There’s an old adage in many sports that teams and fans should be able to know what they’ll get out of a player by their third season in the major leagues. Is the player going to be a star, a role player, or someone who will fizzle out?
With RBI Baseball 16, the franchise from MLB Advanced Media is in its third installment since its reboot. This should be the year that we really see where the franchise is heading after the first two years were used to refine visuals and gameplay.
The gameplay is simple enough, which is good for an arcade title that aims to be a pick-up-and-play game. Overalls don’t matter nor does baseball knowledge. If you can hold a controller, you can play RBI Baseball 16. It’s a great thing to have for young children and adults alike who just want to enjoy a game together.
Visually, the game has improved over the first two titles since its return. Stadiums look accurate, and the lighting helps them shine and atmosphere of each ball park. The players look better than the last two years, but they all look the same in the field. Which, for an arcade, truly isn’t that big of a deal.
On the field, the developers have added new fielding mechanics like diving catches, pump fakes and wall jumps. It adds some pretty exciting moments to the game, but that’s all it really does. It’s still too easy for AI fielders to make amazing plays, and it’s a bit too difficult for players to chase down and guess where pop flys are going to land. In fact, the only way to have any sort of success while fielding is with the fielding assist feature turned on.
As far as what is offered to players, there are play now, online, postseason and season modes. Season modes span multiple years, but you are stuck with the same roster throughout that time, making the game pretty repetitive when you do multiple seasons with the same players over and over. Online exhibition is fun, but it’s a pain to try and find players to play against whether it be on PC or console. There just isn’t enough depth to keep you wanting more, which is an issue in a generation of gaming where depth is key.
As a party game with friends in the same area, though, RBI Baseball 16 can be pretty fun. Having tournaments with your friends is simple enough because of the easy controls and fast-paced gameplay. That said, it does get to the point where you just feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over. No game can last when it feels that way.
RBI Baseball is an arcade franchise through and through. It’s not trying to be MLB The Show, nor does it want to be. However, RBI Baseball 16 feels more like a $5 mobile game than a $20 console title that looks to give fans a fun experience. There are some shining moments like the new fielding features, but there just isn’t enough to keep fans coming back for more.
RBI Baseball 16 was reviewed on a digital version of the game supplied by MLB AM.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to MLB AM.