World Series Baseball 2K2 Impressions

Discussion in 'General' started by Kruza, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Kruza

    Kruza Well-Known Member Gold Supporter

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    Kruza
    Yeah, it is a little late to be posting this (3 months), heh. But to fulfill a special request, here goes my impressions of World Series Baseball 2K2:

    Fielding:
    WSB 2K2 has manual fielding, which is without a doubt the biggest advantage that this game has over WSB 2K1. Another positive thing to note is no speed burst. Good omission. Including speed burst would’ve greatly de-emphasized the importance the use of defensive positioning strategies to apply for certain hitters and proper fielding when chasing down a ball hit in the outfield. (I do have to note that the defensive positioning options for outfielders that was in WSB 2K1 has been taken out of WSB 2K2.) Also, the CPU tends to make the infielders move a step toward the baseball whenever a grounder is hit, so you’ll know which direction to move the infielder in order to get to the ball from the moment you take over control of him. You can step into a throw and put some “umph†on a throw to a base when attempting to make an outfield assist. Nice touches, Visual Concepts. Double plays are a bitch to pull off, unless you’re able to quickly tag out a baserunner to make the first of consecutive outs. Aside from the aforementioned example, double plays shouldn't be as tough as it is to pull off for certain situations. With all the positives being said, I do have problems with how the player is controlled. Although an infielder/outfielder is controlled with the analog stick, it seems that the analog function is not fully implemented. Unlike the case for the NBA 2K and NFL 2K series, a slight movement of the stick doesn’t move a player one bit. And conversely, a full movement moves the defensive player at a constant speed. I didn't notice any in-between speeds after moving the stick in various levels while chasing down a baseball -- and that’s very disappointing for me to see. It’s way too easy to make diving stops. I’ve seen infielders and outfielders catch balls that appear to be moving along above the height of their dive. And how the hell can a player land directly on their feet after leaping in the air almost horizontally? Press the ‘Y’ button to see what I mean here.


    Batting:
    In offline mode, it’s similar to how it was for WSB ‘98 on Saturn when not choosing a zone. Move the batting cursor around with the analog stick and swing by pressing the ‘A’ button. The batting cursor moves too fast for my liking. I would much rather prefer the speed of its movement in WSB 2K1. Batting really shines for online mode, which I’ll get to discussing later (more on this far below). One negative thing to point out is that it’s far too easy to put the bat on the ball to pitches that are thrown way outside the strike zone. Baseballs aren’t even supposed to be hit hard if the bat happens to makes contact with it in these locations -- yet they are in WSB 2K2. The hitter has been given an overwhelming advantage in this game, no doubt.


    Pitching:
    My biggest problem with this game, by far. I bitched about this part of the game for as long as those first E3 movies of WSB 2K2 were shown, and it turns out that almost everything I feared would happen… happened. Frankly, pitching offline in WSB 2K2 SUCKS in comparison to WSB 2K1. First off, the #$%$# pitching cursor has been brought back, putting the pitcher at a major disadvantage going up against a batter. So now we go back to telegraphed fastballs and changeups, bringing in starting pitchers to do a reliever’s and closer’s job, etc. Sure, you can “bluff†the destination of a pitch while moving around the cursor, but this is only going to go so far when playing against someone who knows the deal and learns the ropes of hitting effectively. Another big negative is that the pitches have now been slowed down drastically from the life-like speeds and movements present in WSB 2K1. In WSB 2K2, fastballs that reach 100+ mph move like typical fastballs in the 80s. Sliders, sinkers, and curveballs move like 60- and 50-mph knuckleballs. Changeups move like freakin’ Little League fastballs for crying out loud! I would hate to see what a knuckleball moves like in this game (I need to try out Steve Sparks on the mound). Also, with this pitching format, you cannot manually change the velocity of the pitch. The only thing that’s cool about pitching in WSB 2K2 is the look of the pitch selection icon. Pitching online, however, is a different story -- to a degree (more on this below).


    Features & Options:
    Overall, not bad. Franchise, Home Run Derby, and Season modes are welcome additions, but I doubt I’ll be spending much time playing in any of these modes. And I still didn’t get my dream options… the ability to include/exclude pitching cursor, batting cursor, and strike zone indicator. I want to play a baseball game that allows me to turn ALL these things off, making it an unbeatable baseball experience.


    Sound effects:
    For the most part, it’s better than WSB 2K1. I really like the sound of the ball coming off the bat. However, the one major exception I noticed so far is the sound of the ball popping in the catcher’s mitt sounds like crap. WSB 2K1’s sound was right on the money. The 1-man commentary in WSB 2K2 is okay, and thankfully light years better than the travesty that was heard in WSB 2K1. But it’s nowhere on the 2-man show that’s been established on the NBA 2K & NFL 2K series.


    Presentation:
    Aside from the numerous glitches and bugs, this is another aspect of WSB 2K2 that’s vastly improved over WSB 2K1. Results and progress of a hitter’s previous at-bats during current game are tracked well. For the pitchers, it’s number of pitches thrown between innings, pitcher’s stamina, number of strikeouts, and hits given up. You can even see the results of where the pitcher was locating his pitches when going against a batter during the previous encounter by checking out the batter’s hot & cold zone at 0-0 count. Good stuff.


    Home Run Derby:
    It’s an okay feature with a couple of problems. Pick the slugger(s), a field to hit at, and you’re set. One gripe I have is that I think it’s too easy to hit homers in this mode. I found that all I really have to do is set the batting cursor a little lower than center position and then take my hacks. Timing of the swing is important, but not crucial. What I mean is that it’s a little easier to pull the ball over the fence as opposed to hitting a HR toward the opposite field. The proper timing of the swing to smacking the ball over the fence seems to be more lenient to me in this way. But you can still hit HRs at all parts of the field -- with the most difficult place to hit one at being straight center, of course.

    My only major problem with this mode is the format used in this game. The format of the HR Derby in WSB 2K2 does not follow the actual format of this event. I will explain the differences. In the real HR Derby, the slugger has 10 outs to get before his at-bat is over. An out is counted for any type of contact the bat makes with the ball that don’t result in a home run (i.e. popup, line drive, grounder, etc.). Even pitches that are fouled off in any direction are considered outs. There are 3 possible situations that a slugger does not make an out in this format: If he hits a HR, if he looks at a pitch without swinging the bat, or if he does swings and completely misses the ball. Now for WSB 2K2, you’re only given a select number of pitches to swing at (5, 10, or 20), no matter if or how you hit any of the pitches thrown to you. In summary, WSB 2K2’s format of the HR Derby ultimately limits the maximum number of HRs you can hit, whereas the format in the actual event allows you to keep taking your cuts as long as you're putting balls over the fence.


    Online:
    First off, no in-game chatting. All the chatting you want to do must be done at the server lobbies. The game server keeps track of the Top 50 records, but personally I think this feature is garbage. The one that challenges another player will always be the home team. Online games are hiccup-filled affairs due to the lag… provided that your game haven’t been disconnected, or worse… freeze up. Everything you do will basically be affected by the lag. Your patience will certainly be tested while trying play through the numerous hiccups and such, so your online experience will overall not be good. In a disconnected game, the player who was leading in the game before it was abruptly disconnected automatically gets the win. The player who hits the ‘quit’ option will automatically get the loss put on his/her record while the other gets the win, regardless of whose team was leading in runs scored.

    In my opinion, it’s absolutely great that there is no pitching cursor playing online. However, it’s still not done well. The lag severely affects the intended aim of your pitch, making it nearly impossible to consistently paint the inside/outside corners of the plate. For the most part, you’ll end up throwing the ball further inside/outside than you want to. Battting online is executed far better. There’s no cursor to telegraph the player pitching to you where you’re looking to swing at. You can move the analog stick to a certain area of the strike zone and swing the bat, anticipating where the pitch is going as the ball reaches the plate without giving a hint to the pitcher where you’re looking to swing at… the way hitting is meant to be. It’s too bad for me to witness how disappointing the online mode turned out, because options-wise, THIS is the way I would want to play WSB 2K2; no pitching cursor OR batting cursor. Now remove the strike zone indicator, and then we’re really talking!


    Miscellaneous:
    * I’ve seen collisions at home plate. Looks great. I have yet to see one where the catcher has dropped the ball after a collision, though.

    * In online mode, you're not able to change the level of play (Rookie, Pro, All-Star). I'm assuming that it's set in Pro mode, but I'm not sure about this.

    * Base stealing is nicely done in this game. In WSB 2K1, you had to wait until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand before taking off to the next base. In WSB 2K2 however, you can take off whenever you like. This is good for catching people that’s slippin’ in monitoring baserunners when taking the mound. But be forewarned that this is VERY risky to do. The baserunner is almost guaranteed to be tagged out if the pitcher decides to do a pickoff move (which is also well-implemented in WSB 2K2) at the right moment. Pitchouts are also executed well in this game -- albeit with the slowed down movement of the fastball. All in all, WSB 2K2 replicates the running game aspect of baseball very well.

    * I think I experienced a major glitch in this game. I had a man on 1st and 2nd base with none out. My next batter hits a long fly ball. Initially thinking that it may drop in, I press the ‘X’ button to advance both baserunners. A few seconds later, I notice that the ball may be caught after all, so I immediately press the ‘B’ button to send ‘em back to the previous bases, but the runners wouldn’t move. They just stood there, frozen in place. Next thing I know, I’m staring at my TV screen with a half-shocked, half-smirk, and FULLY-pissed off look after giving up a triple play. Did this bull**** happen to anyone else?

    Kruza
     

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