eBaseball Professional Yakyū Spirits 2021: Grand Slam | Preview | Switch - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Sunday, March 7, 2021

eBaseball Professional Yakyū Spirits 2021: Grand Slam | Preview | Switch

by Danny Bivens

Realistic Japanese professional baseball returns to a Nintendo platform after a long hiatus.
The Professional Yakyū (Baseball) Spirits series is a spin off of the the Power Pro Baseball series and has been around since 2004. Starting off originally on the PlayStation 2, Pro Baseball Spirits has seen releases on PlayStation 3, PSP, 3DS, Vita and mobile. While its certainly been awhile since baseball fans have had a chance to play some realistic Japanese baseball on a Nintendo platform (Pro Yakyū Spirits 2011 was the one and only title to appear on 3DS), Konami is finally bringing the series back to Nintendo fans with eBaseball Professional Yakyū Spirits 2021: Grand Slam in the summer of 2021. We are here to let you know everything that you can expect from this Switch baseball release. 

eBaseball Professional Yakyū Spirits 2021 was unveiled at the February 2021 Japanese Nintendo Direct. Most Switch owners in Japan (and the west, too) have been deprived of realistic licensed sim baseball. I, for one, was excited to see the series make the jump to Nintendo’s platform. I’m not super familiar with the series as a whole, however I did manage to play quite a bit of Spirits 2019 on the PS4 and Vita and had an awesome time with it. If you want to read more about that, I suggest checking out my review. From here, though, let’s take a look at what we can expect from the Switch version of Spirits 2021. 

Several modes were shown off during the Nintendo Direct presentation. If the number of modes in the previous title are any indication, I expect there to me more by the time the game comes out in summer 2021. What we have confirmed as of right now are the following:
Pennant Race
This is basically a standard season/franchise mode. Here, you’ll take control of your team of choice over multiple seasons (previous titles let players go up to 30 seasons) in an effort to become the top team in Japan. Outside of standard games of baseball, you can also perform trades, free agent pick ups and take a look at tons of stats as well. 

Star Player
Taking control of one player exclusively, you play through not only games of baseball as THAT particular player, you also go through a variety of other activities. Off the field, you can work on things in your private life and even have relationships and get married. 

Grand Prix
It’s your goal to scout superstars to build the team of your dreams taking them through a variety of games and tournaments. The more you play, the more in game items you can receive to strengthen your players and managers. 
Koshien Spirits
Returning again for the 2021 iteration of Baseball Spirits, this mode puts you in the role of a high school student as you try to help your team get to the national high school baseball tournament known as Koshien. If your player becomes a professional in this mode, they can be used in other modes of the game. 

Four Player Support
A first for the series, Spirits 2021 on the Switch offers mutliplayer support for up to four players. Gamers will be able to compete in Two on Two games or take it to the computer as a team of four. Even though this is a first for Spirits, its brother, Konami’s other baseball games, Power Pro Baseball, also has four players support on the Switch. 

Other Mentioned Modes
More than ten modes are included in in Pro Yakyū Spirits 2021, including online play and “Live Scenario.” If you don’t know about Live Scenario, this mode puts you in clutch situations of real games throughout the baseball season. You can take control of either team and try to turn the tide of the game in your favor or hold on to a lead. It’s not new - it was included in Pro Yakyū Spirits 2019 and Power Pro Baseball 2020 and is a ton of fun. 

From what we’ve seen of the game so far and given the power of the Switch, it’s safe to say that this version of the game is not going to rival what was seen on the PS4 back in 2019. It seems to me that this lies somewhere between the PS4 and Vita versions that were released back then - and I see that as a good thing. Even on the Vita, Pro Yakyū Spirits was a pretty decent looking game even if it was a bit blurry with somewhat stiff animations. In terms of sports games on the Switch, though, this game is likely going to be one of the best looking titles that the platform has to offer. [Vita footage and PS4 footage label]

Two Year Release Cycle
I’ve harped on this in several of my sports videos since 2020 and I’ll harp on it some more here. Say what you will about Konami and their handling of their big name IP over the years, but when it comes to sports games, they do things right. The previous Spirits title, Spirits 2019, saw two years of support from Konami with regular roster updates and patches. Not only that, but Power Pro Baseball 2020 (you can check out more about that game here) is getting the same treatment from the company on the Switch (and PS4) as well. Deciding to move away from the yearly cash grab that most sports game publishers implement every year, this gives Konami time to work more on the next version of the game. This allows them to (hopefully) come up with new features and modes that everyone can enjoy as opposed to super minimal updates from year to year. It’s great for the consumer at the same time as they can get some pretty good value for their money with the game lasting for two seasons. Konami hasn’t specially said that this version of the game is getting the same treatment, but I think it’s very likely that it will. 
Pro Yakyū Spirits 2021 looks to be shaping up pretty nicely on the Switch. it seems right now that Nintendo’s hybrid platform will be the ONLY home for the series this year, and it kind of makes sense. Over the years, it has been pretty common to see many Japanese developers prefer to work on less powerful hardware as it likely cuts the costs of producing a game with mandatory 4K support and/or any other bells and whistles that Sony and Microsoft expect out of titles on their platforms. It’s a pity that we can’t see what a next gen version of Japanese baseball looks like at the moment, however Konami is definitely going where the money is (and it’s not the Vita, as they seemed to have misfired on back in 2019). But let’s turn things over to you. What do you think of what was shown off of Pro Yakyū Spirits 2021 on the Switch? Are you planning on picking it up? Have you played any games in the series before? Be sure to sound off in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you, and please look forward to more coverage of the game as we get closer to its release.

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