R.B.I Baseball 15 - Xbox One

Release Date:

March 31, 2015

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.
4.9

Summary:

If we had to sum up our experience with R.B.I. Baseball 15 we would call it maddening. The game isn't arcadey enough to be fun and it isn't unique enough to be a cult hit. Just pass on it. Or better yet, buy it and throw it away so nobody else has to play it.

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Posted:
2015-07-19

Steven_Shaw

Writer

Xbox One

4.9

R.B.I. Baseball 15 was developed by the guys at MLB and released on the Xbox One as an answer to MLB: The Show. The developers, who last released a rock solid title in the series almost twenty years ago, promised to take a new spin at the baseball simulation genre by bringing about a more arcade-y type feel. Knowing that arcade sports games can be a blast (BLITZ: The League -- seriously, anyone?) we were rather excited to get our hands on the game. If only we knew now what we knew than. As far as Xbox One titles are concerned this is about as must own as a red ring of death. Still, we'll dive in and tell you why you should avoid this unapologetic disaster.

When you are handed an arcade type game you expect some arcade type gameplay. This includes, but is not limited to: huge home runs, high scoring games, amazing diving catches, and blistering pitches. Sure baseball doesn't SEEM like it should be a sport that is filled with over the top action, but that's what R.B.I. Baseball 15 wants to give us, sort of. Unfortunately what we received was a relatively broken installation of a series that will soon find its way to the discount box of GameStop stores everywhere. Still, here we are. With only MLB 15 to work as competition, the team at R.B.I. had to have done something right.. right?

The first thing we noticed when we played the game on our console, and made it into an exhibition, was that the title looks like a tragic fanmade recreation of professional baseball. Despite being licensed by Major League Baseball, nothing looks legitimate. The players have on the right uniforms and everyone is the right skin tone, but that is sort of it. Alex Rodriguez doesn't look like Alex Rodriguez. David Ortiz doesn't look like David Ortiz. Nobody looks anything like their real life likeness, DESPITE having explicit permission from the MLB Players Association to recreate these people. Further pushing the point that the graphics are out fo whack, body types are absolutely broken. David Ortiz is the same size as tiny Daniel Murphy. There is no separation due to detail. There is no nuance. There is no grounding in any form of reality, and on a premier console like the XB1 that is simply disastrous. Moving on.

Pushing forward with our run of tragic recreations we can look to what the game of baseball is all about: detail. Detail is what keeps fans glued to their televisions. Detail is what keeps players in those 10+ season franchise modes. From the way a batter approaches the plate to the way a pitcher winds up and throws the ball, it ALL matters. So it is perfectly reasonable to expect an MLB licensed game to include those trade mark animations, right? Well... There is no difference in the game, between players. Nobody has their batting style. There are no unique pitching wind ups. Everything looks as generic as possible. There is no personality, no flair, no run of uniqueness to separate individual players. This game could have easily been designed by some dictator from The Giver or Divergent. We digress.

Okay so far the title has refused to do anything unique or original. That isn't exactly bad, right? There is a reason people to go Applebees or any other chain restaurant, they want something familiar! So let's look at the on field action and see how the actual gameplay holds up. Actually, we had better not...but still, since you are here...

When you wind up for a pitch every defender in the field lowers their stance to ready for the impending hit. That's totally normal. As soon as contact is made and the ball hits the field, the players all STAY in that same crouch and they rotate on an axis to watch the ball, unless they are the player closest to the action -- in which case the player ACTUALLY makes a play on the ball. It looks ridiculous, stupid, and slightly creepy on our big screen television. Every player instantly rotates on some invisible mark in order to track the ball while in that creepy hunch...

When you actually get running on the base paths things get even mode awkward. There is no fluidity to the way that the players lope around the bases. Most runners seem to sort of float as they run, making wide clunky turns. Billy Hamilton has the same ability on the base paths as Jorge Posada, who hasn't played in half of a decade -- it's definitely a problem. Fielders have an even bigger issue as they try to make plays. Defenders don't move fluidly which creates a lot of missed opportunities in the field. When two defenders try to make a play on the ball they don't simply run into one another, they instead run THROUGH one another. Simply not acceptable for a modern baseball game. Ignoring the clunky feeling we can't get over how SLOW everybody moves. Again, Billy Hamilton is a speedster. He isn't dead, or dying. And if you decide to let the AI take care of the plays in the field, prepare for mind numbing decisions. Players don't go to their cut off spots, over throws are common, and sometimes the fielders just won't throw the ball. It's like an episode of the Twilight Zone took inspiration from Space Jam, everyone's talents have been sucked out of their body.

Another huge issue we had was in relation to how the pitchers behaved. A guy like Mark Buehrle should be able to eat innings for your team. He doesn't. He can't, nobody can. Stamina in this game doesn't exist and you'll end up with gassed aces after two innings.

If we had to sum up our experience with R.B.I. Baseball 15 we would call it maddening. The game isn't arcadey enough to be fun and it isn't unique enough to be a cult hit. Just pass on it. Or better yet, buy it and throw it away so nobody else has to play it.

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Release Date:

March 31, 2015

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