The All Star Baseball series has far and away been the best baseball game series on the N64. This year, Acclaim and Iguana have continued the tradition by adding new gameplay features and refinements, keeping this year's version in top shape.
The new batting features are by far the most impressive addition to this year's game. The new options let you guess which zone the pitch will be thrown to, as well as the type of pitch. If you guess correctly, your contact target will get bigger, giving you a better chance of hitting the ball. However, if you guess the pitch incorrectly, your contact target will get smaller, decreasing your chance of hitting the ball. In addition to this, you can now change the angle at which your contact target faces the pitcher, so you can basically choose where you'd like to hit the ball. You can angle it left to hit the ball into left field, up toward the sky for a pop up, or toward the ground for a grounder. Of course, you must do everything just right, meaning timing the pitch and getting the batting target on the pitch as it comes in.
If you're familiar with the All Star series then you already know about the hi-res graphics that give the game its amazingly realistic look; for those who aren't, let me explain. Put simply, All Star Baseball 2000 is far and away the most visually impressive baseball game ever. The animations of the players running, walking up to the plate, diving, and everything else look so incredibly lifelike it's ridiculous. The game has an overall crisp look that, combined with unbelievably smooth polygonal player models, makes the game look more like a CG intro than an actual playable game.
The new instant-replay mode in All Star Baseball 2000 really lets you zoom in and take a look at the players in action from any angle you want. This is great since on more than one occasion base runners sliding into third have been called safe when they were obviously, painfully not. We've also seen, on more frequent occasions, outfielders catching balls they weren't anywhere near. Aside from these cases, no other AI problems were apparent; all the AI and stat issues from last year have been fixed.
In the audio department, All Star Baseball 2000 still leaves something to be desired. The game's play-by-play action and color commentary, provided by New York Yankee broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay, isn't all that great: A lot of the same phrases seem to come up. Triple Play 2000 had a little bit more variety in the commentary. The dull voice-work in All Star Baseball 2000 seems to be even more noticeable, since it's really all you have. The crowd is nearly silent, and the organ music might as well be, since it hardly ever comes on.
Like the other games in the series, ASB 2000 holds the MLB license, so it features all 30 of the real major league baseball teams and all the real players. There is a total of four different game modes to play in - exhibition, season, play-off, and home run derby.
Overall, All Star Baseball 2000 is a refined version of last year's game. However, the new features and refinements totally add up; they make picking up All Star Baseball 2000 a must for every N64-owning baseball fan.