RBI Baseball 21 | Preview | Switch - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

RBI Baseball 21 | Preview | Switch

by Danny Bivens

The home run that the series needs?
The RBI series had a rocky start on the Switch, but with RBI 20, things started seemed to be turning around for the better. While it wasn’t perfect (fielding REALLY needs an upgrade), the newly introduced batting and pitching mechanics made the game enjoyable. So much so that I sunk nearly 120 hours into the game in the span of about a month and a half on top of my day job and family responsibilities. RBI 21 is coming to the Switch at some point in March 2021. Details are sparse, but it looks like MLB Advanced Media is looking to add more to the series that will hopefully make the 2021 iteration even better ever. Let’s take a look.

Reveal Trailer
The “reveal” trailer that was shown off in later January 2021 doesn’t show any gameplay whatsoever, but it is rather a highlight reel for the new cover athlete, the Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson. While additions to the game weren’t discussed at all here, the RBI Baseball website had some nuggets of information that should get baseball fans excited. 

To be fair, I really liked the music track that they used in this trailer. It really stood out from the typical kinds of music tracks that would be used in the final version of the game. Thinking that the series turned a new leaf on the music front, I was a little disappointed to find that the track used in the trailer is nowhere to be found in the game’s soundtrack as it is currently listed on the RBI Baseball official website. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can find it (Run it Up by Nbhd Nick) on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify or other streaming services. 

Play by Play Commentary
I’ve played every RBI title on the Nintendo Switch starting with the first title from 2017. One of the biggest things missing from the series, in my opinion, was the lack of some kind of commentary. Well, RBI 21 is remedying this by adding play-by-play commentary for the first time ever in the series. Who the team got is unknown at this point. The series has seen an obvious turn in trying to go for a more realistic approach over the years, and I think adding this feature will help them get there. It was certainly one of my most requested features!

Another first for the series, the ability to create your own player is also coming to RBI 21. Upon looking at the one and only screen shot available of this at the moment, gamers will be able to adjust the obvious things like names, height, weight and age, to other things like batting/throwing hands and their primary and secondary positions. Appearance, Rating and Gear are also things that you can tinker with, but we don’t have a full look at that just yet. 

Progressive Time of Day
While previous RBI titles gave players the options to play day or night games, RBI 21 is going to have what they call “Progressive Time of Day.” Just by looking at the screenshot, let’s say you have a game that starts at 5:00 p.m. The start of the game will see the park lit up with sunlight, however as you get further into the game, the sun will set and the night sky will come up. I’m interested to see this in action. 

Expectations for Visuals & Performance
You don’t have to be a genius to realize that the Switch is a bit underpowered when compared to Sony and Microsoft’s console offerings. Still, the game has always looked decent on Nintendo’s system, but not nearly as good as what was on the competition’s platforms. The framerate (which seems to be 60 fps on the big boys) is usually "over 30 fps" on the Nintendo Switch version and can occasionally stutter. Hopefully the team prioritizes a locked framerate over trying to pump minimal boosts for subpar results. 
While we don’t have screenshots or video specifically of the Switch version of the game (and we likely won’t see it running on Nintendo’s system until the game actually releases), don’t expect to be blown away here. The engine appears really similar to RBI 20, which is not entirely a bad thing at all in my opinion. A few tweaks could and should be made but it looks like it’s the final build of the game is going to look very similar. Hopefully some of the cutscene performance issues that have plagued the series for the past few years can get ironed out. At any rate, we likely won't see Switch specific footage of the game until it's officially released. 

There are still a lot of unknowns with RBI 21, however with it (apparently) building off of the foundation of RBI 20, I think this could be another solid entry into the series. It’s been interesting to see the transformation from a purely arcade-like title, visuals and all, to something that more akin to a light version of simulation baseball. But let’s turn things over to you. What do you think about RBI 21? Are you looking forward to trying out the game? What do you think of pervious installments in the series. Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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