Little League World Series Baseball 2008 DS Review

Very simply put, Little League World Series Baseball 2008 is a
fun game. Right from when you look at the cover to the moment you throw out the
first pitch, it’s clear that Activision and Now Production wanted this to be an
enjoyable little game that is easy to pick up and something you’re going to
want to play for more than a few minutes at a time. In that regard they’ve
succeed for the most part.

There are a number of modes open from the start including Exhibition and
World Series Mode. Along with that there are 4 minigames dubbed Skill
Challenges. Home Run Tourney which is essentially a home run derby, HORSE, and
a pitcher’s variation of both Tic-Tac-Toe and Bowling. While each of the Skill
Challenges are fun in their own ways and will keep your attention for a while,
it’s the World Series Mode that is the real meat and potatoes. There are 16
teams to choose from, 8 United
States teams, though they’re divided by
region instead of state, and 8 International teams, some of which are also
representing regions of the world as opposed to countries. If you don’t want to
play as any of the 16, you’re given the option of creating your own. You’ll be
able to select a logo, uniform colours, and name of your team. However instead
of selecting individual players to form your roster, you’ll be asked to select
the entire roster of an existing team. If you aren’t satisfied with these 9
players, the game allows you to make changes to the name, appearance and make
minor modifications to their play styles which will determine their skills.

Once you’ve selected a team, the World Series moves to a round-robin
stage where you’ll play each of the 3 teams in your group. From there the top 2
teams move on to the elimination stage of the tournament. From game 1 to the
finals, you’ll play a total of 6 games. Playing the games though, can be a
little frustrating at first. Little League has broken the game down to 3 basic
aspects, Hitting, Pitching, and Fielding. Of the 3 I found the pitching to be
the easiest to learn and the most fun as it is divided into a 3 step process.
The first is to select the pitch type. There are 4 to choose from, Fastball,
Change-up, Curveball, and Slider. From there you need to aim where in the
strike zone you’re going to deliver the ball. Finally an arrow will appear next
to your pitcher that you must retrace with the stylus. The accuracy and speed
of your pitch is determined by how quickly and how well you trace the arrow.
Overall the pitching system is fairly fluid and works well.

Fielding and Hitting can be a bit of a different story though. The
fielding takes a few games to get used to. When your players field the ball,
you need to draw a line outwards from that player to determine which base you
want to throw to. A line to the right will throw to first base, a line upwards
throws to second, and so forth. It’s a little weird and can sometimes go
against your natural instincts of what motions to make with the stylus, but
over time it’s something you can get used to. Similarly, the hitting can be
frustrating as well. When you’re in the batter’s box, you’ll use the stylus to
draw a line from your batter across the strike zone. Here the game was
inconsistent in reading my movements and there are a number of times when I
would press down to start my motion, but the game would read me as being on the
border of the strike zone and thus force my batter to bunt. Other times the
batters wouldn’t move at all. When I would actually succeed at getting my
batter to swing, I found the timing of the motion to be a little off as well.
The split second between reading my stylus and the batter actually swinging can
often mean the difference between a hit and a strike.

Still it’s hard to stay very angry with the game. The cartoony art style
is fun and the sounds and music are pleasant. Both create a great atmosphere
that takes some of the seriousness out of it and reminds you that you’re
playing a game so have fun. The menus also maintain the same feeling as the rest
of the presentation as they are organized and easy to navigate through.

Ultimately Little League World Series Baseball 2008 succeeds in most of
what it set out to do. It takes away a lot of the complication that is
associated with more realistic baseball games and keeps things fun and easy to
play. The controls, specifically towards batting, can be frustrating and
inconsistent but it’s not something that completely hinders your ability to win
games. Throw in the skill challenges and baseball pins awarded for specific
accomplishments and you’ll find there’s a surprising amount of depth here.


Overall Score:

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