Spring is in the air, and now so too is baseball season. While many hardcore fans may opt towards a more sim and realistic title, RBI Baseball 16 is a great in between style for the more casual fan of baseball. It is a more artistic and arcade blend to the fairly straightforward sport of Baseball.
Gameplay and Features
RBI Baseball 16 gives exactly what you expect from an arcade style game: fun, fast paced action that delivers the sport you know and love. The game stays true to its arcade type feel; you can perform almost every action in the game with just the directional pad and the “A/X” button. New in this iteration of the classic series is an increased timing for a “perfect” swing. Pitching is exactly what you would expect from this arcade style baseball game: move left and right on the mound to throw inside or outside, as well as moving the pitches after they are released to add break to them. Fielding bodes similar to the rest of the actions in the game as well; throwing to each base with the directional pad pointed towards the base as well as hitting the “A/X” button. One thing I found particularly challenging was catching fly balls. You see a trail of where the ball goes and it really is your own judgement on the landing spot.
RBI Baseball offers a franchise mode with the classic RBI style of 16 players, or the full-fledged 25 player teams, as well as allowing you the choice between a full 162 game season or an abridged 81 or 52 game season. Franchise offers the full 30 MLB teams as well as all of their stadiums. While in the Franchise Mode you have the ability to set and customize your lineups pregame, or during the game as well as your pitching rotation. The option to sim to any point in the season is given and executed fairly well as it takes mere seconds to fast forward to the point in time in which you would like. As with most sports titles, RBI Baseball comes with your fully detailed stats and league leaders that allow you to check the current statistics of your team divided between the hitters and the pitchers, as well as the stats of the other teams around your league.
Also new to RBI Baseball is the Postseason mode, and it is exactly as the title says. If you’re just looking for the nail biting thrill of the postseason, cut out all the foreplay and start off right in the action of the single game elimination of the wild card playoff round.
One thing to note on both these modes, unfortunately you are only allowed one save on each. So fans who like to start multiple seasons will have to erase their previous save in favor of the new one.
Graphics and Presentation
RBI 16 won’t turn heads with its looks, but it looks well put together for an arcade game. However, that really is the only good part about the presentation. Too many times it appears that the ball thrown to first base hits them in the head, and then morphs into the fielder’s glove. Diving or jumping is a feature that rarely turned up in my time of playing, but when it did it was at inopportune times where it was not needed at all.
RBI Baseball 16 is still without an online franchise mode, but it does allow a head to head matchup in online. Unfortunately though, this is not a highlight of the arcade title. Through several attempts of playing online I was greeted with the recurring message that “No Opponent was found”. Once finally connecting to an opponent, the game was disconnected before we even left the lineup screen. So for this section, I had to invite a friend to share in the experience of online play.
Overall the online play doesn’t play too differently than your normal offline mode. Save for a few glitches where the connection would stumble in non-critical points, and the occasional time it would end the play early, the connection was smooth. There is little to no noticeable delay when both swinging and pitching in the online mode.
RBI Baseball 16 stays true to its nature and builds off the fun arcade style of its previous generations. This is not a game for the more serious MLB Baseball fan, but would rather appeal to the casual fan. This is where the true success of RBI delivers on what is promised: A fun fast paced baseball game.