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May 9, 2002

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page



previews

World Series Baseball

Developer
Visual Concepts

Publisher
Sega Sports

Genre
Sports

Anticipation
Very High

America's past time will be rehashed yet again in another video game incarnation from SEGA Sports. Discover what will make this baseball game the best we've ever seen on a console. Did I forget to mention it's an Xbox exclusive?

America's pastime has recently started yet another monstrous season that 90% of the population will ignore until September. Thankfully since the invention of video games there has always been a baseball simulation to entertain us until the real season finally begins to pick up speed. With Triple Play 2003 and All Star Baseball 2003 already on store shelves, World Series Baseball finds itself playing catch-up to some other entrenched franchises. Thankfully with two weak efforts on the part of EA and Acclaim SEGA Sports should have no problem claiming this year's championship.

First and foremost it has to be mentioned that WSB is an Xbox exclusive so you can wave goodbye to Triple Play's PS2-esque visuals and say hello to some truly kick ass Xbox-only graphics. Kick ass lighting and the most lifelike animations ever seen in a baseball game will be common ground in WSB. Amazing texture work and great fielding animations will populate the game delivering the best baseball experience this side of the real thing.

While the visuals will be awesome, Visual Concepts is making sure that the graphical impression that WSB leaves on gamers will be overshadowed by the gameplay mechanics that are in place. The amount of depth that SEGA is putting into the franchise mode alone will keep baseball diehards busy for quite some time. You'll begin each franchise by drafting your preferred managerial staff. You'll have the opportunity to draft a pitching and batting coach, scouts, a GM, and even a minor league director to manage upcoming prospects. This time around your front office will have a direct impact on the performance on the field. If you draft an amazing front office then your team will slowly improve as they learn newer and better skills to utilize on the playing field.

The other standard gaming modes will be offered alongside the eerily deep franchise mode. Of course controls will play an intricate part in the overall experience. The pitcher/batter interface still needs some ironing out but the fielding controls (yes you can actually move your fielders around on your own) look to be dead on featuring all the standard animations and controls that will all make the game of baseball nice and easy for the average gamer but also offer a nice level of depth for the hardcore baseball fanatic.

While the gameplay and graphics are already shaping up to challenge even the greatest of baseball games the sound effects should be icing on the cake. Along with the traditional dead-on commentary that Visual Concepts is renowned for, they will also be innovating the way we think of crowd noise. The standard cheers and jeers will be dolled out throughout the course of the game there will also be a plethora of player specific remarks to be made by heckling fans. The crowd will yell at slumping players as they come to bat and even make fun of formerly injured players as they walk to the plate. The standard vendors will be selling a wide array of products and food items throughout the game and the usual comic stylings of the public service announcer will be featured in WSB.

One aspect of baseball games that people find the most intriguing is the ability to customize the gameplay. Whether you like to have a realistic feeling or a simulation experience, a great baseball game has to offer both. Luckily WSB allows you to customize the game in anyway you please. Pitch speeds, whether there is a strike zone or pitching icon or not, and hit ball speed can all be customized to suit your fancy.

The game will arrive on store shelves just in time to perk up the baseball fans before they fall asleep as they enter the long stretch of MLB games that no one really cares about and should be able to last all the way until November. If SEGA plays its cards right (and when don't they?) it looks like they have another surefire hit. Stay tuned…

Nate "Gamer X" Ahearn
Was hit in the head with a baseball and never played again.




Worls Series Baseball Screenshots







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