MLB Slam! Review

Developer: THQ Publisher: THQ
Release Date: December 10, 2003 Also On: None

MLB Slam! wasn’t received too well by the general gaming public and press. I now know why, but the central core of the game is still rather fun, or at least, can be. The game’s full of baseball statistics, but they don’t come to use in the game. These players are literally no different from one another, except skin-tone. They don’t look different, play different, or hit different. Talk about attack of the clones.

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Being the first baseball attempt on N-Gage, Slam is already at a disadvantage. It’s also at a disadvantage because there has yet to be a 3D sports title that has succeeded on a handheld. Moreover, THQ Wireless, the makers of the worst N-Gage title in Moto GP, are behind this. If a game could get past all of those hurdles standing up, I’d be more than willing to applaud it. Unfortunately, Slam didn’t.

Slam features all 30 MLB teams, again with accurate rosters. You’ll get the chance to play as your favorite team, but don’t rush to judgment. If you’re a Cubs fan and are expecting to play at Wrigley, you’re in for a surprise that I doubt you’ll like. The publishers might argue otherwise, but from what I could tell with my own eyes, there’s only one stadium that you play in. If there’s more than one, they lack variation so much that it wasn’t visible.

As stated, all the players have identical abilities, despite real-life skill. The strike zones too are the same. Hitting a ball will involve moving an on-screen cursor, waiting for a pitch, and swinging at the correct time, while hoping lag won’t screw you up. Hit it into the outfield and you’re almost guaranteed two bases.

As far as outfielders go, they’ll sometimes respond, and other times, you’ll have to run out there with infielders. Then, on occasion, you’ll switch players, not knowing who you’re switching it to, and your computer opponent will score an unprecedented in-the-park homerun, on what should have been a single.

Other than the hiccups, which cost you runs, the game generally does the work for you. It won’t take much effort to get a grounder, or for that matter, to catch a fly ball, which probably shouldn’t be caught from the in-field. Another problem I had was throwing it home, where the ball would instead be sent to first or third.

The final part, and least obstructive of >the three, is pitching. A rudimentary assortment of pitches is allowed to be selected from. Whether that is a fastball, changeup, etc. You can determine where you want the ball to land in the strike zone, and a meter will determine the power. I can’t judge if the computer responds to variation or not, but they’ll generally strike out, if the pitch is good enough. Quite often they’ll swing long before a ball is thrown, if it is a slow pitch.

I’m a baseball fan, and I just reviewed MLB SlugFest: Loaded. Comparable to nearly all baseball games on the market, MLB Slam! is an under-performer. It lacks serious depth, AI difficulty, responsive controls, stadium selection, etc. To put it simply, you should expect to be paid to play this game, not dish out your own money.

Graphics: 2
Sound: 0
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 0
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 1.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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