RBI Baseball 21 is out now, taking advantage of a couple of weeks lead time on MLB The Show. This is a good thing for the baseball simulator, being the only game on the market the week MLB starts is always a positive for sales. The last couple of years of the game however have been a bit of a letdown. I have always seen this series as the arcade-style game companion piece to The Show, but the drawbacks have been sluggish gameplay, confusing menus, and limited game modes. RBI Baseball 21 has done away with a bunch of that, and the fine folks who made the game sent us over a copy for the Nintendo Switch to check out.
RBI Baseball 21 Is A Step In The Right Direction
Right from booting the game up, you can tell this one has been improved. Gone are the confusing menu prompts and layouts, hello streamlined experience. This is easy to navigate and the layouts are beautiful. Settings were easy to find, and the game modes are easier to find as well. Create a player is much easier to navigate and it only took me about ten minutes to accomplish. Home Run Derby is also improved with the new display graphics for the stat lines and such, although they still use that bad faraway camera when you put the ball in play.
The gameplay has been vastly improved. I love the modern control system. Fielding was a nightmare in the game before, but now players move faster and have better reaction times. The downside to that is that they overrun the ball constantly, yet still catch the ball with like, their feet. It's what I like to call Griffey Baseball Syndrome. Pitching is easier as well, but the only way not to give up a homer on every pitch is to throw power pitches. If you do that, however, it wears out the player too fast. Hitting is the same, very simplified, yet there are three different swing types and they all hit the ball the same. Also, hey RBI Baseball 21:I hit fourteen home runs in a row at one point, all with different swing types. Yet there was not a single replay? That is a major flaw. The difficulty is all over the place as well, and it is a bummer the realism just is not there when it feels like it should be. As an arcade-style game, sure this is good. But it gets quite boring hitting home runs and giving up home runs constantly.
What I am getting at here is that this series needs to decide what type of game it wants to be. Either a realistic simulator to challenge The Show, or is RBI Baseball content to be an arcade game, because this weird hybrid of both is not working. Kudos to them for making RBI Baseball 21 the best in the series so far, with improved controls and presentation. But it is not quite at the level it needs to be at.