|System: Wii, PS2, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Humongous Entertainment / Farsight||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 10, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are a lot of players to choose from in this virtual sand lot. Professional players such as A-Rod, Jeter, Pujols, Ortiz, Ordonez, and Ichiro are all selectable. Some pros, like Babe Ruth and Alfonso Soriano, are locked and can't be used until opened through the Season Game. In addition to MLB stars, a host of Backyard Baseball veterans can also be used. All these players have varying abilities in skill areas such as power, pitching, catching, fielding, contact, stamina, etc. Finding a good mix of players, positioning them well on the field, and coming up with a solid batting order is crucial for success at the higher difficulty levels.
Most of the game is a straightforward and scaled down version of baseball. But, the use of power-ups in the title affects both pitching and batting in interesting ways. If you string together a few solid plays, your power-up meter will fill and enable you to pitch freeze-balls and splitters (literally) or whack the ball into orbit when at bat. Power-ups are not infallible though. In fact, it's pretty easy to give up a hit or strike out if you strictly rely on them. However, if you mix the power-ups into your normal routine, they can be game-breakers.
The overall presentation is standard, discount title fare. Nothing is crisp and it all seems to be hurried. The player likenesses are not good at all; skin tone and height are about the only things that differentiate Ortiz and A-Rod. The eight different venues available (two must be unlocked) are the visual bright spots of the title. The designs of each diamond are distinct and interesting. Conversely, the sounds and voice acting are devoid of any redeeming qualities. The canned commentary and sparse effects are definitely mute-worthy.
When all is said and done, Backyard Baseball '09 is a forgettable title that may go over with very young gamers. Though the title is not all bad, mature gamers are better off saving the time and money!
CCC Editor / News Director