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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
GENRE: Sports
PLAYERS:   1-4
May 20, 2003
 Written by Alex Fitzgerald  on June 25, 2003

Full Review: All the baseball action you love without the dirt stained pants.

Many say that baseball is America's pastime but I disagree. It should be WATCHING baseball is America's pastime. If you need any evidence of this just go ahead and drive by any neighborhood ballpark sometime. You never see anybody playing there, save for a father and son pair sometimes, and even when there are Little League games the fields are cleared the second after the game is over, as no one hangs out at the field after the game.

However, if you go to a professional ballpark you'll get a different picture. Thousands of people, paying upwards of a hundred dollars for tickets, parking, and the obligatory 2 sodas and a hot dog, to WATCH baseball. If you don't want to go all the way to a professional ballpark though, you can save yourself some time by going over to practically any male's house and witness the phenomenon that is the hardcore baseball fan. Believe me, it's quite the sight, as TV baseball watchers are some of the most hardcore out there. How else could someone stand to sit on their butt for three hours straight while bad announcers constantly cut off to lame commercials?

Now though, Microsoft has made the newest Inside Pitch game not for baseball fans, but for baseball watching fans. In Inside Pitch 2003, players will have the ability to alter their team's standing in the rankings by taking total control of every person within their chosen team's organization. Still, many other games in the sports genre are offering such options to players, so can Inside Pitch 2003 stack up against those titles? Read onward to find out.

The game's play interface is much like any other game in that players will fight their way to a win by utilizing the game's pitching and batting meters, along with whatever controls the game sets the player up for while they're playing defense. In Inside Pitch 2003 the overall theme seems to be simplicity over depth.

This theory is seen in the game within the batting interface for one, as all you need to do within Inside Pitch 2003 to hit the ball is pick one of three areas to hit the ball and then swing away. As such, batting in the game is far more timing-oriented than other games. The game's timing meter is a good reflection is a good example of this, as after each ball you make contact with the game will greet you with a meter showing you how early or late you hit the ball. With this batting interface hitting instantly becomes a breeze, which will likely come off as a mixed blessing to most virtual baseball fans who prefer that their baseball games require a little more skill from the player. Having played the unbelievably difficult tragedy that was All Star Baseball 2003's batting interface though, I can confidently say that I would be more annoyed if the game's batting interface was too hard to control rather than being too easy.

The pitching interface is also quite simple, all though not to the degree that the batting interface is. The way that the pitching interface is that you pick a pitch, pick where you want to pitch it, and then press one button if you want it to be a ball and another button if you want it to be a strike. This pitching interface is great, all though it doesn't feature a meter for how much energy your pitcher has left, a recent addition that's been made to other baseball games. Also, the number of pitch types available is limited compared to other baseball games this year, which comes off as a serious disadvantage when you look at games that offer obscure pitches like the "slurve."

If your pitching is lacking though you'll eventually have to learn how to utilize the defensive controls. Like the pitching and batting control layouts the defensive controls are also quite simple in nature, but unlike the batting and pitching layouts the defensive controls do not spare anything or make the game overly simple. Controlling your baseball players is intuitive, but never overly simple, and the game allows you to control everything including where your players are lined up, what base they throw to, or when their players will dive for a ball or not.

One big feature of any baseball game, or sports game for that matter, is the games mode lists. For the most part, Inside Pitch 2003 delivers in this department, offering modes like Season, Single Game, Homerun Derby, and the all-important online mode. The one blemish that Inside Pitch has is that it features no dynasty or franchise mode, a major no-no when it comes to baseball simulations. Oh well, lets hope the guys at Microsoft get the memo next year.

The graphics for Inside Pitch 2003 are pleasing to the eye, but they're nothing revolutionary. Player models and stadium models are fairly detailed, and the animations are quite smooth, and since those are always the two big areas in baseball games most baseball gamers should be pleased.

As for audio, again, nothing amazing but nothing bad. The sound effects sound authentic, and really make the digital ballparks come alive. The game also plays music for certain points during the game, all though you can make them play your own mp3s through the custom soundtrack tool. Given the short time though that the songs play though, the feature seems kind of pointless. Nevertheless, kudos to Microsoft for at least making the option available.

Bottom Line
When it all comes down to it, Inside Pitch 2003 is a solid entry into the baseball video game genre. The gameplay, though a bit simplistic, works well and is a joy to interact with, and the online mode gives the game some lasting replay value. The only problem Inside Pitch 2003 really faces is its competition, as games like High Heat easily beat out Inside Pitch in several areas. Still though, if all you own is an Xbox, and you're in the mood for a good baseball sim, you won't be disappointed by Inside Pitch.

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