High Heat Baseball 2004 for XBOX
The High Heat Baseball franchise continues with this multi-platform release, which features the same core gameplay as found in the critically acclaimed High Heat Major League Baseball 2003 but with a number of new enhancements. The visual presentation has been given a makeover with added motion-capture animation in the field to allow for smoother throws and realistic catches. Stadiums have also been redesigned to better reflect their real-life counterparts, and the polygon count for individual players has been increased. Continuing the graphic enhancements are new menu screens that present information and statistical data in a series of dynamic displays designed to catch the eye. Existing features from previous games, such as the ability to tweak nearly every facet of gameplay using slider bars, are present as well.
One of the chief complaints of past console versions was the absence of a Franchise Mode, which has been addressed for this 2004 game. Now players can lead their team over multiple seasons while signing players, conducting trades (now supporting multiple players for one), and cutting underachieving performers. The salary cap is also present, in the form of budget points, meaning each superstar added to the roster will result in managers seeking cost-cutting value at other positions. Audio has also been reworked, with fans cheering at home games, hecklers slinging barbs at away parks, and near silence during late inning blowouts. Vendors will hawk their wares as the sections of the crowd cheer a good play in the field or boo a bad call at the plate. Commentary is once again handled by the two-man team of Dave O'Brien and Chuck Valenches.