Sony's new Playstation-exclusive MLB Pennant Race is an excellent baseball sim that offers more options than any of its console competitors.
Sony's new Playstation-exclusive MLB Pennant Race is an excellent baseball sim that offers more options than any of its console competitors. And while it makes a hard-fought bid for the title, it falls just short of nabbing the elusive championship ring.
Pennant Race offers players a choice between an "arcade" mode that allows players to pitch like Bugs Bunny, or "sim" mode, where those pesky physics take hold. At last, gamers themselves can decide if they want to adhere to the laws of physics in our universe, or just get down and funky with curve balls that do a loop-the-loop on the way to the plate. Regardless of which mode a player chooses, the problems begin with the first pitch. In terms of gameplay, players will notice that errors are all too common and, adding insult to injury, the scorekeeper seems to miss every other one.
Even if the gameplay was flawless, Pennant Race (as a simulation and a game) would still be way too slow. The sim mode interface is much slower than its other major competitors - World Series and Triple Play - and although Pennant Race throws the controls up on the screen (an excellent feature), it should move much faster. Also, players are forced to sit through the announcer's rundown between innings while the game loads. This may be a necessary feature, but it feels like it takes an awfully long time. Finally, the playoff mode begins with a clean slate of statistics for each player. While this may be a reality in the major leagues, in Pennant Race there's no trace of the players' old stats to predict how good those no-name benchwarmers really are. And, finally, Pennant Race doesn't offer All-Star Teams or the newest expansion teams (the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays).
On the other hand, the graphics in Pennant Race are excellent, and the stadiums are exceptionally realistic. The fans are more true-to-life than in other baseball console games, and the camera follows a home run ball in a really cool over-the-shoulder fashion. Control is very sharp and the interface is easily learned. Sound, especially the announcer, is crisp and realistic. For fans of console baseball who are interested tons of options and the unique arcade mode (and can live with the slow gameplay), MLB Pennant Race may just be their game.
- Game Universe:
- MLB Slugfest 20-03 (PS2, XBOX, GC),
- MLB 2004 (PS2, PS),
- MLB Slugfest 20-04 (PS2, XBOX, GC, GBA),
- Major League Baseball 2K5 (XBOX, PS2, XBOX, PS2),
- Major League Baseball 2K6 (X360, XBOX, GC, PS2, PSP),
- Major League Baseball 2K7 (X360, PSP, XBOX, PS3, PS2, DS, GBA),
- MLB (PSP),
- MLB 2006 (PS2, PS),
- MLB 2003 (PS),
- MLB 2002 (PS)
- Number of Players: