Review by tuvok47

Reviewed: 03/01/03 | Updated: 03/01/03

This GameCube sports outing not only balks, but is hit by the pitch and put on the DL!

The All-Star Baseball series became popular on the Nintendo Sixty-Four, on a system that was chided by some for having too many easy games, for being a realistic simulation title. The 99 version of that series, which I reviewed, was an acceptable game, but the latest version on the GameCube (also on the PS2 and X-Box) is quite possibly, one of the worst baseball games ever.

Graphics – 5

Having played the graphically-wowing NFL2K3 and the fluid ESPN International Winter Sports 2002, it is obvious to the power that the GameCube hardware possesses. But, this sports offering is very anemic in this category, and the enjoyment as a whole suffers from it. The most visually impressive baseball game that I have played in the still-awesome World Series Baseball 2K1 on the underrated Sega Dreamcast. It had huge, smooth player models, gorgeous stadiums, slick menus and a smooth frame rate (aside from cinematic slowdowns). The player models in this game are small, and all the faces do not match the skin tones of the players. Also, the animation is choppy. The stadiums are very dull and monochrome compared to those in other games (including the GameCube’s NFL2K3). Overall, the graphics don’t hold a candle, even to some Nintendo 64 games.

Sound – 3

The best video baseball franchise ever, Triple Play, is AWOL on all consoles this year. That franchise features hilarious commentators with puns, jabs at each other and advertisements for amusing imaginary products. Also, they did the commentary with a lot of energy. Once again, however, All Star Baseball 2003 comes off as dull as dirt in this area. The so-called three-man-team is not three at all. I have yet to hear the third commentator in this game. However, what is left is not much better. Thom Brennamen and Steve Lyons rarely comment on anything, and when they do, they don’t sound happy about it. EA Sports NHL 2002, Sega Sports NFL2K3 and Triple Play Baseball (last version on PSX) all have comments that made me laugh on many occasions. In comparison, this one has yet to amuse me. The dry commentary, when combined to the dull crowd (and the guy shouting, ‘Swing, batter, batter!’ every fifteen seconds), makes this a game to experience on mute.

Gameplay – 1

Then again, you may not want to experience this game at all. This game could quite possibly be the cure for insomnia! There are no really good game modes, such as the creative Extreme Big League Challenge found in the last good installment of Triple Play (not counting 2002 or the ‘Baseball’ version for PS2). Also, there is a large lack of customization. You can’t create perfect players (like in NFL2K3), completely customizable teams and their isn’t even an arcade mode for beginners. The interface is confusing and too complex. The cursor used looks like the spot of a bat, but combine this with two other cursors to use—plus pitch guessing—and even batting isn’t fun. Also, there are no cutscenes (like in WSB2K1 for DC) or humorous billboards (such as Triple Play Baseball for PSX) to shake up the dullness.

Overall – 3/10

With unenthusiastic commentary, bad and choppy graphics, little customization, and the worst gameplay ever found in a baseball game, this title is one to avoid. Although I haven’t played them yet Sega’s Home Run King and Midway’s MLB Slugfest series look the most promising to slam home runs on your GameCube!

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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