The wait is finally over. 3DO’s latest installment in the High Heat Major League Baseball series is finally here! Many improvements have been made to the series, including several new game modes, enhanced versions of last year’s favorite modes and a better gameplay experience, thanks to the super-powerful PlayStation 2.
One of the returning features is the Exhibition mode, which allows you to play a game against a friend or against the computer. You may also set up a game where the CPU will take on...the CPU! Not only is this mode a great way to get used to the game’s controls if this is your first time playing, it is also a great way to predict the winners and losers of the year. Which team do YOU think will win the World Series? Pit the two best teams the league against each other and find out. Season mode is pretty self-explanatory: pick your favorite team (or your least favorite, if you wish) and play through a season. Make it to the playoffs and hopefully you’ll be able to lead your team to victory. If not, this is a game, so you can always play it again.
Two-on-Two Showdown is a game of the batter vs. the pitcher. All of the fielders have been removed, meaning that the umpire gives you points based on what he "thinks" your hit would have been. If you run into trouble, it’s possible to make up lost points with some excellent pitching. There’s only one inning in this mode, so if the game ends up being tied, the home team gets the final say in one final, sudden-death pitch.
Everybody knows that the playoffs are the best part of any sport. That’s why High Heat MLB 2003 gives you the option to skip the long, drawn-out season and enter the playoffs in the Stand Alone Playoffs mode. Additionally, there are the Home Run Derby, Create-A-Player, Practice Batting, All-Star Game and Fantasy Draft modes. If there were any more variety in this game, it would be nearly impossible to finish it! As it is now, there are more features in High Heat MLB 2003 than most gamers will ever have the time to use, and that’s one of the things that makes it so great.
High Heat Major League Baseball 2003 is the perfect pick-up-and-play baseball game. Up until now, there was no such thing as a baseball game that could be picked up and played at any time, by any gamer. High Heat MLB 2003 changed all that by providing a fun and exciting gameplay experience that is easy for gamers of all skill levels to jump right into. Playing it for the first time was like playing a really good platformer for the first time: despite being a brand-new game with different play mechanics, everything just magically fit into place. I didn’t have to read the manual or check the button configuration (which can be altered to your liking). All of the buttons were exactly where they should be. I just popped the game into my PS2, pressed the X button and started playing!
High Heat looks better than ever! The backgrounds are quite detailed, and the player models are excellent. The animation is silky smooth; every player moves very realistically. And would you look at their faces? They actually look like the real players! The added textures make all the difference. Just look at the backgrounds and you’ll see what I mean. Needless to say, I am highly impressed by High Heat MLB 2003’s visuals.
There’s nothing quite like the thrill of hitting three home runs in a row, and then being able to rub it in your best friend’s face. Sure, anyone can get lucky and win a race in a racing game, or shoot a three-pointer in NBA2k; but it takes a gamer with skills to be able to tell the difference between a ball and a potential strike. I had a blast developing those skills with High Heat MLB 2003. High Heat MLB 2003 puts you in the game more realistically than Acclaim’s All-Star series, or any other baseball game out there. This is the closest you can get to experiencing the real thing without going pro. Just play High Heat for five minutes and I guarantee that you’ll be hooked.
Longevity is extremely important, especially in sports games. I am happy to say that High Heat MLB 2003 is one of the longest-lasting sports games that I have ever played. The replay value is unprecedented -- I have never played a baseball game this addictive before! Nothing the competition offers can compare. If you love baseball and haven’t gotten High Heat MLB 2003 yet, go out and buy it as soon as you can. It’s worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.
Former owner and editor in chief of Darkstation.com