PureSim Baseball 4 brings some sweeping new features to the series. The most striking is the new Tru-Life Transactions mode in which during season replays, the game will simulate the exact same circumstances of the season, including trades, promotions, demotions, injuries and whatever roster changes occurred in that season. Even more delightful to historical simmers is that the game faithfully recreates every season from the present all the way back to 1920. If you’re a Yankee fan, you can see if you could out-manage Billy Martin in the 1985 season and try to win the AL East from Toronto, dealing with what Martin did that season, for instance. This is something that the Diamond Mind series had been doing for years, but PureSim features far more flexibility, so gamers can do several game types.
The other part of the game that has gotten a heavy overhaul in AI. The trade AI has been totally rebuilt, and a new feature called “TRU-Emotion” has been included. For example, if a player keeps trying to trade for a particular player unsuccessfully, the AI will get impatient and pull the player from the trading block. The AI will also remember past dealings with the player, and react accordingly. There is also a new difficulty slider for trade AI which will make trades easier or harder, depending on the player’s desire.
One of the features that PureSim has that other baseball sims like Out of the Park Baseball lacks is the personal touch. The periodical almanacs are always a fun analysis of what is going on in a league. Creating a fictional league is also a snap; the game makes league creation more involving with real-life city stats (as well as city creation).
PureSim has only two glaring issues. The first is the odd symmetry with Out of the Park Baseball when it comes to past league simulation and fictional league simulation. PureSim has the superior season replay engine – results are always believable and realistic – while OOTP suffers from some unbelievable results. On the other hand, when it comes to running fictional leagues, PureSim‘s AI and sim engine seems to get confused, with 21 year old blue chip prospects retiring out of the blue, and players having Barry Bonds-like career revivals.
The other is the interface, which remains barebones and unintuitive. Veterans of the series are by now used to it, and have acclimated, but it’ll take new users some time to understand. Fortunately, the in-game screen remains attractive and pleasant, which is where most players – especially if they’re replaying past seasons – will spend their time.
PureSim Baseball 4 remains one of the premiere baseball sims on the market, and as it stands, it’s the game of choice for those baseball fans who want to play historical seasons and test their mettle on how they would manage real-life teams of the past. For other modes, the game is still a work in progress, but not so broken that the modes won’t be fun. Check out the demo from the official site here to see if this game strikes the right chord.
Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo and GameStooge.com and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews and up to date gaming industry news and rumors.