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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Activision
Developed By: Now Production
Genre: Sports
Players: 1-2
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: July 20, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

August 13, 2010 - Baseball is America’s favorite pastime and it has come to be expected that there will be baseball games to help represent our love for their sport. While MLB titles dominate when it comes to baseball titles, Activision has carved out a nice niche for those who follow Little League baseball. While previous attempts have seem lackluster, the company’s recently released Little League World Series Baseball 2010 looks to appeal to a broader audience thanks in part to its arcade-style approach to the game while maintaining its depth through various gameplay modes. Does this title warrant your $39.99 purchases, continue reading to find out.

The first thing that stands out about Little League World Series Baseball 2010 is the obvious choice in boxart for the title. If it wasn’t for the three gameplay screenshots across the back of the box, you would assume that you will actually playing a simulation-style baseball game with realistic visuals and all. Instead you presented with a presentation that follows within the vein of titles like Konami’s Power Pros and Sony’s Hot Shot Golf series. While this is certainly not a bad thing at all, the presentation does affect who will actually purchase this game, which could be the reasoning behind the choice of boxart. Regardless of the visual presentation of the title, LLWS 2010 is pretty darn good in HD. The character uniforms, baseball fields, even the Little League mascot are all doused with an array of color, appealing to every facet of the human eye. There are several different special affects that come into play when using a special move which help to liven up the experience. There is no denying that Activision was aiming for the arcade feeling with LLWS 2010.

When it comes to actually playing a game of baseball, LLWS 2010 is still clinging onto the arcade-style gameplay. Whether controlling the team at bat or manning the outfield, the game only requires are few button presses here or there in order to control the action. While at bat, the right trigger (R2) is used to control swinging the bat. While you can simply press the button when the baseball is pitched to you, you can actually time the pitch by holding down the right trigger (R2) to develop a more precious hit. You also will gain control over whether you want a pop fly, grounder or a line drive through the use of the left analog stick, which once again adds a bit of depth the gameplay.

In regards to the outfield, the simplistic control system is pretty much the same. Each base as its own personal face button, making it a lot easier to through the ball to 3rd base or home without any complicated button scheme required. If you are trying to tag someone out who is running home, you can hit the relay-man (or woman) but hitting the right trigger (R2) before throwing the baseball to home plate. If you it just so happens the ball arrives right as the player is about to tag a base, you are greeted with a directional battle in which you must guess which direction on the left analog stick that the opposing player will press in order to tag the base. If you guess right, the player is out. If you guess wrong, then they potentially can score in your face. The same directional battle plays out when you are the hitting team as well. The fielding element also has a manual approach where you would control any and all actions on the field. If there is a pop fly, you will have to move your players toward the ball instead of them moving on their own. Not that big of a difference in play-styles; however expect to have a few issues with the shoddy camera angles when controlling the outfield manually.

The last important element to LLWS 2010 is the pitching, which also benefits from the simplistic control scheme. There are really only three different pitching types to choose from, all of which can be slightly modified in order to create a different pitch. You could stick with the standard pitches that are mapped to the face buttons, however if you want to make things interesting you can try your hand at throwing curveballs and knuckleballs at your opponent. In order to get off the perfect pitch, you must utilize the right trigger (R2) to build up a meter. Once the meter appears within the blue section of the bar, let go of the right trigger (R2) in order to throw a more solid pitch. You can change up the direction of the pitch by utilizing the left analog stick, which also can help you in racking up the strikeouts.

Whether in the outfield on at bat, each team has a special meter with three levels within the lower left-hand and right-hand corners of the screen. Every time you hit a single, double, triple, homerun, strike someone out, catch a pop fly, etc. you score points which help to fill that meter. Once the meter has filled up one level, you can apply it to your batter or pitcher to enhance their abilities, making them a more dangerous person on the field. If you are able to fill all three levels of the meter and give them to your star player, you are almost guaranteed a homerun. I say almost because you can still be struck out; I know it has happened to me several times on my way to becoming World Series Champions. There are also special collectable cards you obtain throughout the Tournament mode, which enhance your player(s) with varying abilities including increased running speed, always hitting line drives, preventing opposing team from rotate players to adjust for batter, etc.

The final two pieces of the puzzle to LLWS 2010 is its learning curve and different gameplay modes to choose from. I can tell you from experience that Little League World Series Baseball 2010 is a difficult game to master. Whether playing on hard (for the brave), medium (for the talented) or easy (for the hopeful), this baseball game is a bit difficult in besting a team in order to acquire that W (win). I have lost several games to teams I should of beaten all because of either one fluke pitch, the pitching style of the opposing team (hard to read pitches) or simply because the team is freaking hard to beat. It is here where you wonder who Activision was having this game made for.

LLWS 2010 has four different modes of fun to keep players entertained throughout the entire gaming session. There is Exhibition, which is designed for the quick games against your buddies who think they are better than you. Then there is the Tournament mode, which allows you to choose your own team anywhere within the U.S. and battles teams in your region, the country and the world in order to become World Series champs. For some diversified fun, you can jump into the Skill Challenge mode, which allow you to test your batting and pitching skills in 6 different mini-games including the Homerun Derby and even bowling. Next up is Training, which I think is key in order to better understand this game so you will lose fewer battles within Tournament and Exhibition modes. If you want simply to look over your accomplishments and leaderboards, you can hop into the clubhouse mode, which will display any trophies you’ve won in the Tournament mode, while also giving you access to your card collection, leaderboards, and any personal records set along the way.

While there is definitely fun to be had with Little League World Series Baseball 2010, its biggest problem is that it doesn’t know who it was actually designed for. Based off of design choice one would say kids to teenagers, however when looking at the depth and learning curve for the game, it seems like a more appealing gamers to more experience gamers. Beyond that and a few small issues, LLWS 2010 is a gaming experience than can both challenge and entertain at the same time. Those who come from a pure simulation background, may not find this game appealing, however if you give it enough time and have an open mind, you’ll be surprised with the end result.


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