The Hardball series has always divided sports game buffs into two camps. Are you a stats freak, desperate for absolute accuracy and faithful statistical representation of all players? Or are you an arcade/action type, more interested in jacking towering homers, making diving catches and stealing multiple bases?
If you are the latter, I'm sure you've been looking forward to Hardball 5. Hardball titles have long been known for beautiful graphics and fast, exciting gameplay. In this respect, Hardball 5 does not disappoint. This baseball game is as colorful, easy to use, high-scoring and fast-paced as you will find this side of a Sony Playstation.
In previous iterations, all this fun came at the expense of statistical tracking and realism. Hardball 5 addresses both issues. The game generates piles of statistics, broken down by league, team, or positionenough to satiate all but the hardest of hardcore stat lovers. (If you think you need more stats, you really need to get out more.) In addition, Accolade has added even greater manager-level control over your team. You can easily adjust your team's onfield characteristicstell em to run, hit for average, or swing for the fenceswithout having to get your hands dirty and do anything yourself.
The on-field graphics in Hardball 5 are nothing to write home about. In fact, fielding in the outfield can get a little tricky from time to time in large part because of them. It's the actual pitcher/batter interface screen, though, that is this title's crown jewel. Great perspective, huge players and, most importantly, a huge strike zone make the process of hitting the ball a terrific blend of challenge and viewpoint. Once you get used to having the pitch coming right at you (not as difficult as many people think), you're prepared to tackle the most playable baseball sim on the shelves today.