Retro: VC Weekly #172

Welcome to VC Weekly, N-Europe's guide to the wonderful world of Nintendo's download service. Written by Sam C Gittins.

While there's something of a shortage when it comes to sports games on the 3DS VC you might think that this latest release would be something of a blessing; it is though it's definitely a mixed one. Anyway enough from me and on with the game!

Available for download this week we have...

  • Baseball

Price: GB �2.60, EU �3
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo R&D1
Released: 1989
System: GameBoy

While there have been many decent Baseball games based on the sport over the years particularly in Japan and the USA so you would think that Europe would be rather fortunate to receive a title that otherwise only existed in the two aforementioned territories but unfortunately this is not the case. Baseball is Nintendo's take on the popular sport but it ultimately falls short of being decent title by a long way; it's one of those titles that really wasn't that great in its day and certainly isn't any better by today's standards, if anything it's worse.

Anyone who has a casual interest in the sport or who has even observed part of a match will know basically how the game plays, being that this is a simulation it follows these rules or at least tries to but mismanages them terribly. The gameplay can be broken down into three distinct areas however which are fielding, hitting and pitching; working through them in reverse, pitching has you throwing a ball towards the CPU who will then either hit or miss � it's all random probability � which ends up in barely feeling like you're actually 'playing' at all, then there's hitting which is basically a reaction game as you have to hit the ball when it comes towards you, so some actual genuine interaction here... thrilling stuff indeed!

Finally we have fielding which is of course an absolute joy to take part in � read as it isn't � as you have attempt to control your team in the hope of catching the ball which may sound simple but when the controls are on the same response level as a Slopoke registering pain and when your characters seem to have all the grace of a Geodude as they run you get to thinking what is the actual point to this game? Add to the fact that the A.I likes to give points to itself at times and seems to have absolutely no difficulty out in the field as you'll frequently see the opposition running rings around you.

There are visuals to speak of but they are merely functional, so you can clearly see that you're playing on a pitch but other than that it's a struggle to think of anything overly positive about them. Audio really isn't much better because there's barely any of it, no compositions in the background just mere noise from the crowd and other basic sound effects to fill the otherwise gaping void.

Really I can't see why anyone would have wanted to bother with this title back in the day unless perhaps for the two player mode but with even that gone plus a core experience which hasn't just aged badly over time, it's decayed and there really isn't much left to see. If you desperately want to download a sports game then I'd even recommend Tennis over this but really you'd be better off waiting because there will surely be far, far superior offerings available on the system in the weeks to come.

Verdict : Baseball in its most banal, bland and basic form.

That's it for another installment of VC Weekly which will return again soon. So until then, enjoy the rest of the week and Game On!

Sam Gittins

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