R.B.I. Baseball ’16 (PS4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android)
Developer(s): MLB.com Advanced Media
Publisher: MLB.com Advanced Media
Genre(s): Sports, Baseball
Released: March 29, 2016 (Digital), April 5, 2016 (Physical)
ESRB Rating: E – Everyone
It’s kinda hard to review R.B.I. Baseball ’16, the third entry in the series resurrected by MLB Advanced Media back in 2014. And the reason it’s hard is because I’ve already reviewed it, last year. In fact, I’ve reviewed both 2014 and 2015. The 2014 version was a solid foundation of old school video game baseball. The 2015 version made some significant upgrades to add to that already solid foundation. This year’s game feels exactly like last year’s game.
And to be honest, that’s okay with me. Last year’s game received 3 stars, which is “satisfying” on our scale, and this year’s version is more of the same. It is no better and no worse than last year’s game.
Now that won’t sit well with some folks. And I get it, yearly titles need something to make them an enticing purchase if you bought the previous one. A roster update alone doesn’t do that.
There’s a few new wrinkles here. The players can now dive and jump up walls to catch balls, that’s triggered by the AI and not something you can make happen. Batting has also supposedly been improved, but it still feels just like it did last year to me (and I have the same issue I had with it last year, it’s kind of hard to gauge). Sure, I haven’t played the 2015 version since last year, so I guess it could be different in some way, but it doesn’t seem like any big noticeable change to me.
The graphics and lighting are all slightly better, and the stat tracking returns as well.
Honestly, I’m not sure what MLB Advanced Media is suppose to do. This is simplistic old school arcade style baseball. There’s only so much you can do it with it. It’s not complicated and sim-like like MLB The Show. It just doesn’t need a ton of bells and whistles attached to it. The 2015 version put the series in a relatively good place for fans of this style of baseball gaming, and well this year’s version is exactly the same with some minor improvements here and there.
If you bought last year’s game, do you need to upgrade this year? No, of course not. Just continue to play last year’s game and you’re getting basically the same experience.
If you bought 2014, and skipped last year, or haven’t bought any of the previous two, then yeah 2016 could be worth it for you if you like NES style baseball games. Or if you like ultra simple controls (analog stick plus one button), casual baseball gaming where you can play a quick game and then go do something else.
Like last year’s version, this one does have online multiplayer. Just like last year, I haven’t and won’t play it online simply because I don’t like to play games like this online. As such, the online aspect of the game has zero bearing on the review. If it’s laggy or broken, or super stable and working to perfection, I don’t care and either way it has no outcome on this review.
R.B.I. Baseball ’16 is a satisfying experience, nothing more and nothing less.