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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Game Profile
Game Boy
3DO Company, The
Mobius Entertainment
GENRE: Sports
September 27, 2001
High Heat Major League Baseball 2004

High Heat Major League Baseball 2004

High Heat Major League Baseball 2003

 Written by Matt Swider  on October 19, 2001

Review: More fun than baseball *yawn*? and checkmate

Baseball is often referred to as America's past time by many, however the game does have the tendency to present a boring aspect to a broad amount of spectators who simply state that the sport isn't what it had once been. Despite that feeling, baseball is still very much alive and there's no greater sign than the release of videogame titles dedicated to the sport each year. With the final weeks of baseball upon us 3DO steps up to the plate, once again with its highly acclaimed High Heat Baseball series, and swings fans a title for Game Boy Advance owners. But, just like baseball some times, this version of High Heat sports an ideal look without the follow up in many key elements.

Visually, everything seems accurate from the opening menus to the player animations on the field. The game is able to remain clean and crisp graphics wise, and is still able to offer more detail than most Game Boy Advance titles out there. Also, High Heat is complete with full MLB licensing, giving access to all thirty major league baseball teams containing more than 600 players from this season's 2001 rosters. In attempting to offer each MLB stadium, High Heat comes short. It merely produces a background image during the at bat view, but it all turns out to be smoke and mirrors when the ball is hit deeper into the arena where you find out it's is nothing more than the same model within each ballpark.

Besides that single limitation, no other visual inconsistencies can be called out, and even though this ?ballpark scandal' is pretty easy to spot, it shouldn't make much of difference to most casual players. More important are other the things missing from different areas of the game. For a Game Boy Advance title, this of High Heat has some of the best detail in its smooth animations, although it won't take more than an inning to notice the lack of ones performed by players. This sparks awareness that numerous moves have been excluded, leaving you unable to execute certain controls when fielding and throughout other parts of the game.

During times when you need to jump for the ball nearing the wall in the outfield, dive for a hit that is in danger of rolling past a baseman in the infield, or when you want to run up next to the stands to glove out a foul ball for an easy out, you're out of luck when it comes to High Heats control scheme. It's not like these instance don't occur and no one would need these options either. Pitchers can chose from the limited amount of throws available to them, according to their style, but restrictions once again come in terms of being able to pick off runners on the bases, or even bean a batter on wild pitch. Though more times than none that is executed for some sick fun, rather than by ?accident.'

After a couple times at bat, swinging will seem more and more repetitive as there is no real need to worry about connecting with the high or low pitches. The bat is swung in the middle at all times, and the only variation available is through D pad to adjust the power to your hit. The lone thing to worry about is timing with the oncoming throw, and it should then result in a hit if done correctly. Once a runner is on the base there will be no need to concentrate on any other player but the next batter, only because the game's limitations prove immense here as well. There's no stealing, control over leading or advancing to bases, and tag-ups after a pop out.

Limitations aren't also?limited?to gameplay as well. The audio is seemingly nonexistent except for calls of balls, strikes, outs, and the voice at the beginning starting each game with ?Play Ball.? No commentary can be heard and no music is played to listen to. That fact alone drives on my first statement of how baseball can be slow moving and boring to some. With dead silence and a very good chance that you'll hear absolutely no crowd cheering during a full game, it's likely that you will agree with many who think this way about baseball. Some tune or low crowd cheer would have been appreciated, doing the trick to keep the innings from seeming so sluggish; I mean even the pause menu has some sort of rocking beat to it.

One the bright side, and yes there is light at the end of the tunnel, High Heat Baseball does offer five complete modes of play including practice, exhibition, season, playoffs, or home run derby modes. This variety of options should keep you in the game for quite some time, however, no nearly as much as if the game offered multiplayer support. Yes, you're on your own for this game, as there is no head to head options nevermind four-player features.

Bottom Line
What it comes down to is High Heat is missing a lot of essentials to make a completely successful baseball title. You could say, it's just a few innings short of a full game, retiring after that seventh inning stretch. At this point it's also Game Boy Advance's only licensed MLB game making it worth checking out, but not a guaranteed home run with some casual players. For now, let's hope they turn up the heat next year with a more solid rendition of the series.

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