RBI Baseball 2016 Xbox One Review - A swing and a miss

R.B.I. Baseball 2016

Quick Glance

  • Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mobile
  • Players: 2
  • Achievements: Yes
  • Steam Trading Cards: No
  • Controller Support: Yes, Full
  • Retail Price - $19.99

High Level Premise – Arcade baseball with real MLB teams and the complete 2016 MLBPA roster.

Graphics/Style – Realistic meets arcade, all images of the players are in high definition and are accurate.

Music/Soundtrack – Music is generic enough to not be annoying, sound effects are okay but are sometimes misplaced.

Story – It's Baseball, the story of the American pastime.

Replay-ability – It's easy to pick up and play a quick game when you are feeling up to it.

Time Commitment – Typical 5-inning game can be played in less than 20 minutes.

Value – $19.99 is the right price for the disc version, if you wait longer in the season the price will most likely drop in both formats.

Favorite Element – How realistic each city's ballpark looks. Quite impressive.

If you are an Xbox One owner, you may know that your choices for Baseball are very limited. Sony pretty much has the market cornered with one of the best baseball simulators ever made, the yearly installment MLB the Show.  There is not a restriction on the MLB or MLBPA licenses like there is with the contract that EA sports has with Madden football every year, it’s just a market that is very limited these days for some reason. Thankfully, MLB for a couple years now has made a cross-platform title RBI Baseball which has all of the MLB and MLB licenses.  I was very excited to try out this title, especially with it released right around opening day for the 2016 MLB season.

RBI Baseball promises a return to arcade style baseball that you may remember from days of yore. With a limited control scheme, RBI Baseball ’16 is supposed to be a modernized version of it’s NES and Genesis predecessors.  Featuring all current MLB teams, and a complete official player roster based on stats from last season this is an authentic Major League Baseball experience, complete with accurate representation of each city’s stadium.

Despite the excellent attention to graphical detail, the game has some major shortcomings. The first thing I noticed was there were some major glitches when fielding the ball. At one particular time, I had two infielders chasing after a bunt between 3rd base and the pitchers mound. However despite my best efforts, neither player wanted to pick up the ball. This resulted in an infield triple.  Another instance an opposing team member popped a really high foul ball and my infielder was in prime position to catch it to hopefully earn an out. However, the A.I. decided that the ball took too long to fall and cut away to the next pitch.

It’s little things like these that hamper the experience that RBI Baseball ’16 is supposed to bring to the table. The game is graphically impressive, but a game with unresponsive controls, and fielding glitches cannot make for a fun baseball game. The RBI Baseball that I remember from the 8-bit glory days had tight controls, and if a mistake was made 99% of the time it was your fault. As I was playing a game as my beloved Philadelphia Phillies, I was getting creamed by the Milwaukee Brewers at home 7-1. During the last couple of innings as a run was scored, I realized that the crowd was cheering for the Brewers and not the Phillies.  I don’t know if this was by design, or if the crowd just cheers whenever a run is scored. Either way, I can tell you first hand this would never happen in a real Philadelphia stadium!

The game has a great base, and looks great but RBI is a swing and a miss.  I really wanted to like this game, as I am a big fan of the original, RBI ’93, and other previous entries in the series.  There is much potential here, especially with RBI Baseball ’16 being the most accurate MLB experience on the Xbox One platform. For next year, I would love to see the glitches addressed and the controls to be more intuitive.  This would solve many of my gripes with the game, and potentially become the go-to baseball game on Xbox every year.

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