All-Star Baseball 2005
But the series much-ballyhooed new FielderCam is underwhelming this behind-the-fielder view (as opposed to the traditional overhead angle) controls well enough, but its virtually impossible to know the trajectory and speed of the ball, leaving you to rely on onscreen indicators. Other problems include unimpressive graphics and animations (including fielders running halfway into walls and facing one direction while throwing the ball in another) and frustrating baserunning controls. ASB isnt a complete disaster, but its inferior to the league leaders in every way."]
With Acclaims rotation showcasing a robust franchise mode, improved batting, and Internet play, youd think the All-Star series were back in playoff contention. Think again. Unfortunately, ASB still has too many holes in its lineup to compete with the top contenders. Aside from the games washed-out visuals and lifeless ballparks, I have to agree with our resident Red Sox fan, G. Ford, about the FielderCam; ASB's most original feature doubles as its biggest flaw. Go nine innings with EAs MVP instead.
Though cover guy Derek Jeter will likely be an All-Star, ASB is not. The FielderCam supposedly allows you to run one way while looking in another, but simply picking up the ball (especially ground balls) proves difficult. Acclaim did accurately capture the proper build of most players, but their faces and batting stances are off. With ESPN and MVP available, the plight of ASB is like that minor league prospect hoping for a call up to the show. Maybe next year, slugger.
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Baseball, that most American of all sports, has been translated into video games more times that I can possibly count. From the time I first fired up a copy of RBI Baseball on my NES, to this title, the latest edition in Acclaim's ASB series, I've gotten my fair share of play time at this national pastime. All-Star Baseball 2005 features impressive graphics, an excellent audio system, including requisite dynamic announcing, and a whole host of comprehensive calls. It has tremendous replay value for the amateur manager in all of us and the amount of trading that can be done to create your own team is amazing, absolutely amazing.
It's not to say that All-Star Baseball 2005 is without its faults. The batting controls can be cumbersome, but thanks to the choice of four different ways to handle the batting gameplay, that is minimized. Without a doubt, the most annoying aspect of this game comes during the fielding play. Most of the time when I got ready to catch a fly ball or a long outfield drive, the camera would rotate around my fielder preventing me from easily running towards the location of the ball. It isn't common, but it's those few small moments when such a problem crops up that makes you run screaming towards the pitcher's mound.
The most fortunate aspect of the game is it's fully support for Xbox Live. With downloadable content, multiplayer games, and a voice feature, it's getting the most out of your broadband connection. Combined with its tremendous gameplay and managerial features, this title is a must have for any hardcore baseball gamer.