CTIA 2005 Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2005 3D Hands-On

Gameloft's bringing Derek Jeter into his native third dimension. Read our CTIA hands-on here.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Gameloft's Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2005 didn't only best its competition earlier this year; it practically lapped all those other games, thanks to its high-quality graphics and realistic gameplay. In fact, that game was only missing two ideal elements: the real-world MLB license and full 3D graphics. The developer's managed to ameliorate the latter deficit in Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2005 3D, which will come out later this year on V Cast phones, like our test LG VX8100. This game's looking just as good as the original in terms of its gameplay, and it's even better from a graphical standpoint.

We knew that our hands-on with Jeter 3D was going to be a good one when the game opened with a rousing chorus of "Y'all ready for this?" in full MP3 glory. Indeed, this baseballer features a ton of speech, music, and sound effects, including a barking umpire, crowd noises and chants, and the crisp crack of bat meeting ball. But all this is ancillary to the game's smooth polygonal graphics, which are looking great. The players themselves remain a little on the blocky side, but that's to be expected on mobile phones. The animation, on the other hand, is impressively realistic, as are the multiple camera cuts and high frame rate. For example, if you hit a home run, the image might freeze and rotate around your batter a la The Matrix; then the camera will follow the ball into the stands. No other baseball game we've seen yet approaches this level of realism. In fact, you even get a dugout camera in between innings.

The gameplay approaches a console game level of realism, too. For one thing, Jeter 3D gives you complete control over your base runners, which many other baseball games choose to automate partially or completely. Also, there are three levels of CPU assistance for fielding, as well as four difficulty levels and a toggle for whether you want the ball to display a trail while in midair.

We really like what we saw from Derek Jeter Pro Baseball 2005 3D during our preview, and we hope that the commercial version of the game delivers on its promising foundations. We'll find out when it's released later this year, so check back then for our full review.

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