Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Utterly Raze a Franchise

I've always dreaded the day I'd have to do this. With all the complaints about the fall of Sonic/Mario/Street Fighter/Call of Duty/Pokemon/etc, and claims that Sonic's a dead franchise, people had to bring up franchises that fell harder than Sonic. Crash Bandicoot, Secret of Mana, Bomberman... But now, I think even those have had pleasant fates compared to what I think is the worst downfall in video game history: Backyard Baseball.

I've dreaded the day i'd have to bring up Backyard Baseball. This series went from a beautifully-sprited, functional baseball game full of life and color, to this mediocre sports league-shilling-fest with overpowered celebrity stars.

And then into this abomination:

For the sake of comparison, Sonic 06 got a 46% Metascore, whereas Backyard Baseball 09 got a 37. IGN gave Bomberman: Act Zero a 3, whereas Backyard Baseball 09 got a 1, a score close to such "luminaries" as Anubis II, Action Girlz Racing, Ninjabread Man, and Anubis II. For reviewers, Backyard Baseball was officially on level with Wii shovelware. Sonic was only on level with mediocre movie tie-ins, Backyard Baseball had it much worse. Emphasis on "had" because after one last installment in Sandlot Sluggers, meant to win back the old fans, the franchise died. Why was Sandlot Sluggers unable to save it?

Because it still had many of the same flaws as the other recent entries. The character models were very grotesque, and were teenagers and not children. Many old characters were still missing. There was still an overabundance of unneeded key commands. And it still played poorly.

With that, Backyard Baseball was completely run into the ground, through the core of the Earth, and all the way into the vacuum of space.

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