Baseball - The great American past time, spans from April to October; a game that tests your strength, determination, and patience. And yes, you need a lot of patience to play baseball. Not anymore! Midway has taken the arcade route with the game, injecting a much needed pace and excitement to the game with MLB Slugfest: Loaded!
Midway has had quite a bit of experience creating arcade style sports game. With the creation of NBA Jam back in the early nineties we have seen the arcade style sports titles creating fun fast paced sports experiences. One of Midway’s struggles was to create an arcade baseball title. The struggle was really to find how to bring across an arcade baseball title and how to do so. Well over the past few years Midway has been experimenting with different ideas and they feel as though they really have struck gold with MLB Slugfest: Loaded.
The MLB Slugfest series is not a title that will appeal to hardcore baseball fans who prefer a simulation style game. There are plenty of other games out there that will provide a great simulation title. Slugfest was created for those of us who don’t have the patience to play through a full baseball game, but instead gives us plenty of action to play around with.
When you go through MLB Slugfest you have the option of playing with the Slugfest mode or MLB Mode. Now don’t take the MLB Mode to be a pure simulation mode or anything, as it’s basically the fast paced action devoid of any sort of special moves. In this mode you have a pretty basic baseball game just played at a much faster pace then any other baseball game on the market.
In the Slugfest mode you have everything at full blast, no rules, nothing holding you back, you will now be playing in the mode that brings out the true arcade style game. Some examples of things includes in the Slugfest mode has to do with the pitching. Along with the normal set of pitches your pitchers has, he also has four special pitches which he can throw; and if you can fill the star meter you get one special pitch that is extremely difficult to hit.
Once the ball has been hit into play it’s all fair game. Running the bases can be one of the trickiest parts of Slugfest. You have to learn to time things quite a bit differently then in any other baseball game out there. While running the bases you can use turbo as well as your fists. That’s right, you can try to run and knock your opponents out by hitting them. This allows you to try to knock the ball out of their hands, which adds a whole other element of gameplay to a baseball game. Also when you sliding into bases you can try to knock your opponents over and knocking the ball out of their hands.
The modes of MLB Slugfest: Loaded include Quickplay, Franchise, Homerun Derby, and Xbox Live support. The Quickplay mode is the basic mode of choice because you will find you really don’t need to get too far into the game, most will just want to play the game with friends or just pick up and play a game. For those of you who do want to get quite deep into the game you have the franchise mode to quench your thirst. The franchise mode is actually quite deep for an arcade style baseball game, and in fact it measures up against the simulation style franchise modes. The franchise mode has everything you would like an arcade style franchise mode.
Along with that you also have the Xbox Live support, which really keeps you interested in the game. To be quite honest most really won’t find the franchise mode all that necessary, although it’s nice to have, the Xbox Live support was by far the best addition to the game. All of the games I have played on Live I have participated in have had great competition, and minimal lag.
Overall Slugfest: Loaded Gameplay has so much to offer. For each game you play you will find that the game has so much to offer, with all of the modes, and gameplay options.
The graphics in any of the Midway Sports games have been mediocre at best. All of their titles always have a blocky look that worked back in the days of the PlayStation and N64 but now they just don’t carry like they used to. So how does Slugfest: Loaded fare compared to the rest of Midway’s lineup?
Well when looking at MLB Slugfest: Loaded I must say that the graphics follow the same path that has plagued all of Midway’s games for quite some time. All of the characters do have detail, but not much. You’re not going to be able to easily distinguish players by how they look in the game. The one upside to the game are the fluid animations that take place in the game. You get a true arcade style feeling in all of Midway Sports games and the same can be said with this title as well. The stadiums are nicely created and do an average job of recreating the actual stadiums themselves.
Overall the graphics are pretty standard and offer just as much as one would probably come to expect in an arcade baseball title.
Slugfest: Loaded is a game that really has a lot to offer but the replay value drops after a while. The game comes out guns blazing but after a while I must say the game just gets tiresome. The flair wears off and you are left with a game that doesn’t have enough to it to keep it interesting. On the other side of this though is that the multiplayer in the game is just great. Have a few friends over and you will have a blast playing, and trying to knock out your opponent.
MLB Slugfest: Loaded is a very solid arcade baseball title that has a lot to offer, and just I believe, is rounding third and heading for home. Midway has almost got their series down, just add more depth, and some more interesting features, and I can see next year’s game is going to be a true winner. As for this year anyone who hasn’t picked up a game in the series before, this one is definitely recommended. For those of you who own one of the past two versions, you probably don’t need to make the upgrade.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.