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MLB Home Run Derby VR Review: A Home Run with Stadiums, But Strikes Out with Price

Platform reviewed: Meta Quest 2

Also on: Meta Quest 3, Steam VR, Rift

Price: $29.99

With the arrival of baseball season, my search for new baseball games begins. This year, I had the opportunity to dive into MLB Home Run Derby VR. What stands out is the inclusion of all thirty stadiums.  The game also offers an abundance of customization options, along with both season play and clubhouse play modes, the latter allowing for gameplay with friends. However, the price tag of thirty dollars is quite steep, and I remain unconvinced that the overall value justifies the expense.

The stadiums are the true gems of MLB Homerun Derby, each one crafted with an eye for detail. One aspect of MLB Home Run Derby I enjoy the most is the freedom to choose any of the stadiums right from the start. This led me to spend my initial hours simply exploring the iconic ballparks and immersing myself in the unique atmosphere of each one. While other games may offer more complexity in terms of gameplay, the ability to jump into a game and play in any stadium immediately is what sets MLB Home Run Derby apart and makes it my favorite feature of the game.

The gameplay is straightforward. I was allocated one minute and thirty seconds to hit as many home runs as possible. The real test lies in striking the balls with sufficient power and precision to not only clear the park but also to connect with one of the game's multipliers. Each park has several two-times and three-times multipliers alongside a singular five-time multiplier. To boost my score and move up the leaderboard, targeting these multipliers became essential. Another key to success was managing the ball's trajectory; I often watched anxiously as the ball soared too high, eating precious seconds off the clock since the next pitch would only be delivered once the ball had hit the ground. When the countdown concluded, a final pitch was offered - the golden ball. This last pitch held no unique value beyond the chance to secure one final home run.

One feature that I appreciate about the MLB Home Run Derby is the inclusion of leaderboards not only for the overall season but also for each individual park. Whether I was playing a solo game or a ranked or unranked game against real players or AI opponents, my score in these modes contributed to my season score. I am grateful that only the best score is tracked, as it allows players with limited time to still compete on equal footing.

Playing the game earns coins and experience. As I leveled up, I gained access to new cosmetic upgrades for my bat, and stickers, which serve as a fun way to communicate with opponents during matches. There are also numerous customization possibilities for the clubhouse, which acted as my personal headquarters. Every park within the game presents its own unique challenges. Successfully conquering these challenges not only boosted my experience points but also awarded me with trophies. These trophies are proudly showcased in the clubhouse, serving as a testament to my achievements.

As the game began, I was asked to choose my favorite team. Considering that I’m from Wisconsin, I naturally selected the Brewers. This choice designated American Family Field (though I still have a hard time calling the stadium that) as the headquarters for my virtual clubhouse. Here, I could explore the clubhouse, admire my trophies, and gaze out at the field. It was also the spot to invite friends to join me in tournaments.

Although there are many aspects of MLB Home Run Derby that I enjoyed, I do have a few critiques. One notable issue is the limited music selection. Although there's a stereo present in the clubhouse, my options were disappointingly restricted to merely turning the music on or off. I had anticipated the ability to choose from licensed tracks or at the very least, have the option to select from various music genres.

My second concern revolves around the absence of animation and the failure to bring the stadiums to life. I had hoped to see Bernie Brewer sliding down the slide after my turn at bat, or to witness a vibrant audience cheering me on. Despite the intricate details put into the stadiums, the overall presentation fell short. The experience did not feel like a grand event; instead, it felt as though I had snuck into the stadium and was allowed to take a few swings.

My last point of contention with the game is its pricing—charging thirty dollars is rather excessive for a homerun derby game. While I recognize the costs associated with acquiring licensed teams and stadiums, the gameplay's scope remains limited; after all, there's a reason the homerun derby is only an annual event.

Final Grade: B

I appreciate how MLB Home Run Derby VR captures the details of the stadiums, which is a standout aspect of the game. The season play is fairly good, and I particularly enjoy the feature that allows not just for an overall season score but also individual scores for each stadium. The option to play in tournaments with friends adds to the game. However, with a price tag of thirty dollars, I find it difficult to recommend this game to them; the content does not fully justify the cost. Maybe if you're a hardcore baseball fan and you want to try something different, it might be worth the price. But if there's an opportunity to purchase this game at a discount, I recommend taking it.

Review copy provided by Mighty PR.



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