World Series BaseballIt might have come late into the season, but you could say it really gives the current competition a run for their money. World Series Baseball has arrived on the scene and has made a name for itself early on. With current Xbox baseball titles out on the shelves such as EAâ€™s Triple Play 2002 and Acclaimâ€™s All-Star Baseball 2003, Sega adds depth, realism, and power into World Series Baseball that the competition just couldnâ€™t quite put in their titles. One big difference baseball fans will notice with World Series Baseball, is that the game is an exclusive for Xbox. Sega decided to use the full power of the Xbox and create possibly the best baseball game up to date. Youâ€™ll notice the difference in World Series Baseball immediately in graphics, gameplay, and options. The possibilities are endless and the game will have you swinging at all the features and gameplay offered. Sega is offering it all to you, but will you take and accept it? Gameplay: The possibilities are endless right from the get-go. The menus are simple and easy to follow. The main screen offers you to jump right to a game having everything prepared for you, go to an exhibition game where you have limited choices, skip the season and try a playoff run, start a fresh season with limitless options, take home run kings up to the mound in a home run derby, or start your own franchise and enjoy the realism of having your own team. World Series Baseball doesnâ€™t take much time to get used to. If youâ€™ve tried other baseball games on the Xbox then you shouldnâ€™t have much trouble adjusting yourself to the control system of World Series Baseball. There are, however, many controls to memorize in the game, but Sega has combined them in a seamless manor. For example, the opposing team is up to bat and the batter hits a groundball to the shortstop. By pressing â€œAâ€, the shortstop throws the ball to first. The throwing system works like a baseball diamond, where the bases correspond to the buttons, which are laid out like a baseball diamond. Gamers will also find that the hitting system is much better and improved from EAâ€™s Triple Play 2002 version. You are given a batting cursor which you will notice changes size all the time because of the players hitting ability. You hit the ball timely by pressing the â€œAâ€ button and bunt the ball by pressing the â€œYâ€ button. Previous baseball games included a â€œpower hit or smashâ€ button, increasing the chances of hitting a home run, but, World Series Baseball doesnâ€™t come equipped with that feature so home runs come by how hard you swing and hit the baseball and by the type of hitting the player thatâ€™s batting is. As a pitcher, you should come to the game with an arsenal of different pitches to strike out your opposing team batter, and surprisingly enough, World Series Baseball delivers a perfect strike down the plate when it comes to the pitching system. There are nine different types of pitches available in the game. A pitcher ranges from two to five different pitches available to throw in a game. There are three different kinds of pitching systems that you will see and face in the game at different difficulty levels. The easiest level of difficulty gives the gamer the pleasure of the overlay (pitching box), which can be a real benefit when it comes to hitting because it shows where the opposing pitcher is going to throw the ball. As you get more skilled in the game and raise the difficulty level to the hardest, you start to pitch with guts and instinct, just like real baseball because there is no pitching box so you have to give it all and pitch what you think seems right. The computer AI presented in World Series Baseball is well done and solid but it could really use some final touches to make it unbelievable. The computer plays and actions are impressive, and the AI shines at all skill levels. AI errors are very few and uncommon. You wonâ€™t be seeing very much of them, possibly a wild throw, a dropped catch or a high fly misplayed. But the main problem that could cause frustration to many of those who have World Series Baseball in the running system that goes on when the batter hits the ball. Many times I have seen the player run to advance to second base and just before the second baseman receives the base the runner runs off to advance to third base usually being tagged or chased out. Sometimes, itâ€™s nearly impossible to get the player running and advancing to another base. But if the player manages to leave the base, itâ€™s obviously way to late the player is out in a matter of seconds. This is possible the biggest and only major problem you will face in World Series Baseball because everything else is very smooth. When playing World Series Baseball, one might some areas of the game to be very plain and not satisfying enough to enjoy to the fullest to put in hours and hours of gaming. Others might find the game too much to handle all at once because World Series Baseball offers so much to some gamers that it could take hours and hours just to explore the game fully and to give every area a tryout. Quick Start and Exhibition mode are far too simple and ordinary. Both modes will only offer a little enjoyment with the game. Quick start takes you right to a game, setting everything up for you, so you basically have all decisions made for you. Exhibition mode gives you a couple more options then what Quick Start offers. You quickly pick a team, an opposing team and your off to the diamond. The Home Run Derby is a great feature added to the game but it comes in limited fun and options. This would really be a killer feature and an exciting part of the game if a little more time and effort was into the Derby such as watching your computer opponents hit the ball. It was kind of surprising to not see that when I first tried out the Home Run Derby. When you enter the Home Run Derby main screen, you are given the choice of picking from one to eight players to bat in the Home Run Derby against. You can also choose the amount of pitches you wish to receive and the ballpark you wish to attempt to hit balls out of the park in. Those who own the game just might find it difficult just to find the player they wish to use in the Home Run Derby because you have to know the amount of home runs the player you wish to use hit the following season. The players in the Home Run Derby are placed in order by home runs hit from greatest to lowest amount hit. The Home Run Derby is something you wouldnâ€™t want to waste your time on alone, but possibly with a group of friends.
The Season and Playoff mode come to you packed filled with action, adventure, and great baseball. Actually, the modes are well done but could have used a little more polish. The Playoff mode is no different than any other playoff mode in any other baseball game. The objective in playoff mode is simple, you skip the long, entire season and head to the playoffs for a chance to win the World Series. Pick your favorite team, hope the odds of winning are with you and put your best efforts forward and win the World Series! The Season mode is better done and well made. You are able to create a season of limited length with 29 others users who can control a team. Now you can really see who can kick some ass. You are able to create a fantasy draft, change many options and create a player. The create a player mode is not very strong in World Series Baseball. There are very few options to create a strong, hard-hitting, future star player. If you arenâ€™t completely satisfied with what youâ€™ve seen and done so far in the game, then the Franchise mode if what you have been looking for all this time. This is quite possibly, the best part of World Series Baseball. Franchise mode works like a dream and is the most impressive and well done mode on any baseball game yet. You are basically the General Manager of your favorite baseball team, you create a Franchise, and see how successful you can be. You are able to go out and draft baseball players who could be big players in the season to come, draft coaches and scouts whose ratings will flourish or drop depending on your ability to find talent, and develop it more and more. You can also bring in a manager, pitching coaches, hitting coaches, and even a minor league director. There are even contracts for coaches and players. Franchise mode is the real thing, all inside your TV and Xbox. This mode has made some high requirements for other developers coming forth in the next year with new baseball games. Hopefully, Sega will add to their Franchise and make it better. Graphics: If your looking for the baseball game on the Xbox for just the looks, then give World Series Baseball some attention. Youâ€™ll come to notice right away how much better World Series Baseball stands out than Triple Play 2002 or All Star Baseball 2003. Itâ€™s sharp, smooth, crisp, and simply wonderful to look at. The detail in World Series Baseball isnâ€™t only to be found and seen in certain areas of the game, itâ€™s in everything. From the stadium itself, to the diamond, the players, and even the crowd looks good. The animation is simply the best out there on any system for a baseball game. Everything is always moving well and looking good. The player movement is very well done. The slides, throws, catches, dives, and collisions all look superb and the motions are excellent. Outfielders come up with great diving catches or collide with the wall trying to stop a home run from happening. Infielders jump high to catch the ball if the throw is wild or do some great teamwork for the double play. Players make dives for line drive shots and have collisions with base runners looking to be safe. Player models look great running to a base or tagging a base and look great when hitting a baseball with their bat. The stadiums in World Series Baseball are very well done and pretty to look at. There is so much detail put into each stadium made in the game. World Series Baseball comes with all the official team stadiums in the game. Before a game starts, thereâ€™s a quick look at the stadium. Hitting a foul ball is another way to see how gorgeous the stadium is. Stadiums have a different effect and feel to them during a day or night game. The player models and looks in the game are simply stunning and definitely the best for any baseball game right now. Players look sharp from their uniform down to their shoes and glove. One problem with player models are most of the player models look downright amazing, while other players look like they just come from a boxing match, and lost terribly. What you will notice is the physique of the players. You see a difference in height and size between players. The graphics in World Series Baseball isnâ€™t something to make fun of or look away in disgust. Itâ€™s a sight you donâ€™t want to take your eyes off of. Itâ€™s one of the great parts of the game. The players models could be a little more accurate in the following years of WSB but everything is brought together nicely. Sound: World Series Baseball is a very impressive sounding game that takes advantage of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound, which Xbox offers. The crowd noise is basically what you would hear in a typical baseball game; Screaming, shouting, yelling, singing, chanting, whistling, crying. Itâ€™s all there and brought to you in a great fashion. One of the more amusing and fun sounds you will hear in World Series Baseball is the taunts to players up at bat. While I was up at bat with John Vander Wal (New York Yankees), he was taunted with â€œMore like John Vander AWOL!â€ There are many taunts in WSB and youâ€™ll hear them quite frequently when someoneâ€™s up at bat. The commentary in World Series Baseball is presented to you by Ted Robinson and Mike Krukow. They both bring a good voice to the game. They both like to take it easy when announcing a game; they donâ€™t talk nonstop throughout the whole song. You will have a few silent moments when these men are announcing a game. You can find what they have to say repetitive some times but youâ€™ll be so into the game that you wonâ€™t really matter. Replay Value: World Series Baseball is a game that you want to sit back, relax, and enjoy for a long time. Even though WSB is a sports game, it comes with endless options and modes that are sure to keep yourself busy for hours and hours. The Franchise mode let alone, you could be still playing it in ten years with an unbelievable winning streak going on. WSB is a game you want to get full use of. You simply cannot go out and rent the game say you got your full use. You would need to rent it 25 more times nonstop to get the full use of what World Series Baseball really has to offer to a big time baseball fan. Overall: If youâ€™re a baseball fan and own an Xbox, pick up this game. If youâ€™re looking for the best baseball game for your Xbox, pick up this game. If youâ€™re looking for a sports game that will keep you busy for hours and hours enjoying yourself, pick up this game. World Series Baseball, is in every way, shape and form the best baseball game for the Xbox right now. This game is not a rental, it is a must buy game. With excellent gameplay, stunning graphics, and hours of fun, World Series Baseball should be on your â€œthings to buyâ€ list. --Chris Banovic