Old Baseball Video Game Review v1.0: All Star Baseball 2K5

I previously mentioned that I’d give reviewing old baseball games a whirl, so here goes:

Game: All Star Baseball 2K5
Platform: XBox
Developer: Acclaim
Modes: Quick Play, Franchise, Expansion, Pickup Game, This Week in Baseball Challenge, Trivia Mode, Batting Practice, and Home Run Derby
Cool Feature: Ballpark tours narrated by Derek Jeter and Steve Lyons.

Here’s just a little video of the game:

Categories (all out of 10 except intangibles, which is 50)

Realism: 7.
Graphics: 8.
Difficulty: 6.
Details: 7.
Playability: 7.
Intangibles: 40.
Total Score: 75 (C)

For this first review, let me break down each of the categories a little bit. For realism, I like to think in terms of “could this be a way a game would reasonably play out?” For graphics, it’s definitely relative to the time the game was put out. Difficulty is pretty self-explanatory; is the game extraordinarily easy or hard, or somewhere in between? For playability, I like to think of it as the ‘play again’ factor; would you play it over and over again? For me, for intangibles it was really to get it on a scale of 100, and to help to try quantify some ‘feel’ to the game.

Batters lose grip of the bats realistically.
Controller vibrates when pitcher is throwing out of K-zone.
Players’ facial features are very accurate.
PxP very conversational and full of facts.
Bloopers that reach OF fall in at a reasonable rate.
OF play the ball off the wall perfectly.
The fans heckle the umpires, even on routine calls.

Fielding buttons operate slowly.
Fly balls very difficult to track and catch.
Some plays don’t run to entirety, cut to mound instead.
Lohse ejected with no warning.
Too many plays with diving that wasn’t required.
Swing not calibrated perfectly to contact.
Some balls called by announcers before play ran course.
All home run balls bounce back onto field of play.
Umpire only calls safe from time-to-time.
IF catch too many bloopers.

Overall this is a very fun game to play. Oddly enough, the 2005 game appears to have 2003 rosters, as Joe Mauer did not appear on the Twins, but neither did A.J. Pierzynski. The play-by-play of Brennaman and Lyons is very conversational, and they do a good job of breaking out of stories to call the action and jump back into what they were talking about. I was very impressed with how outfielders played caroms off the walls; I’ve never played a game to-date that was this good on any platform for that. I also thought it was pretty funny to hear the fans heckle the umps even on a routine 4-3 groundout, asking him what game he was watching or if he was a hometown umpire. The positives of this game far outweigh the negatives.

Still, there are some pretty glaring negatives. Double plays can be difficult to turn because the user can’t be sure if the controller read the initial button push. Fly balls are very Delmonic, or in other words, an adventure each time out. Sometimes when the ball is thrown away, rather than allowing the play to run out with the baserunner advancing, the scene just cuts to the pitcher’s mound for the next pitch, which also isn’t ideal. Almost every single line drive results in a diving play, and the line drives don’t look great when the swing feels mis-timed. Aside from the infielders tracking popups with Jeterian aplomb, the rest of the negatives are fairly minor. Overall, this is a really fun game to play.

Starting Lineups

Toronto Blue Jays:
1. Johnson RF
2. Hinske 3B
3. Wells CF
4. Delgado 1B
5. Phelps DH
6. Catalanatto LF
7. Hudson 2B
8. Woodward SS
9. Myers C

SP Lilly LHP

Subs used: Cash, C. Gomez, and Hermansen as hitters. Speier and T. Adams as pitchers.

Minnesota Twins:
1. Stewart LF
2. Rivas 2B
3. Mientkiewicz 1B
4. Hunter CF
5. Koskie 3B
6. Jones RF
7. Lecroy C
8. Cuddyer DH
9. Guzman SS

SP Lohse RHP

Subs used: Restovich as a hitter, Johan Santana as a reliever.

Final Score:
Jays 7
Twins 3

WP – Speier
LP – Santana
SV – None

Game Notes

Blue Jays:
Johnson 3-5, 2B (Player of the Game)
Wells 3-5, 2B
Woodward 3-4, 2B
Lilly 6.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R/ER, 0 K, 1 BB
Speier 2 IP, 1 K
Adams 0.2 IP

Rivas 2-3, 2B
Koskie 2-4
Cuddyer/Guzman 2B apiece
Lohse 3+ IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 1 K, 0 BB. Ejected for throwing at batter.
Santana 6 IP, 12 H, 6 R/ER, 3 K, 0 BB.

Get the game here for as low as $0.67!

About Brandon Warne

Sportswriter trying to make it.
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