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MLB SlugFest 20-04 Package Art

MLB SlugFest 20-04

Midway’s second installment of the SlugFest series is currently available, but really how much different is it from the first, installment, MLB SlugFest 20-03? Well, it may still hold all of the gameplay aspects that made the original title a fun, arcade baseball title but MLB SlugFest 20-04 offers a few additions to bring to the plate. This title is an exaggerated take on baseball and uses the same simple play mechanics as past Midway sports titles such as NFL Blitz and NBA Showtime. SlugFest is a fairly different take on baseball, however, as its main game takes place over seven innings and adds some violence in for a kick. These additions to the sport can be taken off, though, which actually leaves a fairly decent baseball title under the thin layer of insanity.


The look of this installment is a bit better than what was introduced in 20-03. Character models look genuinely authentic and animate extremely smoothly thanks to the uber-cool motion capturing Midway used. Player-specific stances and animations were added in this installment, all of which look awesome and add a bit of excitement for fans. The interface looks great and really looks like it’s straight out of the Fox Sports Network. The scoreboard is informative enough to decrease any confusion you may have.


Overall, this game sounds great. The overly exaggerated sound effects are spot on for cracking the ball against the wooden, flaming bat-of-doom, sliding in for a stolen base, or just the usual simple sounds such as catching a ball or the ambient crowd effects. The best part of the sound, however, has to go to the commentary. The play-by-play that these two guys bring to the game is where hilarity ensues. While it’s not the greatest piece of comedy ever conceived in a videogame, it’ll keep you entertained, even during loading screens.


MLB SlugFest 20-04 is an excellent game with plenty of its own merits, even though it isn’t that much different from its predecessor on the surface. The controls are your usual pick-up-and-play simplicity, which is great for newcomers and veterans alike. Swinging a bat is as easy as pressing a button. There aren’t any particular angular differences that you have to keep in mind, just swing that wooden pole in front of the ball and make it sail as far as you can. Pitching has been changed a bit, however, as you now have a strength meter for every pitch. Once you throw a rock, the meter drains and once it’s empty, the ball will just slide over the home plate and easily become crowd fodder as it sails over the wall.

One of Midway’s charms in their sports titles is the ability to catch on fire when that player has been doing extremely well throughout the game. Once a player is on fire, their stats become superhuman and they’ll be able to perform unlimited turbo. In 20-04, the pitchers can now burst into flames while performing extraordinarily on the mound. There are also new modes in this installment such as Home Run Derby, Create Your Own Team, and brand new fantasy players/stadiums. Hell, even the cheat codes are worth exploring. Who doesn’t want to have a team filled with Sub-Zeros playing against Scorpions while using Sword Bats?


Right off the bat (no pun intended), this game is easily recommended for multiplayer over such “realistic” baseball titles as All Star Baseball 2004. Sure, the latter is an excellent game, but MLB SlugFest 20-04 features a lot of fun, challenging gameplay that’ll keep you talking so much smack and throwing controllers at your friends, it’s not even funny. Even the Home Run Derby mode can be played by up to eight alternating players.


While those of you who’ve already purchased last year’s installment, you may want to rent MLB SlugFest 20-04 to make sure the additions are worth another purchase. Aside from that, any fan of baseball should check this one out, but don’t expect the world’s best sports simulator. You won’t find that here or anywhere else for that matter. If you’re the least bit curious, check it out. You may just find yourself back in the baseball gaming track again.

final score 8.2/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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