GAMEVIL is certainly making a name for themselves as a developer to watch. In the past year they have released quality titles such as Zenonia and Hybrid: Eternal Whisper, as well as the prequel to the game reviewed, Baseball Superstars 2009. Baseball Superstars 2009 was released just before Christmas last year, and got a good reception. I liked it quite a lot as it combined RPG elements with arcade baseball action. At times though the long dialogues slowed down the game, and paired with the too easy batting I lost interest in the game. Some ten months later a new game is released adding 2010 behind the title, and I am all over it again.
Baseball Superstars 2010 takes the best parts from last years outing, and omits those aspects I had trouble with. Three obvious improvements are the limited RPG story, harder to hit homeruns and completely touch controlled User Interface.
Baseball Superstars 2010 is a cute baseball game with a host of different game modes. The mode I have enjoyed the most so far is My League that lets you create your own batter or pitcher. You then play as for example your batter throughout games, and depending on your results in the matches you gain popularity. You also get to choose which aspect to train hard from batting skill, power or running speed. With your salary you can upgrade your bat, shoes or helmet adding to your skill. There are also G-points that you gain by performing well on the field, as well as when using your player in the other game modes. G-points can be spent on different skill enhancing items. For each season you can set your own goals such as a minimum amount of scored homeruns. During the match you can also receive special orders from the coach that lets you gain morale, popularity or G-points. By playing My League you create players usable in the other game modes, and a maximum of four batters and two pitchers are available. To me the batting is by far the most fun aspect of baseball but I can see myself building a pitcher as well later on.
The other game modes are exhibition matches, full season, homerun race, mission mode and match play mode. The homerun race lets you use your own batter which is really nice, as you get better at hitting the batter also gets better if you also play in My League. The mission mode gives you a task to complete within a set number of innings.
Most aspects of the game can be changed according to your liking. There are two different batting control schemes as well as two different schemes for pitching. No matter which you use they work, and it is up to you to find the configuration that suits your playing style. I much prefer to have it all set up exclusively to touch controls. There are three different levels of difficulty as well as a general game speed setting. This game speed setting can be good to set at medium to start with. Too slow, and fielding will be painfully slow. Too fast might be hard to hit as a batter, I generally play at ¾ speed.
Baseball Superstars 2010 is a great game, and I play it both for longer sessions as well as those minutes waiting for the water to boil while cooking. As it starts up really quickly on both the 3G and 3GS there is little to no wait before you can get right back into the last game you played.
If you are unfamiliar with the Baseball Superstars universe try the lite version of the 2009 edition to see if it is to your liking, but remember that the 2010 edition is improved in most regards.
Presentation & Graphics
Baseball Superstars 2010 is bright, colourful and cute. It never aims to be realistic, and I like that since most sports games attempting to do console graphics fail. The slow down effect once you hit a homerun is really nice during matches, but in homerun race it gets a bit repetitive if you are on a roll. Presentation is clean with easily understood menus. All story and conversation in the game are done by means of texts, and still images. Simple but at the same time I am thankful that the conversations take a backseat to the action.
The music is ok with a RPG flair that makes it tolerable for longer sessions. I prefer to turn it off though, and play my own music. The sound effects are good with a cracking thump when your bat connect properly. At times thought the sound effects are lost, for example the “strike” or “ball” umpire shout gets lost. The vibration effect enhances the game but can be turned off to let you play without disturbing your surrounding.
The controls are really good, and getting the timing correct takes practise, focus and effort. Skill is required as the game won’t just give you homeruns and great pitches for free. Like all great games Baseball Superstars 2010 is easy to start playing as a newbie, but hard to master fully.
The RPG elements have been toned down, and about every tenth match in My League gives you a short conversation with your peers and coach. Still I really like the ability to upgrade my players, and save up for new equipment.
6 game modes add a lot of gamelife to Baseball Superstars 2010. If you are into baseball or into sports at all you will get a lot out of this game. There is no online multiplayer but you can find online leaderboards for all 6 game modes. In My League you compete for the highest level of popularity, and in homerun race for the maximum number of yards hit. In match play you can play your friends teams. All you have to know is the registered name of your friend, and the game will let you play that custom team. In season you compete for fame in the global leaderboards. I like how GAMEVIL has managed to create interesting leaderboards for the different game modes that makes you motivated to compete. Only exhibition measuring how many wins you have seem a bit off.
There are hidden characters, both pitchers and batters, unlockable in the game. Items such as clothing and equipment also get available for purchase as you progress, and raise your salary.
Game Rating – Editor’s Choice
Baseball Superstars 2010 is a great game for both casual and hardcore gamers. You can choose to just bat away in homerun race or go for specific goals in mission mode. With perfect controls, nice graphics and a high level of polish Baseball Superstars 2010 comes highly recommended.