Arc Style: Baseball 3D Review
Posted by Lee Meyer
Take me out to a real ball game...
Arc System Works' latest casual sports title, Arc Style: Baseball 3D, contains the same extensive customisation options of Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D, but it also retains the sluggish, repetitive gameplay and adds some new issues to boot. There is fun to be had in the local multiplayer and even the single player Exhibition mode, but the Tournament mode moves slowly and may in fact be partially broken, which will likely tempt players to pitch their 3DS units right out the window.
Arc Style: Baseball 3D has two main modes: Tournament and Exhibition. In Tournament mode, players pick a team and compete against the others, which are computer-controlled; exhibition allows players to jump in for a quick game and compete in multiplayer matches. The games play out like conventional baseball games — one team hits, the other is on the field. Players toggle the strength of their swing with the shoulder buttons and align it with the ball using the circle pad as it approaches; aligning the bat and the ball perfectly results in a perfect swing, and most of the AI-controlled players will fumble trying to catch it. The type of swing changes the difficulty, as well — a regular hit will give players a good chance at hitting, but using a slam makes lining up the bat and the ball trickier. Some characters have special abilities, as well, such as a "max strength" swing that, if successful, can result in a home run. While on the field, characters can be selected to run bases with the D-pad and X button.
Pitching controls similarly to batting. With the shoulder buttons, players choose the type of throw — regular, fast ball, slow ball, curve — and choose where to aim the ball with the circle pad. The batter is allowed four balls and three strikes, and most will have no trouble striking out the other teams. When the batter hits the ball, players will be prompted to hit A to catch the ball and throw it if necessary. The computer seems to enjoy running bases, which adds a bit of challenge to the experience.
Exhibition mode plays exactly the same as Tournament, but it doesn't take nearly as long to get through. Multiplayer adds some colour and fun, meanwhile, and the Download Play option is appreciated and convenient. Like other Arc Style games, there are tons of ways to customise the experience, with custom teams, uniforms, players and more; gamers who enjoy this level of customisation will no doubt have a longer, better experience with Arc Style: Baseball 3D than those who just want a quick, fun baseball game.
The visuals are satisfactory and maintain the super-deformed, cutesy look of previous Arc Style titles. The 3D effect doesn't really make much of a difference, but it isn't distracting. The music is very irritating, though, and hearing the same upbeat song over and over again along with the repetitive sounds of the audience will make many turn down their volume.
All of these elements make for an adequate eShop title, but we encountered a possible exploit early on that effectively breaks the Tournament mode. In our first two games, we found ourselves getting upwards of 15 runs in the first inning; after striking out the team the next round, we received a "Game Set" message, informing us that we'd won. At first, we thought that each game only consisted of one or two rounds per team, but for the rest of the tournament we played the standard 9 innings. We searched the manual and couldn't find any information on why the game was set after the first inning, leading us to believe that our high scores led to a bug that skipped the remaining innings. While the game doesn't literally "break" — you'll be able to keep playing, nothing bad will happen to the game file — it feels cheap and will confuse players who encounter the short games early on.
Even without the confounding Tournament scoring issue, Arc Style: Baseball 3D is an average eShop title that's skippable to all except the most die-hard baseball fans. The multiplayer and customisation options extend the game's life, but the sluggish, repetitive gameplay and bland presentation will turn casual fans off. It's not bad, but there is very little noteworthy to recommend.