R.B.I. Baseball ’15 (PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PC, Mac, iOS, Android)
Developer(s): MLB Advanced Media
Publisher: MLB Advanced Media
Genre(s): Sports, Baseball
Released: March 31, 2015
ESRB Rating: E – Everyone
It’s been just about a year since the classic R.B.I. Baseball franchise was resurrected by MLB Advanced Media. I gave last year’s title two and a half stars, which is decent/average on our scale. My main complaints with the game from a year ago were the lack of stat tracking and the camera when fielding.
In my conclusion from that review I stated, “Hopefully the MLB Advanced Media guys give it another go next year, as there’s a solid foundation in place that they’ll hopefully being able to expand upon in a lot of ways without sacrificing the old school feel of the game.” I’m happy to be able to say that they’ve done just that.
My biggest complaints have been fixed. R.B.I. Baseball ’15 has stat tracking, the fielding camera has been fixed, there’s online multiplayer, and you can have full 25 man rosters (or classic 16 if you want). There’s new animations, improved graphics, and even difficulty options. In short, this year’s version is all around better. Everything has been improved, and well you really can’t ask for much more than that.
That’s not to say there isn’t issues with the game of course. Something seems a little off with batting, and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. I can’t tell if the swing is slow or if its something with the appearance of the ball coming in, but I found myself missing on swings I thought were timed right and should have connected.
Of course when you play enough games you begin to compensate for this by swinging earlier than you think you should, but it’s still annoying and I don’t recall last year’s version having this issue because I had no problem getting hits in that game.
Pitchers also can’t stop a ball apparently. I’ve given up hits, and even a few runs, to ground balls hit straight up the middle. In real life, and most other baseball games, these grounders would be simple outs. In this game, it’s going to be on the center fielder to get it and that’s just a little absurd.
So the game has problems, just not the same big ones as a year ago. It’s not on the level of MLB The Show, and it’s not attempting to be (nor should it). It is very much a throwback game that isn’t complicated, and it’s still the only baseball game in town for Xbox One owners.
If MLB can fix all of the issues with the RBI series, and continue to build upon the improvements made to the foundation this year, then RBI is going to be a great series. Not for everyone, but rather for a certain market of us gamers. Some like the complexity, realistic graphics, and many modes of a game like The Show. Others, like myself, prefer our baseball games with a more old school style that is easier to just pick up and play. RBI Baseball allows us to scratch that itch on the modern consoles. I, for one, like it.
RBI isn’t a baseball sim; it’s an arcade game that is “accessible.” That’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned, and I hope MLB Advanced Media doesn’t change that formula up any in the future. Of course it would be nice if the game added some sort of cinematic for home runs, rather than just a splash screen saying “HOME RUN,” after all even NES games let us see plays round the bases and/or be congratulated when crossing home plate.
RBI Baseball ’15 is a game with issues that is still fun for fans of arcade baseball to play, without the needless complexity of modern games. It’s a flawed game, but at the end of the day it’s fun and it improved on all of the major issues with the first game. If you’re into old-school arcade style baseball, RBI Baseball ’15 is a satisfying experience.
* A PSN code was provided by the publisher for review.