MLB Pennant Race
Sony Interactive Sports began its 32-Bit I career as an upstart rookie with NFL GameDay.
It then proved itself a two-sport wonder with NHL Faceoff. NBA Shootout gave the sports crew superstar status. So what's next? A baseball title, naturally.
Only one comment needs to be said about MLB Pennant Race: If this game plays as well as it looks, it'll be Sony's field of dreams and a nightmare opponent for other baseball game makers.
Like Sony's previous PlayStation sports titles, this game will feature all of the official teams and more than 700 real players, their portraits, relevant stats and updated uniform designs. The game also offers eight different playing perspectives.
Even more impressive is the fact that Sony will include all 28 baseball stadiums, texture-mapped and showcased in full 3-D graphics splendor.
For example, take a look at the backgrounds in the game screens on this page. From the ivy and manual scoreboard in Wrigley Field (at bottom) to the "green monster" wall and realtime video screen at Fenway Park (far right), this game offers some of the most accurate backgrounds ever seen in a baseball title--even at the 32-Bit level.
Accurate is also the right word to use when talking about the motion-capture animation of head-first slides, leaping catches and diving stabs at hard-hit line drives.
Accurate is also the right word when it comes to stats, which play a major role in players' performance. In addition, the game keeps tabs on batting and pitching stats for an entire season.
The game has an Arcade Mode for those who want to play a quick game, and a Simulation Mode designed for serious gamers. The game offers strategic options such as the ability to shift player positions in both infield and outfield--this way, players can step forward to anticipate a bunt or move back when a power hitter steps to the plate.
The game lets players become coaches as well by letting them trade players, sign free agents or even create their own players.
Rounding out the usual Exhibition, Regular Season and Playoff Modes are a Home Run Derby, an All-Star Game and World Series Modes.
- MANUFACTURER - Sony
- THEME - Sport
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Download MLB Pennant Race
The neck-to-neck race for this year's 32-bit pennant continues to heat up, and Pennant Race places strongly in the upper echelons of the pack.
The spectacular stadiums shine with an incredible 3D luster when the camera tracks the ball as it rockets into the outfield. A huge Jumbotron that replays the action in real time doesn't hurt, either. The motion-captured players sport a smooth, hand-drawn look that some may find too car-toony, but Pennant Race looks great overall.
Like Triple Play. Pennant Race scores with well-rounded features: all the major-league teams, players, and stadiums; all the standard modes; the ability to trade and create a player; and five cool camera angles. Baseball fiends will delight in the detailed stats and the strategy option, w hich enables you to shift the positioning and depth of the infield and outfield. Sony also built in a few unique touches, such as switching stadiums during a game or putting any player at any position.
Gameplay & Controls
Each pitcher cranks out three pitches at three speeds, while hatters sport the usual contact, normal, power, and bunt swings. Pennant's impressively smooth controls will enable baseball fans to hit the field with littie practice. The gameplay delivers raucous, fast-paced fun. but some gamers may miss the depth that Triple Play offers. As both games are still unfinished, however, it's too early to make a definitive call.
The eternally delayed Pennant Race finally hit store shelves just in time for the World Series, but its closest competitor. Triple Play, walks off the field with top honors--especially in terms of graphics and sounds. Pennant Race still scores well with strong features and entertaining gameplay.
Long Fly Ball
Pennant Race digs in at the plate with a fairly exhaustive list of features. Gamers will find all the major-league teams and players, a complete set of modes, trades and player creation, and arcade or sim action. Cool standouts, like switching fielder depth on the fly and the perfectly staggered difficulty levels, add to the fun.
The Controls generally respond well. Batters blast away with three swings and two controllable slides, while pitchers sling three pitches at three speeds in sim mode or just control the break with the directional pad in arcade mode. Dives, jumps, and speed bursts help you chase the ball in the field.
That all adds up to a thorough arsenal, but the list of flaws is sizable, too. Pitching and batting are shallow in comparison with Triple Play, which over details like batting stance and position on the mound. More scri you're often stuck controlling a player that's too far from the ball, and a few lingering bugs crop up (swung-on strikes are sometimes balls). Even with these problems, Pennant Race's gameplay packs enough depth and realism to deliver a fun day at the park.
Visually, Pennant Race goes for an illustrated 2D look that falls short of Triple Play's gorgeous polygonal style. If you like the look, though, Pennant Race does it well--the fluidly moving fielders are particularly nice. Best of all, its zippy frame rate makes for much smoother action compared to how slowly Triple Play chugs along.
Padres announcer Jerry Coleman calls the action with a colorful variety of phrases, but frequently (and ffustratingly) he's just dead wrong. The in-game effects perform well, but the crowd's too quiet.
Safe at Second
If you're a casual PlayStation baseball fan who needs only one baseball game, stick with Triple Play. But the hardcore will get a lot out of Pennant Race. Despite its quirks and flaws, this solid baseball title earns its place among Sony's topnotch sports line.
- Position your batting cursor inside the strike zone before the pitch Is thrown so you can quickly judge w hether it's a ball.
- You can tap the throw buttons early to set up a string of throws between bases, so always go for the multiple outs.