Unlike the player, Derek Jeter Real Baseball iPhone app is not a Hall-of-Famer

Oct 26, 2009
Games

Two things have stood out in each of Gameloft’s sports game iPhone app releases so far this year: The company really knows what they’re doing when it comes to graphics, and they always seem to release their games before competitors. Graphically, Derek Jeter Real Baseball is just what you’d expect from Gameloft. The players look […]

Two things have stood out in each of Gameloft’s sports game iPhone app releases so far this year: The company really knows what they’re doing when it comes to graphics, and they always seem to release their games before competitors.

Graphically, Derek Jeter Real Baseball is just what you’d expect from Gameloft. The players look great and the game flows well. You could argue that the Baseball Superstars and Power Pros cartoon-style graphics translate better to the iPhone, but as far as realism, Real Baseball absolutely has them beat.

While the game is not the first baseball simulation for the iPhone — MLB World Series 2009 was released in April — there is still a serious lack of options when it comes to simulation games for the sport. Once again, Gameloft beat other video game companies to the iPhone punch.

Unfortunately, the company also seems to be making the same mistakes. Real Baseball reminds me a lot of the company’s football release, NFL 2010. While both games are great to look at, they also feel rushed and the control schemes leave quite a bit to be desired.

Pitching in the game is fun, though not at all unique. You tilt the iPhone to determine location, and then you use accelerometers to determine speed and accuracy. You’ve probably seen this system before, but it works.

I’m not at all a fan of the batting, though. Pitchers routinely top 100 mph, meaning you’re often just swinging as quickly as possible. There are two types of batting modes, one where you tap the screen and one in which you slide, but neither make for a fun gaming experience.

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Like NFL 2010, the computer AI also makes suspect decisions. Furthermore, the game is not MLB-licensed, so Derek Jeter plays for the New York 26ers. All told, it’s a baseball simulation in the loosest sense of the term.

The backstop and foul ground barriers are simply outfield walls, and it looks very unnatural. Things like this are what make it seem like Gameloft was more concerned with getting this game out while the MLB playoffs were going on than with providing a complete and polished game.

In fairness to the company, they have provided meaningful updates to their other games in a timely fashion. If you’re absolutely dying for a baseball sim and you don’t mind playing with fake players and teams, then Derek Jeter Real Basball is passable.

But Baseball Superstars and Power Pros are both more fun to play, and deeper games overall. In the end, those things are more important than just having a great looking game.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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