All-Star Baseball 2002

Graphics - This is where the game really doesn't compare to any other baseball game that I've seen. It doesn't have the short and fat players that EA Sports always has. The movement of the players is very smooth either when they throw or make diving catches. The stadiums look like exact replicas of the real stadiums.

Grade: A+

Pitching - Any pitcher can have up to 6 pitches and it doesn't limit you to fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. There's the 2 seam fastball, 4 seam fastball, slurve, knuckle, splitter, cutter and forkball just to name a few. You can make pickoff attempts during the windup as well. There's also the possibility of wild pitches, balks and passed balls.

Grade: B+

Batting - From Jim Leyritz to Sean Casey to A-Rod, batting stances look exactly like the real players. Learning how to hit in the game is hard at first so I recommend starting it on rookie level. There's a power swing and a regular swing. There's also a sacrifice bunt or bunting for a base hit. You have the option of guessing the pitch that is going to be thrown to you before the opposing pitcher throws it. If you guess right you have a much better chance to get a hit. If you guess wrong though, your chances of getting a hit are smaller.

Grade: B

Fielding - This is where the game comes apart. Just put the defense on CPU because the camera angles when the other team hits the ball makes it impossible to tell where you are and where the ball is going. Even on CPU the players tend to break late for balls. You can set everyone on automatic defense or just certain players. Also, players sometimes tend to dive and catch a ball that another player is set to catch normally. I guess everyone wants to be on SportsCenter. The double plays always look nice and high throws (not errors) from second base to first happen frequently when there's a guy trying to take out the double play.

Grade: C

Baserunning - This is also where the game comes apart. Bad AI for baserunning and it's very hard to steal a base. The CPU will hit a ball to the gap with no fielder near it and they'll stop at first base most of the time. The only way I've found to steal bases is when the catcher makes a bad throw.

Grade: C

Extras - There's lineups for lefty/righty matchups and also AL/NL matchups. Pitchers are sorted by starters, long relievers, middle relievers and closers. There's only a 5 man rotation so you can't change it to 4 during the playoffs. There is no instant replay. There is an automatic replay that plays after every good defensive play and every important hit. There's also no movie in the beginning of the game and the music during the menus is annoying. At the ballpark you hear the basic stuff you hear at ballparks including people still clapping along after the song is over.

Grade: C+

Commentators - They don't say anything special and they could use more emotion when they talk. Saying the distance of every home run is a nice touch and the PA announcer does a good job.

Grade: B

Overall - Not a bad game. Could use instant replay though. Missing the movie at the beginning isn't that bad considering you'll probably watch it once and can't wait to go passed it every other time you play the game. The rosters were updated nicely, too.

Overall Grade: B