"The Best Baseball Game. WE GUARANTEE IT" - 3DO
Written in bold, black letters on the cover of High Heat Baseball 2000's instruction manual, 3DO is confident (or cocky) that their product is the baseball title of choice on the Playstation. So are they being self-confident, or are they just self-delusional? Read on and find out!
High Heat Baseball 2000 offers six modes of play: Exhibition, Season, Playoffs, Home Run Challenge, Quick Play, and a Family Mode. The Family mode will allow younger gamers or players new to the game to jump right in and compete with more experienced veterans. The game includes full general management features, including the option to bring players up from the minors. Unfortunately, a multi-season career mode is not included. Thirty-seven stadiums are in this game, with two classics and five never-before-seen. Finally, over 750 MLBPA players are present, along with 1999 rosters and comprehensive 1998 season stats for all of the players.
3DO's internal baseball studio, Team .366, puts realism above everything else. They want to give players a true baseball experience, rather than the usual arcade action with some realistic touches that other games provide. This all starts with High Heat's "TruPlay" AI that produces realistic computer running, fielding, hitting, pitching, and management actions. The computer will call pitchouts every so often to keep you honest and double switches are utilized.
High Heat's pitching interface provides nine different pitching types, while the batting interface allows players to guess the pitch ahead of time. Batting is accomplished by timing your swing and pointing the d-pad at the location of the pitch. Pitching is pretty standard as well. You select your pitch and location, then aim either in or out of the strike zone, depending on which button you use to throw the pitch.
While the features listed above are great, the graphics suffer in comparison to EA Sports' Triple Play 2000 and 989 Studios' MLB 2000. The players look blocky and move unrealistically. What's worse, batters are only distinguished by skin color. The stadiums aren't anything to get excited about either. Even though there are seven extra stadiums, they just look fuzzy and blurry. This is one of those cases where poor graphics take away from the gameplay.
The sound in High Heat Baseball is just as unimpressive. The crowd is barely noticeable, and the play-by-play of Ted Robinson is dull and robotic. Don't get me wrong - I love Robinson's announcing during the San Francisco Giants telecasts. He's just incredibly boring here.
After hearing good things about High Heat Baseball 2000 for the PC, the Playstation version just disappoints. With it being released after MLB 2000 and Triple Play 2000, you would think Team .366 was holding High Heat back to see what the competition had to offer before releasing a title that would blow them out of the water. Alas, such was not the case.