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Specs Release Dates Codes Now Available Reviews Snapshots



World Series Baseball '98 - Sega

by Jeff S. (xsiden@wired2.net)

Lowdown:

    If you're looking for a fun and enjoyable baseball game, look no further than this game. It may seem a little arcadey, but the fun is where it counts. I'm sure people will come and say that TP98 looks better and has more simulation aspects in it. They're probably right. But if you're looking for a good baseball simulation game buy Tony LaRussa Baseball for your PC. But if you're looking for a fun, easy to play, enjoyable baseball experience that you'll enjoy for hours upon hours, take a look at World Series Baseball 98.
Sega has taken the polygon route and this game looks excellent.The game can be best explained as World Wide Soccer 97 playing baseball. There are times when pieces of the stadium drop out, but it's rare enough that it goes unnoticed. The players don't exactly look like their major league counter parts, but they look great nonetheless although pretty blocky. The bats look like logs, but I guess that's what you get when you go to polygons. The players clearly where their numbers on their jerseys and the uniforms are an accurate representation of the big league clubs. As expected, all of the stadiums are accurately represented as well as the stadiums of the new expansion teams. The players are animated very well also.

The sounds in WSB are quite impressive. Just listening to the sound of the ball you can tell how hard the ball is hit and where to. The announcer has a fair amount of phrases at his disposal but it does tend to get repetitive. The stadium announcer is pretty cool as well. He introduces the player in his booming voice as well as an occasional nickname. The crowd responses well to big hits and great plays as well.

WSB98 - Strikeout The most important part of any game is always the gameplay. Without good gameplay a game is not worth playing. This is where this game shines. First of all the new batting interface makes the game a lot more fun to play. The problem with other baseball games is the hitting is usually about timing, but WSB 98 seems to have remedied that. The new batting interface gives the players an opportunity to control where the ball goes. Much like WSB on the Genesis, WSB 98 uses the circle and circle method. The pitcher uses a circle to place where the ball will go, or move from, and the hitter trys to hit the ball by placing the batting cursor over the ball. If your able to place the batting cursor over where the ball will land, the batting cursor will turn red and the hitter will lock on to the ball. With a lock on the ball, the batter is usually able to hit the ball harder, but it doesn't mean you're guaranteed a hit. Swing early, and you are like to pull the ball. Swing late, and you usually hit the ball to the opposite field. Swing at just the right time and most likely you'll be strolling the bases. Also, like in real life you can lock your sights in a zone where the ball will be pitched. Has the pitcher been throwing you the ball away all game and hasn't changed strategy? Lock your hitter in a quadrant where you think the ball will be pitched. If you're right, instead of having to chase the ball with the cursor, all you'll have to do is swing at the right time, making it easier for a big hit. Guess wrong, and you're chasing the ball with the hitting cursor. It's really too cool. Pitching is like the old WSB on Genesis as well. Each pitcher has there own pitches and abilities. Usually you'll have a choice between 3 or four different pitchers. Fielding, at least since the first WSB on Saturn has become quite good. I don't know how many times I've robbed the computer of a homerun or pulled off a seemingly impossible catch. There are times after the ball is hit where it's hard to stop a hit in the infield. It seems as if I don't have control of the player till the last possible second. But if you react fast enough, just like in real life, line shots in the infield are stoppable.

Obviously, everything has problems and WSB 98 is no different. First of all, why isn't there a trade feature? Come on, people get traded in real life baseball, why not in the world of video game baseball as well? I guess this just means we have to buy the next installment to see if this feature is added. Also, you can't create players. I guess this is Sega's only hook to make sure we buy next years addition. Also, why only three defense modes, bunt, deep, and shallow. How about double play, or guard the lines? They also need to add a feature which allows you to warm up pitchers. It's probably because this game is more arcadey, than simulation, but why couldn't they merge the two. Hey Sega, how about a replay a feature? I would love to relive game saving catches and game winning bombs, over and over again. And problem is is that the computer hardly throws balls. They paint the corners, but never throw balls. How am I supposed to draw a walk if the computer doesn't throw balls? I still can't steal a base, but I'm sure that will change over time. I don't know maybe I haven't played long enough, but I have yet to draw a walk. A practice mode would be nice, but who cares.

WSB98 - At Bat I hope that last section didn't make you decide not to take a look at this game because it really is very, very good. For more proof read on. You have not lived until you stroke a homer over the fence as you watch your player watch his homer go over the fence. It was weird the first time I seen it because it's not the usual way homers are depicted. Usually the players stroll along the bases like nothing happened. But on rare occasions, the camera goes over your hitters shoulders as he takes a long look at his home run clear the fences. Very much like Barry Bonds. Very cool indeed. You'll probably want to get thrown out as home as well. Sometimes on the relay home, the runner instead of trying to slide under the tag will try to barrel over the catcher, trying to jar the ball lose. I don't know how many times I've been thrown out at home trying to witness a collision at home. The shifting of the camera makes the play all the more exciting as it gives you a full glimpse of the play. Other cool happenings are sliding and diving catches, batters being brushed back instead of taking pitches to the chin and near perfect relay throws to the plate.Also, full stat tracking and player of the month feature. Another neat thing is the condition of the players. It's a lot like WWS 97 where different colored shapes show who is hot or cold. Pitchers don't have the zip on their fastball or control their pitches when their condition isn't too good, so beware.

-Jeff




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