RBI Baseball 18 review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: MLB Advanced Media
Developer: MLB Advanced Media
Medium: Digital/Cart
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

Personally, I have a lot riding on RBI Baseball 18 on the Switch not being terrible. As someone whose most-played game for the last three or four years running has been MLB 15 The Show on the Vita (the last year the game graced that console), I?m definitely in the mood for a new handheld baseball game. If RBI Baseball 18 on the Switch could not suck — which is a lot to ask, given how awful the PS4 and Xbox One versions were — I would greatly appreciate it.

I?m not going to lie: it?s still got quite a few faults. Nearly everything I complained about a few months ago with the Xbox One version still stands here. Fielders are still much faster than baserunners. There?s still very little differentiation between all the players. The physics are still incredibly wonky, with home runs down the foul lines still 100+ feet longer than they do to the alleys and centrefield and there being no way to tell whether a ball coming off the bat will be a harmless infield fly or a monster homer.

On top of that, there are issues here that I don?t recall noticing on the PS4/Xbox One edition of the game. In particular, fielding seems to have lost all pretense of looking like the real thing. I routinely saw outfielders make diving stops for ground balls, for example, and pretty much every player on the field seems to have mastered the art of behind the back tosses. Most annoyingly, every fielder now has insane range, abetted by the fact they can hoover up balls from 10-20 feet away — if it?s in the air near an outfielder, consider it caught.

And yet: if you look closely enough, you?ll see that MLB Advanced Media made small improvements here and there that mean that the Switch version of RBI Baseball 18 isn?t quite as bad as the versions that were released a few months before it.

Take the loading times, for example. On PS4/Xbox One, they were abysmal, with the simple act of switching sides every half inning seemingly taking forever. Here, by contrast, the waiting doesn?t seem anywhere near as bad. Likewise, the extended animations that accompany homers are skippable, which is a massive — if obvious — improvement.

The same goes for the fielders? throwing power. While everyone still has a cannon for an arm — those behind the back throws have crazy oomph behind them — it no longer seems completely imbalanced, as evidenced by the fact I didn?t see any runners thrown out at first on clean singles to the outfield.

To be clear, these are all small tweaks. If you?re going in expecting RBI Baseball 18 on the Switch to rival MLB The Show, you?ll be sorely disappointed. For that matter, if you?re hoping for a game to rival Super Mega Baseball 2 for arcade baseball action, you?ll be pretty disappointed. But if you go in just hoping for a baseball game that works, then — possibly for the first time ever — then it?s possible to say that RBI Baseball 18 does the job.

MLB Advanced Media provided us with an RBI Baseball 18 Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-