The centerfielder we’ve created in The Bigs’ Rookie Challenge mode is not only grossly overweight, but he also sports the most horrific aviator sunglasses and mutton chop sideburn combination known to man. But the kid has undeniable talent, with blazing speed and a prowess for launching home runs that’s earned him the nickname “Dr. Bleachers.”
The Bigs is the exact opposite of our creation: beautiful to look at, but an on-field performance that leaves a bit to be desired. The biggest offender is the fact that the game’s arcade style elements just don’t make things very interesting. It starts with the Big Play feature, a points-based gauge that you build up through getting hits, catches, and just generally doing things right on the field. When it’s maxed out, you can hit an all but guaranteed home run as a batter – known as a “Power Blast,” which sounds suspiciously like a flavor of Gatorade – or collect an equally likely strikeout with a pitcher that’ll sap the other player’s Big Play meter.
The problem is that home runs happen so frequently over the course of normal play that being able to engage the Big Play to hit one automatically is almost completely redundant. The ability to throw a guaranteed strikeout is even less useful considering the simplicity of the pitching interface, though it is nice that they let you steal your opponent’s points.
The other big selling point is a Turbo system that’s fueled by throwing strikes or, when at bat, taking balls. This one grants you a temporary, superhuman boost in your players’ abilities for the duration of one play. To give you an idea, you might stretch a single into a double with David Ortiz despite his glacial speed, throw out a runner with the noodle-armed Johnny Damon, or even chase down a fly ball with the withered husk of Barry Bonds. It’s a bit more useful than the Big Play, providing a few exciting moments, but you don’t get to use it often enough to really affect the way you play the game.