App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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My appreciation for sports games usually depends on how realistic they are. The more "simulated" they get, the less I tend to enjoy them. Since Baseball Superstars II Pro is most definitely not a sports simulation, I figured it might just be the iOS baseball game for me. Until they remake the NES classic Base Wars, anyway. Seriously, someone needs to get on that.
Anyone familiar with the Baseball Superstars series should have an idea of what to expect with this iteration, save a couple of tweaks and spit-shines. For the rest of us (myself included), it deserves a little explanation. Baseball Superstars® II Pro is a simplified game of arcade baseball played from the perspective of either a pitcher or a batter. Each player type can have a separate save file, so it's possible to have two games going on the same device, but aside from some extremely light fielding on the pitcher half of the coin there's not much else to it. To the gameplay, I mean. There's plenty more to the game itself.
As with the other games in the series, Baseball Superstars® II Pro incorporates a heavy anime influence with lots of over-the-top characters and effects. It's a theme that's most obvious when viewing the various special characters (both pitchers and batters) who would never be allowed to play in a real game, such as the martial arts expert who hits the ball with her fist or the shaman who seems to use magic to make his pitches incredibly difficult to follow. The player character can also be decked-out in all sorts of outlandish gear that not only boosts their stats, but also looks pretty nifty. Although sometimes it just looks downright goofy.
The controls are fairly straight-forward and easy to come to grips with, and series veterans will probably enjoy the much-improved pitching controls that do away with the in-air adjustment arrows and instead use a few simple timed screen taps. Looming just behind those controls is one big ugly barrier for entry, however. Granted it's my own fault for not knowing what the heck a "RBI" is (go ahead and laugh, I don't mind), but even a simple in-game explanation of anything would've been appreciated. Having mid-game missions that randomly pop up that sometimes feel unreasonable, then promptly deduct fame when they aren't completed, can also be quite frustrating. This is especially true of the batter's end of things, since it feels like simply connecting with the ball is a gargantuan task. Hitting a home run feels incredibly satisfying, but by the same token screwing up horribly and repeatedly feels awful.
Still, while there have been times that I've been tempted to shut the game off in disgust, I still find myself wanting to play more. There's an ever-present draw to earn more cash to buy more crazy gear, train the main character, complete the special daily missions issued by Gamevil and much, much more. Seriously, there are a ton of modes, options and various other things to play with here. It's bound to frustrate newcomers within minutes, but anyone willing to tough it out and come to grips with the fact that failure is only temporary will enjoy the heck out of Baseball Superstars® II Pro. That's this non-sports fan's opinion, anyway.