High Heat MLB 2002
Review of High Heat MLB 2002
I know what you all want to know… So how does this stack up to All Star Baseball and Triple Play?… Well, in terms of playability it does very well. The ability to more easily throw to the base of your choice (rather than the computers choice), is a welcome addition. Its done simply by using the buttons that correspond to the bases (e.g. the triangle is second base, X is home plate). Expanding on defense, each pitcher has a selection of pitches that he would normally have in his arsenal in real life. I did notice differences occasionally between pitch selections though. You can choose your pitch and whether to throw a strike or ball. This can be used for pitch-outs or to try to get the opponent to chase a bad pitch. That is much easier against an opponent than the computer. If there is a player on base, you can throw to the base to hold the runner and also throw to a base to throw out a runner. Overall, the pitcher/batter interface is beautifully done and represented here.
In the area of fielding, there are some areas that are good, but damn…with a bit of work they could have been great. The first thing to note is this is 100% digital control. The thumbsticks dont have any purpose and you must use the d-pad to move the fielders around. If you are an old-time gamer, this is easier to master since you cut your teeth on the original digital controller. It does limit the fielding if youre less experienced with the d-pad. The other thing of concern is the sometimes odd choice by the computer of the fielder under your control. Sometimes the shortstop is the fielder even though the balls heading towards right center field and the center fielder should be catching the ball. The computer does sometimes help by actually catching the ball; otherwise, youre chasing the ball with the wrong fielder. When it does go to another fielder, you then can control him once he catches the ball to throw back to the bases. You have to be sharp and rapidly chance fielders whenever this occurs and it tends to break up the flow of the game a bit.
All in all, I still like the playability, but would like to see some analog controls used and a bit of AI tightening.
As for hitting, the batter swings with a firm held press of the X button. A quick tap of the X will just do a check swing. This is helpful if you notice the ball is un-hittable. The computer will run the bases pretty conservatively. There is the option to push to an extra base if you so choose. There isnt a way to just advance one runner. If there are two base-runners, choosing to advance the runners will send them both. When sometimes you want to hold the hitter at first and advance the other runner to third, it cant be done. I tried it and my runner was thrown out at second.
I did play a series of different stadiums to check out the detail. I concentrated on some stadiums that Ive visited to help verify the realism. There is a nice feature when you pause the game that allows you to pan the stadium and zoom in and out and move up and down and around to some extent. The stadiums are very realistic, when you do zoom in though, you see the pixelization of the background and fans. They do a nice job of making the crowd look like they are moving individually. They do this by moving a dispersed group separately from another and so on. It is only noticeable when you zoom in closely.
While the background and fans are done using 2-D cardboard cut-out bitmaps, the players are rendered using full 3-D polygons. There are some noticeable seems and edging on the players, but nowhere near that of a PSone game. Overall the graphics are good, but not as good as we have already seen on other PS2 titles. Im sure the developers concentrated more on playability than graphics this time around. The animations and play transitions could have used a bit of tweaking to be sure.
The sound on this game is excellent. The play-by-play and color announcers are good, but no one famous. The calls are good as well and dont get too repetitive. The sound effects are excellent and a nice touch is the home fans do cheers for good hits and fielding and actually increase the volume at more important times during the gameplay. They also do the collective awww when their player strikes out or commits an error.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'High Heat MLB 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 15 High Heat MLB 2002 in-game screenshot slideshow
Have You Played High Heat MLB 2002 ?
If you have owned 'High Heat MLB 2002' long enough to have formed a solid opinion on it, then click here to write your own mini review of High Heat MLB 2002.
Alternatively, if you would like to read what other gamers who already own High Heat MLB 2002 think of it, click here to view all of our reader comments and mini reviews of High Heat MLB 2002.
Want To Know More About High Heat MLB 2002 ?