Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Many gamers look back on the NES era through their rose-colored glasses with a certain nostalgic glimmer in their eye. One such title that has held a special spot in the hearts of sports fans was Namco’s R.B.I Baseball series. Though rudimentary looking back, for the time it was the first title to ever feature actual Major League players. Jump ahead almost two decades and the series is now bouncing back on iOS after nearly a decade of inactivity. Is this the retro rebirth that enthusiasts have been waiting for, or have sports games advanced too far for the series to still be relevant?
Now that Major League Baseball is on board (and actually the publisher) with the most recent iteration in the R.B.I. Baseball brand, players can expect to finally hit the mound with a fully-licensed diamond experience. Just don’t expect to be simulating and recording stats, because much like its predecessor, this is an arcade inspired facsimile. Nothing more, nothing less.
The action on field consists of either repositioning the batter or pitcher in their respective areas using the left virtual analog stick, then a single button press on the right side to pitch, swing the bat, or bunt. Base running can be done by swiping to the next base when circling the base path, or tapping to steal.
Probably the most troublesome issue that R.B.I. Baseball 14 is currently facing is the lackluster fielding mechanics. For example, poor camera angles will actually cut the players out of a play, despite the fact that they are supposed to be the one making a catch or throw. Things are marred even further by issues selecting the base to throw the ball to, often taking multiple touches in order to successfully prompt a throw. These sorts of polish problems are fixable via update, but in their current state can tend to leave the player feeling shortchanged. Hopefully it will be addressed somewhere down the line.
If R.B.I. Baseball 14 were the first installment in a series, it would most certainly be getting raked across the coals for its lack of features and minimalistic presentation. In many cases, baseball fans tend to skew a bit more towards simulation when it comes to their expectations, of which this is the polar opposite. Luckily the game is a straightforward and successful adaptation of a VERY dated game design, which ultimately ends up earning it a pass. The times have changed. It is unfortunate that sands passing through the hourglass haven’t had any evolutionary effects on this franchise.
Tagged with: $4.99, baseball, Major League Baseball, mlb, namco, r.b.i. baseball, review