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Midway has done an excellent job with this title. It is a lot of fun to play, and even fun to watch. The animation is exceptional and the game looks amazing.
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Overall, though, Midway Sports has definitely hit a home run with their latest version of Slugfest. With zany characters, extreme action, and a solid baseball background, this is the definite break that casual fans of the sport can totally root for. Plus, the easy to learn gameplay and nature of onscreen action could make this a buddy game favorite, most especially with large groups of friends. Grab a mitt, a bat and some cleats, because you should definitely get down and dirty with Slugfest 20-04.
However, it's no secret that the Xbox looks the best of the bunch. The PS2 shows a little bit of slowdown during big animations combined with special visual effects (fire, fancy text), and the GameCube's lag looked a bit worse; things move in slow-motion when a runner tries to steal second. Neither problem popped up on the Xbox.
On its own merits, Slugfest is a fine game of baseball on all three platforms, and any baseball fan who hasn't played it yet should definitely check it out, keeping in mind that Slugfest doesn't take itself seriously. However, MLB Slugfest 2004's impact is diminished a bit by the fact that last year's game is still relatively recent history. A few more additions, like online play, would have definitely helped tip the scales. Owners of last year's game should probably rent this one to see if the additions are meaningful enough to warrant a second purchase.
As stated earlier, Slugfest will always be a better two-player experience. The single player still does not have the depth of AI to contend with some of the more sim-style titles on the market. The addition of Create-a-Team is a noble idea, but it would have needed better implementation to be a real draw. That's not to say there isn't a place for this game in your library. It's hollerin' fun if you have a group of people gathered, and can be cool solo if you stick to the Challenge Mode.
Although all but interchangeable with its GameCube and PlayStation 2 brethren, MLB SlugFest 20-04 remains a winner on all platforms. Those who purchase the Xbox version are in for a slight visual boost, but the same solid (if limited) play experience. Even so, few hobbyists would complain, considering that across the board, while audiences aren't getting a massive retooling of the series, they are receiving a needed upgrade to an already formidable franchise. As off-the-wall arcade sports spoofs go, this is still king of the hill ... or is that mound?