Title: MLB 2002   Developer: 989 Studios   Type: Sports Baseball
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MLB 2002
"That old veteran of Major League baseball, the MLB series, makes its swan song for the PSOne. Does it have anything new to offer armchair players or is it just more of the same old, same old? "
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PSone REVIEW:
 
Upon receiving our review of MLB 2001 for the PSOne the first thing to go through my head was the old Who tune, Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…I just had to wonder to myself, did 989 just pump out an updated roster version of MLB or did they go that extra mile and end the series on the PSOne on a high note. Let\'s see…

For those that have played the MLB series you are already aware of the ups and downs that this franchise has been through. The gameplay has waffled from a good sim to a relatively bad arcade game and then last year settled somewhere in between. This year\'s version presents gamers with all of the updated rosters of course. Also there are the new stadiums, the face lifted stadiums, etc. In addition to the normal updates, MLB2002 has added a few new gameplay options.

Gamers can now play the game in Manager mode where you sit back and manhandle your players. Better still is the General Manager mode where you get to sit in the drivers seat as owner of the franchise. Both modes give players a whole new perspective on the game and prove to be an interesting and worthwhile addition to the series.

Spring Training mode is very cool and gives AAA players the chance to make the cut onto a major league team or get sent back to the minors.

The MLB series I felt always contained a nice batter / pitcher interface that captured the timeless battle between hitter and pitcher quite well. This version is equally as challenging and enjoyable. With MLB\'s Total Control Pitching/Batting and Fielding, players can really experience the thrill of armchair baseball without fear of pulling a hamstring.

To coincide with the Total Control interfaces, the animation has been beefed up so sliding, jumping batting, running, etc. all look quite realistic and believable. To further compliment the package, there is a wonderful television style presentation to the whole game. From the game announcers to the camera pans, MLB does a fantastic job of getting players into the game.

Batting stances can be adjusted in a myriad of different ways with gamers able to shift left or right, move within the batters box and open or close your stance. There are also many signature style stances for the major leaguers that accurately mimic their real life counterparts.

This version of MLB is certainly more rooted in the sim category this year and well it should…that\'s where it began its history and it is fitting that it should end this way. The real drawback though is that the game does not move along at quite a fast clip as say the TP games do. For me this was just fine and an acceptable trade-off, but it may put off those that have weak attention spans.

The graphics are about the best this series has seen with smooth animation, nice camera views and seamless controls. The character models have been pumped up to about as far as you are going to see on the PSOne and the stadiums are very nicely represented and modeled as well.

On the sound side of the house, there is great announcing by Vin Scully and to take a cue from the EA book, MLB has some fine color analyzing by Dave Scully.

The sound effects and music are what you would expect from watching a BB game on TV. Nice bat/ball connecting sounds, crowd noise and a cheesy organ or good rock music.

FEATURES:
 
TV-Style Presentation - Along with more commentary from the two-man booth of Hall of Famer, Vin Scully and color analyst Dave Campbell, all new camera angles provide the authentic telecast.



Professionally Consulted AI - Batting AI has been designed with Tony Gwynn. Pitching AI has been improved with input from nearly a dozen top hurlers in the game including, Trevor Hoffman. Defensive and strategic AI have been enhanced with input from top MLB Managers.



Stadium Graphics - Play at the all-new PNC Park in Pittsburgh or one of the newer stadiums in the league including; Safeco Field in Seattle, Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco and Comerica Park in Detroit. Player Models & Animations - More than 300 authentic Major League motion-captured animations with 250 personalized moves.



Player models featuring actual player faces, right down to their facial hair.



Multiple Gameplay Modes - Exhibition Mode delivers on the fly match-ups to scratch that itch for MLB action. Spring Training Mode tests your skills to see if you have what it takes to earn a spot in the show. In Season Mode, pace yourself through the challenge of 162 games in your quest to win the World Series™ title. Can\'t wait a full season for the glory? Skip ahead to the All-Star game, Playoffs or World Series™. If power hitting is your game, Home Run Derby will determine the modern day Sultan of Swat. Franchise Mode forces you to use your gaming skills and scouting ability to win games, earn points, purchase contracts of big name players and build your team from a doormat to a dynasty!

OPTIONS:
 
• 1 Disk(s)
• CD Media
• 6 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
• Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
• Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility

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Review SUMMARY and SCORE
Tom Rooney  "MLB 2002 is the Swan Song for the series on the PSOne game console. Converting over to the PS2 next year (please 989, don\'t disappoint us), gamers will get to enjoy this series one final time on their aging gray console.

Luckily I would easily consider this release to be the best in the series with 989 really pulling out all of the stops and delivering a truly enjoyable simulation style baseball experience."
Graphics  19/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  8/10
Lastability  19/20
94%
This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
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REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:

OUR PLEDGE:

We promise that we have fully played '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.

SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)

00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.

60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.

70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.

80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.

90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.

IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:

It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.

A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.


READERS REVIEWS:

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PSone Review SUMMARY and SCORE
James S. Britton  "This Game Would Be Good Except For The Fact That The Stat Calculations Is Totally Screwed Up! The Biggest Thing That Makes Me Mad Is That Sometimes When You Get A Hit The Stats Will Never Reflect That Hit, I.e. If Its Your First Ab Of The Season And You Get A Hit Your Average Is Still .000. The Second Thing Is That Your Closing Pitcher Is Hardly Ever Credited With A Save When In Fact He Should Be, Maybe Like 10% Of The Time. Ive Also Seen My Closer Get The Win A Few Times When My Starter Should Have Gotten It. And The Third Thing That Sucks Is Error. Guys Are Credited With Errors For Meaningless Things Such As A Throw To A Cutoff Man Etc. I Dont Understand Why 989 Couldn't Have Fixed These Glitches That Occur In Mlb 2001 Too. My Guess Is They Just Don't Care."
Graphics  11/20
Playability  20/50
Sound  5/10
Lastability  15/20
51%
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PSone Review SUMMARY and SCORE
John Silvers  "After Playing Mlb 2001 I'm Afraid To Say That I Was Somewhat Disapointed In This So-called Updated Version. The Graphics Are Pretty Cool And The Gameplay Itself Is Excellent, However I Felt It Fell Short Of It's Advertised Updated Rosters And New Stadiums. It Looks As Though The Rosters Were Simply Added On To The Previously Existing Rosters Of Mlb 2001 Taking No Care Of Players Long Since Retired Or Now On Other Teams. Mlb 2002 Was Supposed To Have New Stadiums And/or Updated Stadiums. The Stadiums For The Most Part Look Like Carbon Copies Of The Stadiums In 2001. The New Stadiums Were Done Pretty Well, But Where Is Miller Park? The Brewers Are Bad Enough But At Least Let Them Play In Their New Stadium! The Only Other Improvement I Can See On This Game Would Be The Commentary/announcing. The Announcers Call The Play After It Has Already Happend. They Are Very Repedative And Do Not Always Seem To Make The Right Call. Despite These Small Problems, I Would Still Recomend This Game Over Ea Sports' Triple Play Update, The Batter- Pitching Interaction Is Much More Real And So Is The Hitting. P.s. Why Are There No Fights? Be The First Company To Make This Happen. Go 989!"
Graphics  11/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  8/10
Lastability  20/20
87%
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