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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Midway

 

Developer

Midway Sports

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2004

 

 

- Off-the-wall humor and gameplay that makes baseball fun
- Fluid animations and accurate batting stances
- New interface and soundtrack that isn’t half-bad
- A franchise mode for traditional baseball enthusiasts
- With a clean presentation the game seems twice as fun as it was last year

 

 

- Franchise mode isn’t as deep as promised
- Graphics are still middle-of-the- pack
- Commentary can get annoying after a couple hours
- The three modes of play are really just one mode with different titles

 

 

Review: MLB Slugfest 2003 (PS2)

Review: All-Star Baseball 2005 (XB)

Review: MVP Baseball 2004 (XB)

Review: Inside Pitch 2003 (XB)

 

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MLB Slugfest: Loaded

Score: 7.8 / 10

 

mlb slugfest loaded review           mlb slugfest loaded review

 

Baseball season is well on its way and this year is turning out like no other. The Texas Rangers are in 1st place, the Yankees and Red Sox are throwing fists at one another, and some of the greatest home run hitters of all-time are sharing the field. With all of the baseball games on the market it’s about time to lay back and blast some hits, break some ankles, and throw some real punches. MLB Slugfest: Loaded guarantees all of that and a whole lot more.

Last year Midway stepped it up with ML: Slugfest, a fantasy baseball game that takes outrageous baseball behavior and exaggerated actions to a whole new level. The game was a blast when playing with others, but when sitting at home alone, the game wasn’t worth looking at. This year Midway made sure to add to their franchise mode and give those who care about stats and numbers a little more for their money.

At first glance everything that was in Slugfest last year has been transplanted to

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this year’s version. The style and gameplay is relatively the same although the presentation and menus have had a severe makeover. The menus are much easier to navigate and the soundtrack is great. During the game the score is presented in a ‘FOX Sports’ style and looks very sharp. Other than that, the core fundamentals remain in intact.

While MLB Slugfest:

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Loaded promises an in-depth franchise mode powered by a simulation system, it fails in comparison to the other baseball games on the market. From the franchise menu you can select one of three modes: Slugfest, MLB, and Custom. The Slugfest style brings all of the features that made last year’s game fun: incredible jumps, super fast speed, and crazy pitches. The MLB style promises realistic gameplay but looks and feels exactly the same as Slugfest, minus the turbo. The franchise mode itself is barren and dry. A lot of the stats of the players are incorrect and some players, who are switch-hitters (can bat from both sides of the plate) are restricted to right or left. Although this might seem like a small gripe, true baseball fans who want realistic gameplay will surely be disappointed.

Another flaw is the pitching system. Throwing pitches is not completely up to you, meaning that you can only throw pitches in certain locations. Unlike MVP and ESPN baseball, where you can literally throw the ball anywhere you want, Slugfest only allows you to throw in predestined locations. Pressing the A button will throw a strike while the X button throws a ball. For a modern baseball game, Slugfest still has a lot of learning to do.

 

mlb slugfest loaded review          mlb slugfest loaded review


Midway has never been big on graphics, and MLB Slugfest: Loaded is no exception. The graphics are below today’s standards although the animations are very smooth. Loaded includes hundreds of batting stances and pitching windups, including some that you wouldn’t think they’d take the time to add, and the off-the-wall animations will have you and your buddies laughing for a long time.

The humor and fun is in full force this year with outrageous stadiums and teams included. Taken out from last year was the always present cheat enabler. If you remember the old NFL Blitz and NHL Hitz games, right before the game would start, during the loading screen, there would be three little icons on the bottom of the screen that, when placed in the right order, enabled some type of code or cheat. Instead, players must unlock new teams and extra additions by performing tasks, such as winning the World Series.

Also new to this year’s version is the support of Xbox Live, which is absolutely necessary these days. Playing online is just as fun as playing with some friends, except now the trash-talking has no immediate consequences (like a slap upside the head). Roster updates are also available online, as soon as they are released.

MLB Slugfest: Loaded has made huge additions to this years franchise, however there still seems to be some gaps that need to be filled. The gameplay gets out of hand when a player becomes “on fire.” Once this happens it is a near impossibility to stop him. Others, such as the pitching location problem, are standard issues that shouldn’t be a problem in the first place. Putting all anger and baseball tradition aside, MLB Slugfest: Loaded is the perfect game for a group of buddies getting together. And for all of you Yankee haters out there: punching A-Rod in the face is now possible, without having any arrest warrants involved.

- Eric Lahiji
(July 29, 2004)

 

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