Saturday, July 24, 2010

Power League II

Hudson Soft

The original Power League is the only one that made it to the US (under the moniker World Class Baseball), but Hudson kept the series going for a number of years in Japan. The first sequel that came down the chute was no minor upgrade. PL2 addressed nearly every complaint that players had about its already enjoyable predecessor and ended up an excellent game of baseball in its own right, one that WCB fans should be sure to check out.

The graphics are much improved, lending the game a more realistic look, especially in the overhead-view field-action parts; bid adieu to the squat little fellows who waddled around the diamond in the first game.

Results of a batter's previous plate appearances (during a particular game) are displayed as he steps into the box. Pitch counts are also shown, though you needn't pay much attention to them, as this is an easy arcade-style affair that encourages a free-swinging approach by all... which fans of WCB are likely to appreciate.

Fielders have much better arms in this episode, so there aren't nearly as many infield hits. This may not sound all that significant, but it was an important tweak to the gameplay; the abundance of slow-rolling singles is one of the original title's goofiest faults.

The revamped post-game show takes another look at the day's home runs. The game stays an extra moment with the pitcher-batter screen during monstrous flies, presenting a dramatic view of the ball heading out of the park.

If you win your league and crush the champion of the other in Pennant Mode, you'll get to square off with the legendary HuBees ballclub.

The only thing that's really disappointing is that PL2 is a little blander than the original, with a dull gray stadium and no little flag-waving guys celebrating home runs.

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