Publisher & Developer: Sega
Capabilities: VMU and VGA Cord Compatible
Back in 1994, Sega released one of the most innovative baseball games ever, that being the World Series Baseball games. It stuck around on the Genesis for the 95 and 96 sequels, and then got brought over to the Saturn for 3 titles: WS BB, WS BB 2, and WS BB 98. Those 3 titles were proclaimed the greatest baseball series ever.(Trust me, they are!) It had some of the most unique and innovative features in baseball games, like easy to handle pitching and batting and fielding, and so much more. So when I heard the same people behind the Saturn series were making this game I just had to get it. Right now some people are bashing this game silly, but dont get your opinions mixed up until you read a review from some one who actually knows the game. Now get ready for the truth behind World Series Baseball 2K1!
Alright, once I saw the games opening FMV using the games own visuals. I was amazed, that the game looked that damn real. The game looks so great during actual game play for a second you think youre watching the actual thing on tv. The players face look so real, with so much detail, and heck even the faces move, like you can see them chewing gum or smiling. The home run celebrations just look fantastic. The game also uses real batting stances too. The game has some really nice camera angles during the game, like the catcher talking with the pitcher with bases loaded, a nice span on the teams dugout when they have 2 outs and no men on bases, and a couple other. So overall theres a really nice job in the graphics department. The pitcher-batter interface for the game looks superb where you got a great view of the game and all the info is nicely laid out for you. Oh yeah, one great thing the game does(might be annoying to others) is that when a players stealing a base, and the catchers throwing the ball, the camera will somewhat slowdown like in the Matrix fight scenes to see how close you are as if youre safe or out. I really like it.
No for the bad points about the graphics. Those special zoom outs during game play of the dugout and all, they repeat all too often, and theres not to many of them. Also the Action Replays look really awkward and only last a few a few seconds. It seems that in most other games, that after game outs and pitches animation scenes last a little longer than in this game, but thats probably because the games engine is based on the World Series Baseball 99 arcade engine. Oh, yeah there is no Instant Replay mode, well there sort of is, and you can only do it by pressing start when one of the action replays are shown.
You got all your regular sound effects in here like the bats hitting the ball, the sliding of the ball players, etc. All is really well done and sounds like the real thing. The announcer is ok at best, I dont even think its a real announcer, some hired guy like in the NBA & NFL 2K games, but he sounds all right, all he only does is call play-by-play, just saying what the count is after every pitch, and whos throwing the ball to who. He announces all the player names, and even announces some made up players by just announcing their initials. Overall he sounds all right, but I just wished he had some enthusiasm, and threw in some comments about the game like the commentators in NFL & NBA 2K did. Also it sounds really odd when Action Replays are shown, because since theres no voice over during it, some special little tune plays during it, which makes them really annoying to watch.
Well, like I said before, the game is based on the World Series Baseball 99 arcade engine, so the game moves at a really fast rate, like it takes me 30-50 minutes to finish a 9 inning game on the average. Any ways the game controls great. At first the controls might seem a little awkward to you, but once you get into the game a while, youll get them down. Unlike most other baseball games today, you cant control the fielders, instead when the ball is hit the player nearest to the ball runs and get it. But you have to decide where to throw it by pressing a direction on the control stick(down for home plate, right for 1st base, up for 2nd base, and left for 3rd base) and the A button simultaneously. Some people argue this element takes away from the game, but I really like it, and half the time I cant even make out where the fielders are so Im glad they automatically run for the ball, the only bad part about it is so far is that occasionally, the fielders will miss an easy catch or something like that, but this was probably one of those arcade elements of the engine that made it into the home port, and while it may seem odd at first, you will adapt to it after a while.
The pitching interface is innovative and well done, depending on the attributes for the pitcher, a bar with lines coming out to it in 8 directions are the available pitches you have, it doesnt label which pitch is which(and thats a good thing so youre opponent wont know what youre doing) but youll get em all memorized after a while. Any ways, after you select your pitch, theres a gauge meter that appears and you press A on it to determine how fast your pitch is. The batting interface might seem awkward to, you hold the L trigger to bunt, and hold the R trigger and move the control stick to determine where you want to swing and release the R trigger to swing, seems really odd at first, but it does fit the game well, and you will get use to it. Whats really great in here, is that each players batting stance represents the strike zone they have, making it really challenging in the game to get strike outs.
The game has a few modes of play to choose from. For those who dont feel like goofing around with options and all, theres quick start, which automatically chooses a team for you, and gets you into a game. Great mode learning the controls in my opinion. Then theres exhibition, where you can monkey around customizing weather or not to have replays on, the inning length, camera angles, etc. Next, theres playoff where you automatically skip all season play and be on your to the World Series. And finally theres Season mode, where you can pick the length of your season, have the All-Star game, go through all the stats you can imagine, and be on your quest for the World Series. Theres also a customize option where you can create players, and make teams pitcher and batting line up adjustments. I really wished there were some more modes of play here like Home Run Derby, which was usually in all the past World Series games, and maybe a practice mode couldve helped out a lot too. To me, it seems like the developers purposely did this so they got some noteworthy stuff to mention they added in next years game. Developers love to do this(I.E. no NFL team license in first Madden game for N64), and it really takes away from the fun of the game.
Like I said, some veteran gamers will automatically seem ticked off at the no controlling of the fielders option and will automatically turn this game down. Also I find the lack of a Home Run derby and batting practice modes really annoying. But the game itself is really fun to play, I remember playing 1 and a half to 2 hour games of Griffey or All-Star Baseball, and I really love the fast rate of the game, so Season mode wont seem like a pain to play. Also the game can be played with up to 2 players, so you can go against your friend for an all out slugfest. And the create-a-player mode is one of the best Ive seen in Baseball games today. So for what the game lacks in modes, it makes up for in excellent game mechanics and customizing features.
+: Great Create-a-player mode, Really fast Arcade-like play, easiest to learn Pitcher-Batter Interface Ive ever played
-: Cant control fielders will turn off baseball gamer veterans, no home run derby mode, the action replays in here really suck
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 7.5
Replay Value: 7.0
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
This game seems a lot like an Arcade game, so maybe sim fans should stay away from the game, or at least give it a rent, because as of this review, this is the only baseball game out on the system. It has a couple of important flaws in the game, but its still a blast to play, and Im sure fans of other arcade sports games like Showtime or Blitz will really like the game. Either way, you owe it yourself to at least give this game a rent. I just hope next years version will be a hell of a lot better with the Home Run Derby and batting practice modes added and maybe some online play too.