Review: R.B.I. Baseball 2015
R.B.I. Baseball 15 improves on the short offerings of last year’s R.B.I. Baseball 14 and this helps the game justify its $20 price tag. Stat tracking, online play and online roster updates help improve last year’s shortcomings. The overall package results in a game that is accessible for all types of players and its new features are welcome additions.
This however, is not to say that the game is not without its faults. The game goes for a simplistic design in the players and the gameplay, which is not a bad thing. The game does, however, become so simplistic that it lacks the depth that will keep players around for more than a few games. There are only two types of pitches that each pitcher can throw, so don’t expect your favorite pitchers’ repertoire of pitches to be intact. Pitchers can only throw a slow and a fast pitch, but the ball can be curved after the ball is thrown to fool the opposing batters. It’s a nice little touch to contribute to the arcade experience that R.B.I. Baseball is going for. However, pitchers tire easily; even in low scoring games, starting pitchers begin to tire as soon as the fourth inning. As for the batting, each hitter appears to have one type of character model and one type of stance. It’s hard to distinguish what batter is up to bat, and the only way you’d know is by looking at the player card emblem when the hitter comes up to bat. When hitting, the batter can move around the batter’s box to better position himself for a good hit. Pitchers can also move from side to side on the pitching rubber to better direct their pitches.
When making contact with the ball, I seemed to notice only one type of sound. This makes it hard to determine where the ball will be going. Sometimes I hit the on-coming pitch and think it was a lazy fly ball, only to continue watching and see the ball drift out of the park. It wasn’t satisfying when hitting pitches, especially when I didn’t know if my hit was going to be a ground ball to first base or a 430ft home run. Each inning is fast moving, with the ability to get through a game in about 15 minutes, and is a positive for those looking to get into a game and get out.
When the ball is finally put into play, things are a little better, but not by much. Whether the ball is struck in the air or on the ground, the wrong fielder is usually assigned. Normally the closest fielder to the ball is given control, but at times a fielder further away from the ball is assigned. This leads to missed opportunities and players running in the wrong direction. For fly balls, a circular meter shows where and how high the ball is so fielders can position themselves under the ball. However it doesn’t show you where the ball will land, and will lead you to either overrun or under-run the ball, leading to a hit for the other team. Thankfully, in the options, an assisted fielding option is given so players will field the ball for you. Other times multiple fielders will run directly to the ball and run into each other. As a result, players can become glitched into one another, which usually leaves a base being unoccupied. On the other hand, when the ball is fielded cleanly the game works great. Animations from the players look good considering the simplistic design.
As previously mentioned, the game incorporates a simplistic design, and for the most part, the game shouldn’t be knocked for it, as the simplistic design is what makes the game accessible for new players and allows games to be quick. During offline games I didn’t notice any performance issues, but I did however find issues when navigating the menus. At times the game would slow to a crawl or just completely crash. Exhibitions, a full season, post season or online play are the 4 options for players. A full season can consist of with 162, 81 or 52 games. Games cannot be simulated however, leading you to play every game of the season. For rosters, you can choose from either a 25 man roster or a classic 16 man roster. One of the best features of the game is the ability to update rosters via online. This lets you have the current players of each team available at the correct time in the season. Stat tracking is also new this year. It shows the previous year’s totals and the current totals while playing in the season mode. Local and online multiplayer is supported, and the latter is a new feature for this season. Games can be played in ranked mode or you can invite a friend to play online. When tested, the online function was rough. Games were often frozen after doing tasks such as hitting a homerun or switching pitchers. Stuttering and slowdown was evident as well.
R.B.I. Baseball 15 improves on last year’s version, but it still has its faults. Some issues from the previous game are present here. Personally it’s still tough to justify the $20 price tag, but the new features make the price a little more reasonable. However, if you are looking for a game to play with others who normally don’t play games, but love baseball, give this a look.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Roster updates
- Stat tracking
- Accessible for new players
- Fast moving games
What I Dislike:
- Unsatisfying batting
- Menu crashes