Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

High Heat Baseball 2000 (PSX) Review

Publisher: 3DO
Release Date: April 1999

Background Info

No one can say that 3DO tried to do it the easy way. They released High Heat Baseball 2000 for the PSX a month after three other quality baseball titles were released this year. Most PSX baseball fans have probably already purchased one of the competing games by now, so 3DO is in the unenviable position of offering a game that will not only compete with two bestsellers (Triple Play 2000 and MLB 2000) and an up-and-coming title, Interplay's Baseball 2000, but most likely, will also need to persuade gamers to buy a second baseball title. Against this grim challenge, High Heat steps up to the plate. Will it deliver the home run it needs or go down swinging?

Graphics : 65
Graphically, High Heat is more of a slow dirtball. The players, stadiums, and animations just aren't at the same graphical level as the competition.

While the players are large and polygonal, they are blocky and move without the smoothness or realism of a game released in the PSX's 4th year. The graphics look like a first generation PSX title. Some pitches resemble slow-motion replays, as do some swings of the bat. In general the game lacks the speed and fast gameplay that provide a realistic look and feel. The player models, more specifically, just don't look real or move naturally. They have an odd rubbery quality to their movement that reminds me of Jar Jar Binks. Nowsa thatsa trouble!

The stadiums are ho-hum at best, although the game does include some long-lost classic venues, such as Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Unfortunately, many of the modern stadiums don't look enough like the real places. The stadiums just look fuzzy and blurry. 3DO simply does not seem to have made precision and detail in the re-creation of stadiums a priority.

Aside from a lack of speed or smoothness, the animation in High Heat suffers from poor execution. Special animations often do not blend together smoothly, making for jarring visual effects. For example, when players step into the batting box, they do have distinct batting stances, but the animations before and after those individualized stances do not come together seamlessly. There are visual "cuts," where the players change positions and stances without animation showing the shift in position. The end result is choppy, sloppy-looking animation.

Despite being a graphical underachiever, High Heat still does have some nice graphical effects. During the course of a game, the clouds over the outfield bleachers slowly creep across the sky. When you try to call a pitch that your pitcher doesn't have in his arsenal, his head shakes you off. Nice touch. Finally, High Heat does have a lot of nice motion-captured animations, such as a pitcher grabbing some dirt from the mound or a batter displaying disgust at himself for going down swinging.

Audio : 60
High Heat's audio is as limited and unimpressive as its graphics. The announcer is pretty robotic and boring. The crowds are barely more than white noise. There are few sound effects beyond the bat, glove, and ball effects that provide the sounds of being at a ballgame. Again, this is an area where it just doesn't seem like 3DO tried. The audio is just not much of a factor in the game.

Interface/Options : 70
High Heat's interface is pretty vanilla. It is straightforward and easy to work through. The menus are intuitive and clear.

The pitching interface is messy. Unlike most pitching systems, you don't see a list of available pitches. Instead, there are D-pad and button combos to set pitches (for example, a knuckleball is UP+RIGHT+X button). If your pitcher doesn't have a particular pitch, he just shakes you off until you pick one he can actually throw. It would be better to see on-screen what pitches he CAN throw rather than have to learn by trial and error. After selecting the type of pitch, you then use the D-pad to select location and hit X for throw a strike and circle to throw a ball.

Batting is pretty straightforward: either swing or bunt, and use the D-pad to guess location of the pitch. The guess pitch option can be turned off to allow for simpler timing-based batting.

High Heat has six basic modes of play: exhibition, "family mode" (forgiving AI & simplified controls), season, quick play, playoffs, and homerun derby. The game has a standard amount of options and settings to adjust. You have lots of in-game options as well, allowing for various roster management decisions and actions.

One nice feature is that the game allows you to bring players up from the minors to fill a roster spot, as long as you are willing to send one of your current players down to the minor league for at least 21 days.

Gameplay : 80
High Heat's gameplay is the game's sole saving grace. In terms of AI and realism, this game rivals its competition, and may be the best outright. If you could transplant the brain of High Heat in the fast moving, rich audio-visual universe of Triple Play 2000, you might have the ultimate PSX baseball title.

Why is the gameplay so good? As mentioned earlier, the animation is a bit sluggish. In addition, the actual control of the players is a little loose and sluggish as well. But the true achievement of High Heat is that the realism of game seems close to perfect. The AI of the fielders is smart, making good baseball decisions. Computer pitchers are pretty savvy in how they try to get you out. The baserunning AI is smart and realistic. In addition, the ball physics seem dead-on as well. The game seems to have a natural distribution of hits, fouls, tips, grounders, balls popped back to the catcher, etc. Likewise, there are a realistic number of extra-base hits.

In short, the game isn't much to look at, and the control is just average, but it plays smart, authentic baseball.

Difficulty : 80
High Heat has four modes of difficulty. The default difficulty is pretty easy to hit on, but playing defense and pitching can still be challenging. The highest level of difficulty, "MVP," is tough, especially on offense. At that level, it can be tough to hit a ball at all if your timing isn't just right, even with the "guess pitch" option turned off.

The real challenge in High Heat is playing smart baseball. Unlike most baseball titles, High Heat's clever AI will make you pay for mistakes and dumb plays, and will roll the dice at times, just like a veteran manager.

Overall : 71
High Heat baseball has a good brain and well-developed AI, but that's about it. Somewhere deep down in High Heat 2000 is a great baseball game trying to get out, but it's trapped under heavy layers of bad graphics, mediocre audio, and a general lack of personality and atmosphere. Perhaps true baseball purists will overlook this game's many weaknesses and appreciate its realism and smart gameplay, but for most sports gamers, there are three better baseball titles available for the PSX this season. High Heat, sadly, goes down with a big whiff.

By: Matt P. 6/11/99

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series