Arcade Archives VS Baseball | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, June 19, 2020

Arcade Archives VS Baseball | Review | Switch

by Danny Bivens

Better than NES/Famicom Baseball?
The Arcade Archives series has more games than anyone would ever need to have on their platform of choice. Still, there must be people out there who are interested because the games keep on coming. For Nintendo fans, the exclusive VS series has seen some interesting titles come to the Switch that were somewhat lost to time. This time around, Hamster and Nintendo have teamed up to bring the arcade version of the classic baseball with VS Baseball to the platform. Why now? Well the timing is perfect considering that the release date for the game, June 19, coincides with the delayed start of the Nippon Pro Baseball 2020 season (let’s go Saitama Seibu Lions!). The question you are probably asking yourself - is this game worth throwing money at if you already have Baseball via Nintendo Switch Online?

VS Baseball, like its NES counterpart, has six teams to choose from - all representing the teams that are in Japan Pro Baseball’s Central League. “C” are the Hiroshima Carp, “D” are the Chunichi Dragons, “G” are the Yomiuri Giants, “S” are the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, “T” are the Hanshin Tigers and “W” are the now defunct Yokohama Taiyo Whales (now known as the Yokohama DeNA Baystars. No licenses were used at the time for the game, so the overall package is very basic.
To start things off, I have never really been a fan of Nintendo’s Baseball on the NES/Famicom. I appreciate what the game did for the baseball genre and it might have been great for its time. However, I found the general speed of the game to be too slow. If you want to hear some more thoughts about that game, be sure to check out our Famicom Online series where my British buddy James and podcast co-host give the game a go. Anyway, with the VS version, the game still remains really similar to what was on home consoles. Batting has you controlling the ball players in the batters box with the ability to swing. It’s all about timing - make contact with the ball with the barrel of the bat and you’ll have a better chance at getting more distance with your hits.

Defense is a little bit different here. The perspective is switched to behind second base. A variety of pitches can be chosen with the D-pad. Up is fast and straight, left is curve, right is shoot and down is a slow ball. After pressing A, you can, of course, still control the ball after the pitch for additional movement. You can also pick off runners here, too. The auto fielding is painful. I honestly didn’t know what the CPU is doing some of the time as they let the ball rolls past them to let in more runs. It can be frustrating.
With this being an arcade game, a point system is put into place to keep gamers pumping in coins. By default, you start with 250 points. The number goes down anytime the ball is moving. If you allow a walk, stolen base, hit a batter or let in any runs, 30 points will be lost. Of course, if any you are able to score runs yourself or do any of the above, you net some points. I get why it’s there, but it can kind of take you out of the game. On the other hand, since you don’t have to pump any coins into the game, it’s not a huge deal.

While I didn’t get a chance to play the game in two player mode, I did take the High Score and Caravan Mode for a spin. For a recap, High Score Mode is where you try to get the highest score without using saves. In VS Baseball, you’re trying to get as many runs as you can before your points run down to zero. In my opinion, Caravan Mode is a little bit better for this game. You have five minutes to, again, score as many points as you can. Since I got two runs, I managed to rank in tying for number 27 in the world. Wow.
In visuals and audio, VS Baseball is a bit better than its NES counterpart. Sprites are bigger and there are more sounds that are on offer. Voice samples are here with umpires calling strikes, balls, outs and fouls. Beeps and boops are used for hits and throws and get the job done. The game is a pretty silent affair, with music coming into play on the title screen, before games and when you hit home runs. For a game from 1984, it’s not bad on that front. As with other Arcade Archive games from Hamster, you have an assortment of options for filters, interrupt save data, and a few other things at your disposal.

There are already a number of good baseball titles on the Switch and even though this game has a pedigree for helping to create the modern baseball game, it’s probably best to be avoided. Heck, if you want to access the online portion of the game, you’ll have to be a subscriber to Nintendo Switch Online and at that point, you might as well just stick to NES/Famicom Baseball. VS Baseball is only recommended for the curious gamer who wants to see what this arcade version has to offer. For everyone else, it’s probably best to pass this one up.

Final Score: 4.0

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