“With time to tweak their working formula, how would the sequel fare?”
– from the full review, which you can read here.
Before we go any further, I have to make one thing very clear: I love the original R.B.I. Baseball game. My blog post may not have make it seem that way, since I did not include screenshots or put the effort into the blog portions that I do now, but trust me: I love the original R.B.I. Baseball game. It is seriously among my very-top favorite NES cartridges, one of those “always fun” titles good for firing up to kill some time, and one I adore playing with someone willing to go head-to-head with me.
Now, because I was much more familiar with the original before ever playing the sequel, does this subjectively affect my opinion of the second entry?
Yes. Of course it does.
But, please know two further things: 1) I believe I can, objectively and with substantive reasoning, defend my critiques of the sequel. Definitely. 2) I do not dislike the sequel. I believe it is a fine game.
Someone reading may think “Well sheesh Eric, why are you hitting the defensive tone right away? Who cares?” And that would be fair enough, but I am purely seeking to explain away, before someone asks, why I have given R.B.I. Baseball 2 the same score as the original, despite 2 adding passwords, twice as many teams, arguably slightly better-looking graphics, etc. Honestly, for details, read the full review, in which I certainly make some overtures toward explaining my view beyond just “I love the original so much the sequel could not measure up.” As a competitive player, the original is superior. In terms of presentation, it is a matter of viewpoint. But, yes, some of the sequel additions are nice.
Then again, who cares about review scores, right?
Seriously, though: The R.B.I. Baseball series would make a fantastic jumping-off point for a number of retro gaming discussions you can have about the nature of nostalgia and its rose-colored lenses, how objective can a review truly be, can “better” graphics actually be worse if they do not conjure up a more likable impression (ahem), etc. Go ahead, get out there and talk about it. There is a lot of ground to cover out there in left field…
Read The Full Review For: My first use of neat phrases like “pixel-popping,” a litany of changes from the original game (both good and bad), and an in-depth look at two very specific examples of how, in my opinion, the gameplay mechanics of R.B.I. Baseball 2 are actually somewhat watered down and competitively inferior to the original game.
NES Gameplay Tips for R.B.I. Baseball 2: Honestly, as someone taking a serious run at the R.B.I. Baseball world record (a win by 34 runs), I feel like I could write an entire feature or two on R.B.I. Baseball franchise tactics. I am torn as to whether to do this someday; on the one hand, I genuinely do know some legitimately strong strategies; on the other hand, I truly do not want to reveal a couple of my quirkier secrets. Hm!
A handful of final arbitrart thoughts:
I would love, love to hear someone else’s thoughts on how the three R.B.I. Baseball games on NES compare to each other.
I do not like the instant replay. I like the option to see a replay, but the computer-driven instant replays kick in way too often to be effective with any sort of true highlight gravity.
I like the Oakland A’s in this game. Henderson as lead-off is just wonderful, and there is both subtle and obvious power hitting in that line-up.
I miss the opening “pop” sound effect upon power-on with the baseball heading left to drag the title on-screen. A silly, yet classy touch omitted for the sequel.