In showing continuing support for the Playstation, 989 Sports has ported MLB 2004 from the Playstation 2. Although it's fairly late in the season to be releasing baseball games, the competition is rather limited on the Playstation so there isn't much of a push to get the game released early. In addition, another side effect of weak competition is that there is little reason to spend the time and effort in improving the game or creating a new experience. This may be part of the reason why MLB 2004 is lacking any noticeable improvements or additions this year, as the player roster seems to be the major update.
MLB 2004 does offer a full assortment of gameplay options that most would expect including an exhibition, all-star, season, and franchise option. In addition there is a homerun derby and spring training mode to increase the game's staying power. All of these options work as expected with the spring training mode standing out as one of the better options. Instead of just trying to get the team to win, you must now be focused on how well your player performs as he attempts to make the team and possibly even the all-star game.
Even with all of the options, the gameplay drags the game down somewhat. Although the fielding, pitching, and batting is functional, the entire system seems slightly tired as almost the same exact system was used in previous versions with few visible changes. That really is the biggest complaint however as the even graphics fall victim to the same problem.
Other aspects like the audio, again, function well enough but aren't spectacular either. Vin Scully and Dave Campbell call the game well and do a decent job at keeping it interesting with only a few issues of being slightly repetitive.
If you own a recent version of MLB, MLB 2004 isn't going to compel you with many reasons to purchase it. Beyond the player's roster, few substantial changes are incorporated. I wouldn't wait for another baseball game released on the Playstation this year however so if you're a baseball fanatic, this is probably it for the Playstation.
Download MLB 2004
With all the baseball games released on the Playstation 2 this year, you'd expect developers to be as competitive as possible and put their best foot forward. I'm assuming this isn't the case for 989 Sports however as this game has a number of serious and outrageous problems that make the game difficult to play, let alone enjoy. Keep in mind 989 Sports usually falls in the middle of the pack as far as the overall game performance is concerned but with the problems encountered in this game, it clearly never got out of the starting gate.
Most of the issues encountered are related to the gameplay and affect all aspects of the game. One of the more blatant issues involves the apparent 'ball magnet'? in the fielder's gloves. This is most obvious when throwing to the catcher from the outfield as the ball will actually turn in mid air into the catcher's glove. To make it worse, you'll also notice bad umpire calls where base runners are called out when the fielder is noticeably pulled off the bag and an AI that appears brainless as pop ups will fall right next to computer-controlled fielders that are on your team. Compounding these issues is the fact that base runners and fielders often visibly miss the base all together but still keep playing like they tagged it.
Sadly enough, the performance doesn't improve much with the graphics and audio as sub-par performances are given here as well. The main distraction is the lack of commentary with long periods of dead air, poor play calling and mundane comments. In addition, the animations look good but are often too slow and the textures leave much to be desired. Even with decent player models, it isn't able to compete with any of the competition this year.
Besides the Spring Training option which allows you to create a player and try to get him into the big league, MLB 2004 gives few if any reasons to purchase it over other baseball games on the market this year. Loaded with gameplay bugs and substandard graphics and audio, there are plenty of better options available.