There comes a time when you’ve just got to cut a guy some slack. Since I started reviewing games a few years back, I’ve been the “go-to-guy” when it comes to games branded with the 989 Sports moniker. I’d like to think that my co-workers respect me for my dearth knowledge of sports games but something about the looks on their faces and the snickers they give me as I pass by them tell me otherwise.MLB 2004
marks the ninth 989 Sports I’ve had to review through in my illustrious career. Throughout the years I've seen the company falter and stumble into relative obscurity. But wait, games like World Tour Soccer
have been changing the way we think about 989 and MLB
was one of the franchises that I’ve actually found myself enjoying over the years. Suddenly there was a chance that I find myself enjoying my next foray into the land of 989. After all, it has Dodger’s slugger Shawn Green on the box and play-by-play from the commentator God himself, Vin Scully. What could possibly go wrong?
Surprisingly, not much.
While the game does indeed lack polish and refinement it's only a few steps behind the competition. While sometimes the game does feel like a thinly disguised PSOne title, it is that simplicity which leads to a fairly decent pick-up-and-play experience.
Good news first, this game has the potential to keep you hooked for a long time. I say potential because it’s a sheer matter of preference. If you don’t mind playing through some major gameplay hiccups then you just might feel at home with MLB 2004
. At times, it’s almost worth trudging through this the games because the off-field elements are actually addicting and intuitive.
This game has a pretty good amount of depth to it. Forget those Franchise modes that are all the rage nowadays, it’s all about Spring Training. Basketball fans will be able to relate this to NBA Shootout 2003
’s career mode. You create a player, let him cut his teeth in spring training and hope that he’s good enough to make it to the big leagues. If he’s good enough he’ll be called up to the Majors where he’ll be able to strut his stuff in front of the fans. You’ll actually keep tabs on his baseball career as well as his life off of the field. This is the stuff that baseball lovers’ dreams are made of.
While the good doesn't end there, the rest of the game is significantly less impactful and entertaining.
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