World Series Baseball 2K1


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3

Without EA Sports on board for the brief run of the Dreamcast, Sega (along with Visual Concepts) felt the pressure and succeeded on almost every level. Every level except baseball. This atrocious and possibly rushed digital baseball simulation is just packed with countless flaws that make it almost unplayable. The on-field play is bad enough. Off the field it's even worse.

The game has a serious lack of features. Full season play is available, but not tossing in a franchise mode is just disappointing. A home run derby was promised in many previews but is nowhere to be found, and some of the features from the Saturn version of the game have been excised. What happened to the ability to send players down to the minors?

Even with all this, the biggest problem is the complete lack of player controlled fielding. You can throw to the bases, but the AI will try and make the real plays. It's sufficient, but it will occasionally screw things up and of course it will never be your fault. Worse yet, the wild camera, trying to simulate a real broadcast, will alter your throwing controls on the fly. For instance, you'll try and throw to first but the broadcast-style camera will swing around seconds before pressing the button and the throw will end up going to third.

The batter-pitcher interface is unique with many innovative features, but not all of them come together. Swinging is mapped to the right trigger and bunting to the left. Pressing the analog trigger results in a delay, though it does make it easier to cancel a swing. While worrying about how far you've pressed the button, you'll also have to move a cursor into place. The entire experience is far too frustrating and there is a reason it was not used in the next installment. Pitching is easier with a meter that must be stopped at its peak to throw the fastest pitch. You also guide your pitch with the analog stick.

This game was a graphical masterpiece when it first came out, but it has not aged well at all. The seams on the joints of the players are evident no matter what they do and clipping is always a problem. What saves this one are the textures. It's not very realistic, but it just looks astounding and masks the lower polygon count. Animation routines are superb, but once they're done, players just stand in place. The stadiums are rendered to perfection though the crowd is impossible to identify.

Limited play-by-play will guide you through the game, but getting there will be a tough ride. The menu music is just pitiful and spending just a few minutes browsing will likely cause some form of insanity. Some of the on-field effects are off as well. The sound of a ball connecting with a glove sounds completely fabricated. The crowd also sounds weak and scratchy, uncharacteristic of todays sports games.

Thankfully, the next game in the series (on the Dreamcast) would improve on almost every department this game failed in. There is really no reason to go back and play through this junk. It may have looked good back when it was initially released, but that one saving grace has been lost to time. This is a game for completeists only.


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Last updated: Saturday, June 18, 2005 04:56 AM