It’s the best time of the year! Baseball is back. What better way to kick off the season than checking out R.B.I. Baseball 17. Not to mention it has my favorite baseball player, Corey Seager, on the front.
R.B.I. Baseball 17 offers a fast-paced, complete 9 inning game. There are three game modes to select from: Exhibition, Season, and Postseason. Right after downloading, an update roster option will be available to have all the current players on the right team. This kind of option gives great replay value because it sucks having to play with an old roster when players get traded around. Each game mode allows you to play as any of the 30 MLB teams. You’ll be able to hit with each respective team’s complete lineup. The Exhibition mode lets you choose between a wider array of pitchers, while the Season mode only allows the top three starters and a closer. The Postseason mode lets you choose between the full 25-man roster or the classic 16-man.
The pitch types are limited to a curveball, fastball, and what I call the meatball pitch. I think it was designed to be a change-up but ends up looking like a slow fastball that always gets crushed by the computer. The pitching isn’t too great in this game. You choose your pitch on the virtual joystick and hold the pitch icon until the pitcher completes his wind-up. I found it incredibly difficult to consistently throw strikes. You can only control pitches that go inside or outside, but not high or low.
Although there is a virtual joystick, the defense is semi-automatic. The computer controls your defensive player until the ball is caught. Once the ball is caught, you can move your player using the virtual joystick. There are only a few times you’ll actually need to move your player after the ball is caught. These are times when you catch a ground ball and need to run to the base to get the out. The lack of defensive control makes the virtual joystick pointless. It’d better if R.B.I Baseball 17 chose between full manual control or automatic computer defense.
Hitting was an interesting experience. The curveballs are incredibly difficult to judge. They come at you in a squiggly line from right to left which is not how a curveball moves. The only time I could get a hit was guessing fastball. Once you finally get a hit, you can control baserunning by tapping the running icon on the bottom left.
In my opinion, the best part about the game was the graphics. The animation and players looked the best I’ve seen on a tablet. The different stadiums looked surprisingly accurate. Throwing and hitting motions were smooth and looked realistic.
R.B.I. Baseball 17 is a decent game despite some faults. The plus is that you can play offline, which is becoming more and more rare in games these days. Gameplay is fast-paced, has good graphics, and you have access to all your favorite players. The downfall is that it is $4.99, which is an automatic no for most people. The game tries to be too complex for its own good. This is highlighted with the virtual joystick, which is rarely used to control movement in the game.