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High Heat Baseball 2004

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Released: 2003

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: PC - Windows

Publisher: The 3DO Company

Developer: The 3DO Company

I don’t like baseball. Not even one bit. Real baseball that is. I have no interest in it whatsoever, and you couldn’t pay me to sit through a whole game. But computerised baseball, well that’s a whole new.. err.. ball game. Yesiree, I’ve loved playing all the different versions over the years on countless different systems, but this one is in my opinion the best of all, or at least the most fun to play.

Other baseball games (such as High Heat’s biggest rival ‘Major League Baseball’ in particular) had arguably better graphics, superior commentary, and a greater sense of atmosphere, but what set High Heat 2004 apart for me was its playability; Major League may have won in the accuracy stakes but High Heat was simply more fun to play, whether batting, fielding or pitching. Major League clearly presented itself as a realistic televised game, whereas High Heat’s focus was on you being there and feeling the ball cleanly on the bat, or whizz right past your ear – they really did a terrific job as I can’t think of another baseball game, or perhaps even sports game for that matter, that felt more immersive, particularly when batting. Fielding and pitching were enjoyable also (which isn’t always the case with baseball games), so the sense of involvement never let up in intensity.

The roster was current for the year, and all the usual options were there for batting and pitching. You could play league or single matches, and your control over teams was just about complete as you could alter the player skill levels to whichever degree you liked. You could, for example, set up a friends team to be really crap and yours almost invincible before he came over for a match and not tell him, but I swear I did not do this ever, I only just thought of it now.

3DO folded soon thereafter which was a shame, because there hasn’t been as decent a baseball game since. But I find High Heat 2004 to be just as playable today and although it plays slightly glitchy on modern systems I still like firing it up once in a while to this day.

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