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World Series Baseball

World Series Baseball by Sega of America World Series Baseball
by Sega of America, Inc.

Platform: Xbox
ESRB Rating: Everyone
ASIN: B0000664J8

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• Baseball simulator
• Hall of Fame legend players and classic uniforms
• Powerful franchise mode
• Realistic errors and injuries
• For 1 or 2 players In 2001, Sega and developers Visual Concepts--the same people who brought you the NFL 2Kx series and other sports games--turned out a solid console baseball game that was a major improvement on the previous version and the first with head-to-head Internet play. This version for the Xbox marks a similar leap in quality, combining some of the best features of its competitors into one well-considered whole. Alas, the only thing missing is Internet play.

Going beyond motion-capturing batting stances (there are 89 distinct ones in here by my count), they've done a great job of animating pretty much every aspect of the game in pitch delivery, fielding, and base-running. The instant replay system, which borrows from and improves upon the one seen in the High Heat series, allows you to move the camera anywhere on the field to see the realistic movements at any speed. You can also use the feature to see the game's sophisticated artificial intelligence--for example, there's a brief, realistic delay when a player tags up from third on an outfield fly.

There's also a solid pitching game that lets a starter like Tim Hudson get off without a shelling when pitching heat down the middle, but try it with a pitcher like Byung-Hyun Kim and you're bound to see different results. And the TV-style zone chart shows which locations each batter is best at connecting to and where your sequence of pitches has landed.

A number of the new features are so obvious that you may wonder why you've never seen them before. One is a controller map in the pause menu that quickly shows you exactly which buttons perform the task you want. An option is also included that sets the relative speed of pitches to the plate. This really comes in handy when coming from another baseball game like All-Star Baseball 2003 where pitches seem to blur to the plate.

To put it bluntly, the game has almost no downside. There are some very powerful GM and manager functions--including a fantasy draft and exhaustive franchise tools--though using them is somewhat counterintuitive. Stealing is kind of tough to pull off; in one game, Ichiro got caught twice out of three attempts. And, as stated above, there's no Internet play--but that gives us something to look forward to for next year. --Porter B. Hall

Realistic player movement
Smart AI
TV-style zone chart marks hot and cold areas for each batter
Variable pitch-appearance speeds

No head-to-head play over the Internet

Customer Reviews:
DO NOT GET...., October 13, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Florham Park, NJ United States

Better than a kick in the face, October 2, 2002
Reviewer: scot0240 from Harahan, LA United States
I read some people's problems with getting the computer to swing out of the zone, getting the computer to take walks, and especially stealing.

I think diehard baseball fans would have less of a problem with that stuff. I had absolutely zero problems with any of those things on the All Star mode. I didn't have a problem hitting too many home runs. I didn't hit more than 45 with any player on my roster, and some everyday players didn't hit 15 for the year. Now, my batting cursor was on small, so maybe that did it, but I don't know what to tell you there.

My problems revolved around the number of absolute BLOCKBUSTER trades that went down and the lack of a jump button. First off, you just really need to be able to jump. Secondly, Giambi was traded FOUR TIMES in my game . . . WITHIN THIRTY DAYS. That's just plain laughable. Sosa was traded three times within 60 days. Clean those two things up, and I think you've got one heck of a game.

I really think this is overrated., August 24, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from usa
this series may approach greatness in a year, but for now this doesn't suffice. worthless hr derby, stange pasted player models, no warm up oitchers, weird stat tracking, freezes, easy batting with one big bat cursor, no cut-off man throw that is reliable, bad baserunning ai, no jump button, cpu won't take balls/walk, roster errors, incorrect batting stances, ok commentary and stadiums, and many more issues that make this average

Phenomenal, August 21, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Long Valley, NJ USA
I can't rave about this game enough. There have been a handful of games that I've enjoyed this much, such as the old Techmo Bowl football game or 94 EA Sports NHL hockey, and this game is right there. It is extremely enjoyable and highly addictive. I'll only add this minor suggestion because I hope that the developers will read this for next year - when the relief pitcher comes in for the opposing team, please announce it and give a synopsis of their strengths and weaknesses like you do with the starters. If that is my only suggestion, you know I love this game.

The best Baseball game out there!, August 20, 2002
Reviewer: ajcar1992 from Baltimore, MD USA
It is the best baseball game out there. I am attached to it and going a day without it is like going a day without breakfast. I would highly recomend this to any xbox or baseball fan!

Surprising Baseball Fun, August 9, 2002
Reviewer: slow-hand from Glen Allen, VA USA
Where ASB was supposed to be about simulation, WSB was supposed to be about arcade fun. As I noted in my ASB review, the sim part is there, but the rest leaves a lot to be desired. WSB provides some arcade fun, but also delivers a good dose of simulation that creates almost the perfect baseball game for me.

Thumbs UP:
Good baseball action except for the pitching. Great stats, except one glitch with the fielding numbers. Excellent rumble action when you really get a hold of one. Good replay value. Very good graphics.

Thumbs DOWN:
The pitching is too slow even on the fast setting. Could have fixed the glitch in the stats. Graphics could be better. Needs a customized team option like in ASB.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10
An excellent baseball game that surpasses ASB in a lot of ways. Sega stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with this one. My baseball gaming allegiance has now officially switched from Acclaim to Sega based on their first efforts for the XBOX. If you enjoy decent simulation with arcade qualities, then skip ASB 2003 and get WSB.

Kinda, July 28, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer
The downsides of this game are that: if you run past first base and the guy standing first can get you out bysticking his glove into mid-air while you are half way to 2nd base and still get you out, another one is you cant hit the cutoff even though he is workin' his [butt] off to get the ball.

Approaching greatness, July 20, 2002
Reviewer: ironchef76 from Western PA, USA
This is basically a slightly enhanced version of World Series 2002 for the Sega Dreamcast. As such, if you liked WS2K2, you will like WS2K3. Others have focused on the many, many positives of the game (graphics, player animation, pitching control, franchise mode, etc) so I'm going to focus on the few aspects of the game that prevent it from being perfect:

A) I realize that the developers wanted the graphics & animation to be silky smooth, and they are, but that hi-res visual goodness comes at the expense of fielding accuracy. I'll echo the complaint that double-play grounders that should be automatic are far too often not. I'm sorry, but Kevin Young hasn't been seen beating out a DP ball ever. Same goes for outfielders after catching a fly ball. The CPU AI is tight and will run on you at a moment's notice, but the throws from the outfielders are very slow to react when they throw to a base, thus giving an unnecessary edge to baserunners. Both problems would be solved by ironing out the "molasses effect" that restricts fielding.

B) The commentary, while not often incorrect, is horribly bland. The play-by-play is strictly meat-&-potatoes stuff (name & position) and the color commentary is often too generalized and rote. Besides the opening of the game, and maybe during a relief appearance, the announce team will say nothing individualized about any of the players. And there is a glitch when it comes to CPU pinch-hitters: they are 100% always announced as pinch-runners by the color commentator (former SF Giant pitcher Mike Krukow). This might be being tough on the game, but a powerful next-gen console like the XBox deserves better than PS1-era play-by-play announcing. You'll be begging for NFL 2K2's cheesy announce crew by the time 9 innings are up.

C) Make sure you know what base you want to throw to as a fielder, because once you press the button, that's where the throw is going. I have botched a few plays at the plate because at the time I caught it, the runner wasn't tagging, but then he decides to go, but the fielder will throw to whatever base you initially chose. In other words, there is no button override function. This goes similarly for baserunning: if you are halfway down the 1st-base line and push the button to go to second base, then decide against it, make sure you return to 1st base because the game keeps that first button press in memory, but luckily the baserunning allows you to return fairly easily.

D) The graphics often fail to match up to the play being made. A runner attempting to steal might be called out merely because the throw was in time, though the tag was obviously (via replay) not applied at all. The fielders will occasionally pull a Matrix move and magically slide across the field on their feet to make a diving catch. Once again, it's not to much positioning deciding the catch, but general timing. Which again, might be harsh, but in a next-gen universe, these same old shoddy corner-cutting measures need to be cured, or we all might as well go back to MLB '99.

Even with the small gripes, WSB2K3 is still far and away the best choice for baseball on the XBox. And perhaps because the game is so strong in most areas, it leaves itself open to minor criticism in lesser areas. Sorta like pointing out a handful of weeds on an otherwise lush, green lawn. I can only imagine if Sega remedies these small issues, we might be as close to perfection as possible.

This game is overrated., July 19, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Brandon, FL USA
Although this game had a bunch of good reviews, it, as well as all XBox Baseball Games, aren't that great. This one doesn't make full use of the many buttons on the controller. A to hit and pitch, No turbo, No powerswing. The players look like they do on those nintendo Japanese games. They all look alike. The crowd looks flat. It's impossible to walk someone unless you dot them with the ball. It's too easy to hit the ball. Even on the harder settings. There aren't many different looking hits on the replays. The announcer should be fired and when you are fielding the ball the reaction time is very slow. I do like the classic uniforms though. And the franchise mode is OK. If I were you, I would wait to rent Slugfest 20-03 and see which one is the better one.

Best baseball game for XBOX bar none..., July 19, 2002
Reviewer: Hans Christopher Kessock from Charleston, SC USA
I rented all of the available games and this one beat them all by a long shot. It is not too difficult, but not too easy either, a very tricky thing to accomplish in a video game. The graphics are superb, the animations are great, the only thing I didn't like (and no other game handled this well) is the absence of 'leading off' from a particular base. In this game you either steal when the pitcher moves to the plate, or you don't... You can't 'tease' him into throwing over, or take a lead.

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