The baseball genre of sports games has always been lacking on the Xbox One, with 2015's Super Mega Baseball being the last quality title. Since then, we've been treated with the R.B.I. series, which universally has disappointed due to the numerous problems the games have. However, with R.B.I. Baseball 18, there was hope that the developers would finally find the formula for success.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case.
Like its predecessors, R.B.I. Baseball 18 is riddled with issues. It's fun for a short time, but once the problems start to show, it's hard to find a reason to ever turn the game on again.
Gameplay: Strikeout is an understatement
R.B.I. Baseball 2018 offers you a nice variety of ways to hit the field with your favorite players: Exhibition lets you quickly start a game; Franchise Mode lets you buy, sell and trade players for a customized experience over a virtual season of baseball; Home Run Derby gives you the opportunity to smash countless balls over the fences; and Multiplayer pits you against another player. Pair this variety with a roster that constantly updates based on the real life Major League Baseball (MLB) player listings, and you've got a recipe for success.
Sadly, success is the polar opposite of what this game achieves because everything about the gameplay is extremely one-dimensional and flat. For example, you can only throw one type of pitch, and all you can do is alter the speed at which you throw it. Hitting is similarly mundane; you're limited to either swinging or bunting, with no way to swing at different speeds or strengths as a real player would.
The lack of any gameplay depth is what hurts R.B.I. Baseball 18 more than anything else. It's true that it's intentionally simple because of its arcade nature, but even arcade games offer something to shake things up.
Presentation and performance: We've entered foul territory
R.B.I. Baseball 18's faults don't stop with the gameplay. The game also runs below average, with framerate drops being more frequent then they should be. The graphics aren't anything to rave about, and while they're not bad, there's certainly no reason why the Xbox One wouldn't be able to handle this game.
But wait, there's more: a large handful of the controls don't even work. Trying to choose a player to throw to when fielding feels like a roll of the dice, and subbing in a pinch-hitter or a new pitcher is impossible.
Animations are also very stiff and jittery, and several of the models for the players don't look different in any way aside from skin color. There's no broadcaster speaking over the gameplay like with other sports games, and the crowd is strangely quiet at times when it shouldn't be, such as when a big play is made. Overall, the title lacks competency, both in technical design and attention to detail.
R.B.I. Baseball 18 for Xbox One conclusion
Despite a nice variety of game modes, decent graphics, and a clever roster system, R.B.I. Baseball 18 continues the franchise's tradition of not making the cut.
- Good gameplay mode variety.
- Decent graphics.
- Poor controls.
- Mundane gameplay.
- Below-average performance.
- Low attention to detail.
R.B.I. Baseball 18 is available on Xbox One now for a (ridiculous) $29.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.