GAME NAME: RBI Baseball 15
PLATFORM(S): Xbox One
RELEASE DATE(S): March 31st, 2015
Growing up my 3 favorite baseball games were Baseball Simulator 1.000, World Series Baseball, and RBI Baseball. Luckily MLB.com gained the license for RBI Baseball and set about relaunching the series as a nostalgic and simple trek to the ol’ ball park. Make no mistake though, this is a bargain game set at $20 and it feels like most of that went into the much better visuals for the parks as well as 25 and 40 (!) man rosters. If you’re looking for a casual, old school baseball game that is fun to play on the couch with a friend you’ll do just fine here. Just don’t go looking for deeper gameplay and expect the occasional glitch to pop up and drive you insane.
Look at all those stats and players!
One of the biggest advancements of the gameplay has been the ability to map the bases to the buttons as opposed to the frustrating and wildly inaccurate one button + direction pad. Another, is a handy option of using assisted fielding as the old fly ball indicator does it’s best to turn even a routine pop up into an exercise in futility. Pitchers are still gassed way too quickly. I tallied up the amount of pitches David Price had thrown in 5 innings (66) and he had less than a third of his stamina and was throwing in the low 70s. I fiddled with the settings and could not find a fix for this. For a guy that routinely throws 220+ innings a year that’s just ridiculous.
I ran into a few glitches while playing such as the ball bouncing off the wall in Chicago, careening into foul territory and then magically disappearing into the stands. It could have been because I was playing as the Marlins and the ghost of Steve Bartman still haunts the 3rd base foul territory but we’ll never know for sure. Another glitch was my baserunner stealing 2nd and should have been called out from a mile away but was deemed safe in a Jim Joyce-esque gaffe. This happened multiple times.
Alternate uniforms and hats add another cool variation to the visuals along with the stadiums which, again, were well designed. The major character of the stadiums is done very well for a budget title such as the Ivy in Wrigley, McCovey Cove in San Francisco, and the whatever the hell that thing is in Miami in centerfield. The players all pretty much look the same with some minor skin tone changes and size.
In the end you have to take RBI Baseball for what it is, a baseball lite recreation of a 20 year old game for a controller that only had 2 buttons. That comes with the good and the bad. Those of us that have spent the last few years playing The Show or Major League Baseball 2K (R.I.P.) may scoff at the notion of playing a watered down version of the game with no clock, but I feel there’s room for both experiences. Xbox One owners, well, it’s either suck it up and try to enjoy it or skip another year of baseball altogether. I wanted to like the game a lot more than I did, but like the saying goes, there’s always next year.