VR Baseball 2000

a game by VR Sports
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
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Overview

Jealous of all the attention Big Mac is getting for breaking Maris’s record? Ever dream of crushing a ball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park or making a leaping catch against the ivy at Wrigley Field? Then this arcade baseball game might be for you. The game is filled with breathtaking graphics of players and stadiums, but requires a 3D accelerator card to enjoy them.

Okay, the graphics are great--what about the gameplay and realism? If you enjoy these things in a baseball game, unfortunately you won’t find them here. The original VR Baseball scored at ultra-low 20 last time it was reviewed and VR Sports hasn’t improved the realism in this recent overhaul.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

From the opening menu you’re able to go into Exhibition Mode to play a single game, create or continue a season, or participate in the homerun derby. The homerun derby is great for some instant action and a lot of fun if you want to hit some monster homers with Mark McGwire. The gameplay itself is easy to learn, and before long you’re able to strike out players or hit homers with ease. If you’re finding the game too easy, you’re able to select between Rookie, Pro, All-Star or custom difficulty levels. You can also change the hitting type from arcade to simulation and control how much fielding assistance you receive.

Unfortunately, the folks at VR Sports blundered when it came to setting up the game controllers. If you switch to keyboard, the keys aren’t set up by default; if you set up the keys and switch from human to computer controller and then back, all your custom key settings are erased. The worst part is if you decide you dislike your keyboard setup in the middle of the game; you must exit the game in order to modify anything.

Multiplayer

There is no multi-player support, which puts this game at a real disadvantage to other baseball games out on the market. They should have added a feature to allow you to go head-to-head with other players or hook up to a central network for some quick action.

Graphics

The graphics are incredible and definitely this game’s best feature. The player models show muscles flexing, jerseys stretching, and for the most part the players' faces are accurately detailed. You’re able to see trademark batting stances, swings and arcane rituals before entering the batting box. The players’ names and numbers are easy to see and the detail devoted to the stadiums makes you feel you’re really there. That’s not to say there aren’t occasional problems. At times part of a player's uniform would do a disappearing act at the hip and you could see the grass showing through him. Some computer baseball games make you wish you had motion sickness pills when the camera swings wildly from view to view as it chases the ball, so I was curious how this one would do. The camera did an adequate job, transitioning between views gracefully, but it did occasionally make the ball appear to defy Newton’s laws. For example, I hit a shallow homer that looked as if it wasn’t quite going to make it over the wall and the camera was chasing it as expected. As it neared the wall, the camera did something that looked like it belonged in a sci-fi flick, because it made the ball stop in mid-air, leap up at a 45-degree angle, leap down at a 45-degree angle and then rise once again to float over the wall.

Audio

VR Baseball does a great job with the national anthem. They used different artists so that it doesn’t get stale and although each one sounds a lot different, they all sound great. Each time I started a game I looked forward to hearing the next breathtaking rendition. The other sounds were well-done with the usual crowd cheering, grunts, special effects and announcers. The announcers did a decent job with play calling and weren’t as annoying in most other baseball games. The only part I wasn’t thrilled about were the sounds during the homerun derby. Unlike when you’re in a full game, there were barely any noises, which is unrealistic because anybody who’s watched a homerun derby in real life knows how rowdy the crowd gets.

System Requirements:

A Pentium 200 with 3D accelerator (D3D or Open GL), Windows 95/98, 32 MB RAM, 50 MB hard drive space, CD-ROM, DirectX certified video card and DirectX certified sound card.

Documentation

You won’t receive much more than the CD jewel case, but you don’t need it. The controls are easy to learn and there is extensive online help. If you really want a hard copy you’re able to print it from there, although I doubt you'll need to.

Bottom Line

VR Baseball excels in the graphic and audio departments, but falls short in realism and gameplay. It is too easy to master and if you’re a serious baseball fan you’ll grow frustrated and quickly abandon this game in a dusty corner. If you’re wanting to hit some quick homers or strike out a few batters during your lunch break then this game fits the bill because the controls are easy to learn and it definitely has some fun features. You’re also able to download new stats, rosters and player ratings so you can track new seasons. If VR Sports can improve the terribly-designed control setup, add multiplayer support, and fix a few other glitches, they’ll have a competitive arcade baseball game.

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