High Heat Baseball 1999 Review
By Jimmy Vails |
In many ways, 3DO's High Heat Baseball is the least sophisticated of the three baseball action games I looked at this year (the other two being Triple Play '99 and Hardball 6), but in a few key areas, it outshines its competition. Certainly in terms of looks, High Heat is the ugliest of the lot, eliciting the most guffaws from people around the office who passed by my monitor. The batter in particular generated the yuks, as his bowed legs make him look like he is suffering from rickets. On the other hand, the stadiums and the field looked fine.
Bad as they are, the graphics didn't bother me nearly as much as the lack of a career mode. As a management sim, High Heat is nowhere near Triple Play or Hardball, let alone Front Page Sports, Diamond Mind or Baseball Mogul. That's kind of surprising, since 3DO made this development group out to be huge baseball fans.
At any rate, what High Heat does right is the most important thing for any baseball game--it plays a good game of baseball. Unlike most other games, the fielders look proportional to the outfield they cover, and they actually seem to range through the outfield at speeds that feel like a big field game. So unlike the rollers skates and cannon arms of the Triple Play outfielders, who almost completely restrict extra base hits, the outfielders here have to react to the ball and chase it down. And unlike the limp throws of the Hardball fielders, the players in High Heat can throw the ball home, or across the diamond.
The variety of hits is quite unlike that of the other games, and you can almost see the computer controlled players making their decisions about where the ball is going on the fly, depending on where your baserunners are and where they're going.
In short, High Heat feels like baseball.
This game isn't perfect--you'll see poor baserunning decisions, and some moves, like a pickoff throw, can't be handled using a gamepad's buttons (you have to use the keyboard instead). But even with its quirks (and its bad looks), High Heat may be the best on-field game out there. This is a title for baseball fans who are more concerned with gameplay on the diamond than they are with management or fantasy leagues.
-- Jason Bates