Heat Baseball 2003 to fix that problem.
Graphically speaking, High Heat Baseball 2003 for the PS2 is not going to blow you away from what the competition is offering. When you first start playing the game, you easily can see the difference from last year's version. The players are more accurately modeled in several ways. To start, the player animation is much smoother and the players faces are more resembling there real life counterparts. When you successfully steal a base, the player will dust himself off or throw his arms in the air when he beats a throw. There are little touches like the Jumbo Tron the shows the game's proceedings in real time. This really makes you feel like your in a real baseball game competing for the pennant. Graphically, the game has it bad points too. First off, when watching replays you can see how poor the frame rate is. In addition, the baseball stadiums, though good looking, are not detailed enough to distinguish between.
The audio in High Heat 2003 is measures up to all competing products on the market. The announcer will talk about the previous at-bats in the game but never really comments on how a players season is going. Also, there are not many background sound effects in the game once in a while you'll here a vendor or loudmouth. The crowd is never really in the game either. You will rarely hear the crowd scream for a good play or boo a bad. While the sounds won't add excitement to your game, there are enough to get by when playing the game.
The strong point of the game are the different gameplay modes. The game has your standard exhibition and season modes. It also has batting practice to learn how to hit the ball. You willl also see the Home Run Derby to swing for the fences, All-Star Game, and the two on two showdown. This new mode adds new life to the game--where you and a friend concentrate on the pitcher-batter match up. There is no fielding the ball in this mode. Points are awarded for pitching strikes and hitting the ball, which makes it fun and very addictive after you play it for a little while. 3DO shows it is making strides to improve their product by having so many different modes of play.
High Heat Baseball 2003 is the deepest baseball game I have ever played, easily beating last year's version. When you turn the situation within the game up all the way up, the players play accurately like there counter-parts in real life. If a player doesn't hit homeruns in real-life, the player in the game won't either. Pitching is simple as choosing a pitch and then select a ball or a strike. The location of the pitch is decided by the pitcher's statistics and direction you choose on the control pad. The battling is the same way--you guess what pitch the pitcher will throw and time your swing accordingly. It not as easy as it sounds depending on their stats. A pitcher or batter with bad stats make it hard for pitch location and getting on base. Also, fielding will be difficult the first couple of games due to catching spot constantly moving. Other small details like sending your manager to the mound and warming up the pitcher make it different from the competing games.
If you are a stat junkie, then this is the game for you. High Heat Baseball 2003 keeps track of almost every stat in baseball when in season mode. But if you like the arcade style of baseball game, then this is not the title for you. 3DO once again has created the most realistic simulation style baseball title on the market and is worth a look.