Little League World Series Baseball 2010 Review (Xbox 360)
I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised, to discover that Little League World Series Baseball 2010 (for 360/PS3) is almost exactly like Little League World Series Baseball 2009 (for Wii). I say "almost" because in a few ways this version is an improvement, despite being essentially a port of the older game.
Rather than rehashing the basics of the game, check out the Wii review here. Again, the basics are exactly the same, including the strange anime look, the functional gameplay, power-ups, mini-games and collectible/baseball card system. However, there are two notable upgrades, and both correct a "minus" listed in the previous review.
First, because of the power of the 360 (or PS3), the graphical slowdown is nonexistent. Additionally, the textures get a needed upgrade, making this game look pretty good for a cel-shaded arcade game. It also animates well so, all-in-all, graphics are not a problem. This is not a visual masterpiece, but what’s here works well enough for this type of game.
The other issue noted in the Wii review was the clunky Wii controls, which are obviously removed here. Using a standard control system makes this game much more fun to play. That said, some of the Wii controls seem to have been forced onto the new control scheme -- instead of shaking the Wii remote to make your runners move faster, you have to wiggle the right stick. The right trigger is used to pitch and swing, which seems odd but becomes a non-issue with some time.
So with these two issues solved, what is there dislike about this game? Well, Gary Thorne as a commentator quickly becomes annoying, often repeating himself multiple times throughout the game. I do not know if the platform has anything to do with it, but I grew tired of him much quicker than I did last summer.
Perhaps this game's biggest flaw is that it has no online play, a direct remnant of this game’s roots. Online functionality is something that is not common on the Wii for one reason or another. However, taking a team online to battle your friends would have been a fun way to extend the life of this game. I suppose as a kids’ game, safety needs to be kept in mind since you can name your player’s anything you would like. Still, it's too bad that something like online play could have been included.
So, compared to last year’s Wii version, this is a superior product. But that’s mainly because of the platform and not necessarily because the developers did anything substantial to improve the game by a wide margin. If you are looking for a kid-focused arcade game on the two "big" platforms, much like Mario Super Sluggers on the Wii, you could do worse than Little League Baseball 2010.
On the Field: Pretty solid baseball with some arcade twists like power-ups and mini-games. The controls are much more natural on a standard controller than the Wii remotes.
Graphics: Strange stylings, but a nice cel-shaded look with improved textures.
Sound Design/Presentation: Gary Thorne gets old fast, but things like "home run flashbacks" and replays of key plays spice up the presentation.
Entertainment Value: Tournament mode is enjoyable, and could be repeated with various teams. There are some mini-games, but they vary in quality. There are also lots of things to unlock, win and customize.
Learning Curve: A very lengthy and guided tutorial helps you get acquainted with the controls.
Online: None, which is one of this port’s biggest problems. Leaderboards are about it for online functionality.
Score: 7.0 (Good)
+Improved controls and graphics
-Could be more innovative