Dale's first sentence in his final paragraph pretty much sums up my feelings on MLB 2001. This could have been a solid baseball game in terms of graphics, control and gameplay, but in the end, the game simply lacks polish. On the paper, I'm sure the developers felt the many features included in this year's entry would make it a serious contender, but the final results are so poorly executed that it has the same empty feel of walking a runner home to end the game.
Take for example the Franchise mode. I like the point system that the developers implemented, but how could there be no trades? I also liked the idea for creating a rookie prospect and improving his skills during the Spring Training mode, but much to my bewilderment, the developers excluded my position of choice, starting pitcher. The lack of polish also extends itself to the annoyingly buggy (though often unexpectedly hilarious) play-by-play commentary and the poor physics engine (runners can be gunned down on first and second base from what are suppose to be routine line-drive singles in the outfield).
Are there any positives in MLB 2001 to speak of? Well unlike Dale, I liked the pitch "guessing system." I'm more of a student to the game of baseball then Dale (I watched Ken Burn's entire documentary series on baseball and loved every minute of it) and guessing pitches wasn't as hard as he described it. It's a good system and nice challenge. To top it off, unlike some other baseball games today, it lets you know very obviously through bold visual cues if you've guessed the pitch correctly or not.
Like I mentioned earlier, MLB 2001 could have been a very solid title and perhaps the PlayStation baseball game of choice. The problem is that there are just too many should-haves and could-haves from the lack of polish that keep me from recommending the title wholeheartedly. This game needs some serious work like Mo Vaughn needs to lose some serious weight.
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