All-Star Baseball 2004


posted 3/16/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Last year we proclaimed Acclaim’s All-Star Baseball the best baseball game of 2002. Facing some stiff competition from World Series Baseball, High Heat Baseball and not so stiff competition from Triple Play, Acclaim’s franchise won out for its high production values, intense realism and overall gameplay. Now another year has passed and while the franchise is still fundamentally sound and enjoyable, a few roadblocks hinder it from reigning atop this year’s standings.

All-Star Baseball is one of those games that you’ll either love or hate. There’s no in between here. You’ll either love the long and drawn out games or you’ll hate it. Likewise you’ll either love the far too realistic batter/pitcher interface or you’ll hate it. Much like that nagging, but rich girlfriend, this is the true love and hate relationship.

Personally we love the franchise and even through all of its troubles in the early goings, we stuck by it. Will you want to stick by it? Read the rest of our review to find out.

There are far more chances for your player to get injured this time around. Even baseball players aren’t immune from the dreaded DIARRHEA. Guess someone hasn’t been watching those Rolaids commercials.

From the beginning of the game you’ll notice some major changes from the 2003 version. The entire off-field interface has been revamped to give a sort of nostalgic feel to the game. While it can be a chore to wait for the various parts of the scene to load (locker room, coach’s office) it really engulfs you in the entire baseball atmosphere. What’s really sweet is the filter used in the menu visuals which add a bit of static and noise to the graphics, making it look even older and faded. A last and final impressive touch comes on the team selection screen where teams are represented by bobble head figures instead of just plain logos. When it comes to baseball memorabilia nothing beats the good old fashioned bobble head doll.

Checking out the features you’ll find a nice and fully fleshed game. You’ll have the usual exhibition, franchise and homerun derby modes. It’s the added attractions that really differentiate this one from the crowd. For one you can participate in a pick-up game that harkens back to our old playground days. Two players take turns picking players until they have a roster of 10 players. Then they hit the field and battle it out in a friendly game of pickup baseball.

Another nice inclusion is the Negro League license. It was often said that some of the great hurlers of the Negro Leagues would have given the Major Leaguers a run for their money. Now you can find out for yourself by pitting the players, complete with authentic uniforms, against your favorite sluggers. On top of this the rest of the features from last year’s game return including that silly trivia game and the usual practice modes.

In a feature very similar to the Madden Cards found in the Madden football games you can earn points each time you play. After earning these points they can be used to purchase cool extras such as classic teams, players and stadiums. Likewise these points can also be earned by correctly answering trivia questions that appear between certain innings.

Ever wanted to see what happens when you hit that SAP button on your television during a baseball broadcast? Now you can find out. In what has to be a videogame first (in baseball anyway) you can get the play-by-play in Spanish. Now I’ve never actually tried the SAP function during a real broadcast myself (even though Vin Scully always has a tendency to hammer its existence into my head every two innings) so I’m not certain what the standards are when it comes to Spanish commentary but what’s present in this game is pretty decent, if not good.
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