World Series Baseball 2K2 Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
World Series Baseball 2K2 Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • Sega

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • DreamCast

rating

Now featuring actual baseball!

Last year’s WSB 2K1 was a letdown.

Okay, maybe that’s an understatement – WSB 2K1 sucked. Dreamcast baseball

fans got shafted when the only game in town turned out to be the worst thing since

paper cuts.

So a season goes by and a new game is out. This time, WSB is being

handled by our beloved Visual Concepts, the same team that brought us the NFL

2Ks
and NBA 2Ks. Seeing how this year’s edition

couldn’t possibly be any worse than last year’s “no fielding” fiasco, baseball

fans made World Series Baseball 2K2 quite the highly anticipated sports

game.

Well, I have good news! This game doesn’t suck! But I also have bad news. It’s

not that much better.

Rather than build on flawed materials, Visual Concepts decided to rebuild

2K2 completely from the ground up. What you see and hear, though, is

not a whole lot different than last year’s model.

The graphics aren’t bad, but plenty of details are still missing. Players’

faces generally aren’t very accurate and the crowd is pretty bad by today’s

standards. Field textures are generally decent, but anything over the wall (including

the *ahem* “sky”) sports just enough quality to get by. The stadiums look good,

but the player animations do not. A mixed bag through and through.

Audio is handled adequately with the good ol’ crack of the bat intact, but

our announcer still has…the…weird pauses…and voCAL infLECTions. I just wish

they didn’t play the chicken dance so often…

There are six flavors of game mode: Exhibition, Quick Start, Season, Playoffs,

Home Run Derby and Franchise. There’s really no explanation needed here, since

they are all exactly what you’d expect from a baseball game – nothing more,

nothing less.

The meat of WSB 2K2’s gameplay is similar to last season, except you

can actually play defense now. You still use a cursor to track the ball while

batting. At least this year, you’ll know what pitch you’re throwing without

consulting a manual thanks to the onscreen prompt.

WSB 2K2’s stat tracking is also very good, giving you all the info

you’ll ever need about your players. You can even monitor and call up guys from

the minors in Season mode. A nice touch.

One of the cool features of the home plate battle is the batter’s box stats.

You can see each batter’s hot and cold zones as well as the exact placement

of the last few pitches. Pretty handy information to have on both sides of the

ball. You’ll also notice the best of WSB detail behind the plate. Batters

carry unique stances and pitchers generally throw the way they do in real life.

It’s definitely a step up from last year.

But while the battle before the hit is solid, the battle on the field leaves

a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong; some fielding is better than no fielding,

but flawed fielding is still not okay.

The worst is when there’s a well hit grounder. Since the game generally has

you controlling the man closest to the ball, a powerful ground ball can have

you controlling three different guys in a split second. While any number of

bad things can come of this, it usually means that the ball will streak into

the outfield on what would otherwise be a routine out.

Another frustrating bit about the fielding is the way the computer will cheat.

You’ll hit a rocket four feet over a fielder’s head only to watch it magically

change directions right into the CPU fielder’s glove. If this is AI, then I

quit.

And the wackiness doesn’t stop there, folks. While testing out the handy instant

replay system, I noticed that batters never actually hit the ball. I

have yet to see a bat and ball make contact. Rather, the ball just sort of takes

off right when the swing begins. Pure magic, I tell ya, pure magic.

But wait, there’s more! In one extra special moment, a fly ball bounced off

the ground and into a fielder’s mitt for the out. A clearly dropped

ball was somehow “caught.” Frustrating, very frustrating.

While I agree that there should be some graphical leeway for catching a fly

ball, I don’t think that the level of detail should be that far off. Just look

at Visual Concepts’ other 2K games. You’ve got plenty of guys running around

interacting with each other onscreen at once while WSB 2K2 can’t handle

a single fielder and one fly ball. Twelve guys run into each other in NFL

2K1
and one of catches the football directly in his hands, but a simple

pop fly in WSB 2K2 results in horribly skewed detection. The problem

is a complete mystery to me.

Still, WSB 2K2 does manage to keep some of its dignity with the online

play feature. Lag can be a serious problem if it hits you during the middle

of a pitch, but otherwise it plays pretty well.

After spending long, sleepless nights with this year’s version of the national

pastime, it’s clear that World Series Baseball 2K2 has taken a step in

the right direction. It’s still not quite All-Star material, but it probably

won’t be sent back to the minors.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

2
Rating
Fielding!
Solid pitching/batting
Online play
Frustrating fielding
Lame AI
Graphical glitches