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PS2 review: 'All Star Baseball 2002'

GALLERY

 

Platform: PlayStation 2

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(IDG) -- "All-Star Baseball" was always one of the best console baseball series when it was on the Nintendo 64, but it's amazing how much the PS2 and Acclaim Sports' two years of development have added to the series.

Most impressive are the excellent player models and faces -- with 130 unique batting stances, you'll often know who's at the plate without even hearing their name. Each pitcher has his own delivery style, and fielders move with amazing realism and variety, including sliding shoestring catches and throwing while lying on the ground.

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The cursor-style pitching and batting interfaces work great, creating precise control, though fielders sometimes miss easy grounders and your runners will sometimes be tagged when they should have advanced safely. Unless you hate cursor-style controls, avoid an error by snagging "All-Star Baseball 2002."

Graphics: 5.0 (out of five)

Baseball has never looked so good on a console. The parks and crowds are superbly detailed; the players' builds and faces look real; batters have signature stances and swings; pitchers have unique deliveries; and fielders move and throw with amazing realism.

Sound: 4.5

The murmuring crowd hushes at key moments and reacts to big plays with cheers or boos, while the organ cranks them up between innings. The superbly professional play-by-play and color commentary by Bob Brenly and Thom Brennaman is rarely redundant, always interesting, and often surprisingly insightful.

Controls: 4.0

Fans of cursor batting and pitching will love the easy-to-use yet precise controls, plus the cursors can be turned off for a faster, simpler game. The fielding controls are good, though they're sluggish and sometimes cause you to miss balls. The tricky base-running will often get you tagged out.

Fun factor: 4.5

Obviously, attention to detail and tender loving care went into making "All-Star Baseball 2002." It has everything casual and serious baseball fans could want, and you'll have no trouble devoting many hours to playing your favorite team through a season.



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