Derek Jeter Real Baseball Review (Wireless)
It has taken six seasons, but the New York Yankees are finally back in the World Series. It seemed just as inevitable that Derek Jeter finally has another game with his name splattered all over it, Derek Jeter Real Baseball.
I also just want to get this out of the way before we go any farther into this review: If you do not like Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter Real Baseball may not be the game for you. Just trust me, unless you are a glutton for punishment.
Developed and released by Gameloft, Derek Jeter Real Baseball is one part baseball sim and one part holy relic to the long-time captain of the Yankees. What Derek Jeter Real Baseball is not is a great game, but it also is not a terrible game.
For a $5 download on the iTunes App Store, you will get a baseball game with some annoying flaws. However, during those moments when there is nothing else to do, you will find that Derek Jeter Real Baseball is an adequate game to turn to when you want to cure bouts of boredom.
Every game on the iPhone has to be simple, easy to use and functional. Nothing too hard, right?
The gameplay in Derek Jeter Real Baseball is based around timing. You touch the screen in order to time a pitching meter or to swing the bat. Baserunning is also a simple process as it involves using the touch screen to move runners from one base to another.
Pitching involves selecting one of four pitches and then selecting the location of the pitch, which is an exercise in frustration since you can't locate the ball exactly where you want it to go. Actually, pitching the ball involves timing a meter for power first and then accuracy second, which is pretty straightforward.
If you are looking for a realistic representation of pitching, you definitely won't find it in Derek Jeter Real Baseball -- almost every pitcher can routinely throw 105 mph fastballs. So if you are a sim nut, the insane pitch speeds will obviously drive you batty. If you simply take the game at face value, it may be cool to see yourself pitching at ultra-fast speeds.
The other half of defense, fielding, is fully automated until your player has fielded a ball. You can then choose which base to throw the ball to by using the iPhone's touch-screen interface. Fielding would have been impossible to control manually, so this was a good call and I really feel the fielding works pretty well.
Hitting is a simple exercise in timing. The real challenge is trying to hit a 105 mph fastball after flailing at a 77 mph changeup. I found the hitting to be frustrating because you have no control over whether the ball is hit in the air or on the ground -- the whole hitting mechanic just seems random and out of my control to me.
I assume a lot of people who play Derek Jeter Real Baseball will not necessarily have a problem with the very simple hitting interface, but I just feel something more could have been done with it. However, the hitting interface is easily accessible yet somewhat challenging to master, and that is really the ultimate goal with any game mechanic.
Baserunning is an extremely frustrating aspect of Derek Jeter Real Baseball. To put it simply, your baserunners are extremely slow. Even a ball hit into the gap that rolls to the wall is only good enough for a single. This is something that (I think) could easily be fixed in a patch because it just needs to be tuned a bit.
They may not be PS3 quality, but for the iPhone, the graphics are pretty solid.
What separates Derek Jeter Real Baseball from the rest of the pack on this platform is the inclusion of a fully functional season mode. You can choose a season length of 14, 28 or 56 games at the start of the season, as well as the difficulty level (the choices are rookie, veteran, all-star or legend).
While none of the teams are the actual MLB teams, you are given typical names to choose from: Texas, Houston, Atlanta, etc.
When in the season mode, you can manage your team's lineup, pitching staff and even simulate ahead and track statistics. The season mode is relatively minimalist, but I was not expecting a franchise mode on the same level as OOTP or MLB: The Show.
What you get is a pretty cool mode that is simple in its execution while still being quite functional.
The Holy Relic of Derek Jeter
While you may or may not like Derek Jeter, you will be force fed every possible bit of information about him while playing Derek Jeter Real Baseball.
First off, before you even enter the game, you are treated with a rather lengthy intro video displaying all of Derek Jeter's accomplishments. Then, at every loading screen and every turn, you see quotes from Derek Jeter.
I think it's quite funny actually, because it really seems like an over the top worshiping of Derek Jeter that is being thrown at you at every turn. I mean I happen to like the Yankees and Derek Jeter, and even I felt it was a bit over the top at times.
Derek Jeter Real Baseball is a good, solid iPhone app that will give you a reason to play it if you like baseball and can overlook some pretty big lapses in realism. The good news is that sooner or later, the game will be patched and many of the issues I have talked about will probably be fixed -- then the game will really start to be a solid title.
In the meantime Derek Jeter Real Baseball is still the best baseball game app in the iTunes App Store, and it is worth your money if you want something more complex than your average lightweight game on the iPhone.
On the Field: The game is both simple and functional. This is not a very complex game, but it works given the platform it's on.
Graphics: The graphics are pretty good for the iPhone -- they kind of resemble the old High Heat games from back in the early parts of this decade.
Sound: The crowd is not too bad at all, the stadium music isn't too annoying and the announcers, while not too involved, do add something. It's not bad, not good.
Entertainment Value: I found it was easy to overlook some of the gaffes in realism and simply enjoy the game. You will find a pretty good game if you can do the same.
Learning Curve: After you play one full inning, you will get what is going on and be an expert.
Score: 7.0 (Good)