Midway has really re-invented itself of late with their releases in 2004. Earlier in the summer we gave an Editor’s Choice award to their over-the-top basketball game, NBA Ballers. This time around, they’ve taken the very popular Slugfest franchise and taken the same approach with over-the-top moves, incredible pitches, wild ball physics, and best of all the famous fantasy engine of the very popular game, Baseball Mogul. Mashing these features all together produced one of the more interesting and wild baseball titles ever produced in MLB Slugfest Loaded.
I can honestly say I’ve not only never seen a baseball game like MLB Slugfest Loaded, I’ve never even dreamed it. Heck, I don’t think people doing illegal drugs could be this creative … I really have to hand it to Midway, this is easily the most original and over-the-top spin put on a MLB licensed video game in history. The graphics are solid, but the wild ridiculous pitches that literally move around like angry bumblebees and others that come in like a whirling vortex of death bring a new element to the game that makes it a lot of fun in 2 player mode with a friend.
Many say that baseball games aren’t too exciting and get repetitive very quickly because baseball in itself isn’t an action oriented game. This title, however, easily takes care of that issue through use of players going “on fire” (illustrated literally in the game) when they get hot, and other wild features (like beating up a baserunning with a tough forearm) bring a nice element that make the gameplay more fun that traditional baseball allows it to be. Pitching controls are solid, as are the hitting controls, and managing your lineup is a pretty pain-free experience. The gameplay of MLB Slugfest Loaded is best shared with a friend in-house, as the over-the-top features force you to laugh, especially when you strike your buddy out with a wild Euphus pitch that dives in from 30 feet.
Although the screenshots do little justice to the title, the graphics of the game aren’t all that bad and the explosions and “special effects” of this version of America’s Pastime are fairly impressive. The motion of the players in the field is very smooth and realistic, and Midway seems to have most MLB players’ batting stance down with amazing accuracy.
There’s no doubt that the sound effects in the game are a big part of the entire production here … the explosions, the players “crackling” when on fire, and the exploding scoreboard will send your sound system sizzling. There’s a nice original soundtrack of music in the game that isn’t all that bad, and on the whole, Midway has done a great job with the audio effects in the game.
The fact the game is powered “on the back end” for the whole fantasy features by the Baseball Mogul software, there’s a nice longevity factor with the game. You’ll find yourself dying to build destiny teams around your favorite players (Khalil Greene, Padres!) and take them to the World Series over and over again. The fact that the game is supported on both the XBox and PS2 side with on-line gaming bring a very nice longevity factor to the table, so you know this isn’t a “flavor of the week” type of game that will grow stale shortly after purchase.
MLB Slugfest Loaded is a very fun and exciting baseball title for console game systems that brings an exciting spin on a sports title that usually is known for growing stale rather quickly. I found myself having the most fun with the game when playing head-to-head with a local buddy and using the crazy features against him to win the game. The other facet of the game I really enjoyed was the fantasy side of things and being able to build and sim through seasons as I built my team.
The graphics of the game get a solid score, and the sound gets a great score, because I really enjoyed the sound effects that went along with the great special effects for the crazy things that happen in the game. The gameplay gets a decent score as well, as the game is fun, it’s very “baseball” in the way you control runners, fielders, pitchers, and when you hit for the fences. The game has a great longevity factor due to the heavy on-line support for on-line tournaments and matches, as well as the fun fantasy baseball side to the game that’s built in.
Overall, this is easily the most original baseball title I’ve ever seen. The game blends together well if you are tired of the “ultra realistic” baseball games that typically stale themselves in a few weeks, as the over-the-top features that Midway games are known for allow the game to be brought out for get-togethers and parties. MLB Slugfest Loaded is a fun title, and recommended if you are looking for something new in the world of baseball games.