Sports Game of the Year|
Developer: Team .366
"A game of baseball in High Heat often provided all the drama, the strategy, and the excitement of a real Major League Baseball game." - Michael E. Ryan, GameSpot Review
The sports category has traditionally been dominated by EA Sports' trio of heavyweight titans: FIFA, NHL, and NBA Live. These three games have consistently provided the hallmark for fine sports games and have yet to be dethroned on the PC in their respective sports. But there has been a notable lack of a dominant baseball game, whether it is in simulation or arcade form. Even EA Sports' Triple Play series has failed to garner the attention and success of the other EA brands. But in 1999, the trend of mediocre baseball games ended, and a new era of high-quality PC baseball was ushered in by a most unlikely candidate. 3DO's High Heat Baseball 2000 came out of left field to become not only an outstanding baseball PC game, but also this year's best overall sports game.
The first edition of High Heat failed the graphics test and, worst of all, failed to have any proper baseball licenses. However, 1999's version has 3D graphics that, while admittedly not state of the art, can at least compete with the rest of the field. It also has the full array of baseball licenses, including all players and teams. Of course, what makes High Heat Baseball 2000 a real winner is its superb realism and detail. This game captures all the nuances of strategy and depth you'd expect to find in a real baseball game. Some portions of the game - like the Home Run Derby - and a few bugs are minor problems, to be sure, but the player animation, player customization, management mode, career mode, minor-league system, and its wealth of options more than make up for these shortcomings. And on the virtual diamond, where it counts most, High Heat Baseball 2000 provides the best depiction of baseball yet on the computer.
It's not often that a relative newcomer can beat the reigning champ of sports games, but 3DO managed to do it and do it with authority. That it did so with a sport that has traditionally been hard to get right is even more impressive.