Hate baseball games? Excellent, then The BIGS was made for you.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: July 15, 2007
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I've made no bones about the fact that I just can't handle sports games. Something about the pacing or perhaps the fact that I really just don't care about the sports, much less video games about them, has kept me from enjoying just about every version. Baseball in particular is something that I just can't swallow, and though MLB: The Show was decent enough to hook me once I really started to give it time, sports games are lacking some of the instant quarter-munching hook that NBA Jam or NFL Blitz had.

With the MLB 3rd party license being snapped up by 2K, though, my dreams of another SlugFest evaporated like Midway's once-dominant hold on the arcade sports game. Then I finally saw The BIGS running on a PS3 at Sony's Gamers' Day event a few months back. I watched as some dude turned an incoming fastball into a flaming arc that connected with the Times Square New Year's ball and exploded in a shower of sparks. Oh, hey, where'd all these hooks come from?

I should probably get something out of the way here, too: The BIGS, for as fun as it is, doesn't offer something on the level of depth that a full-on sports sim can. To me, that's a plus, since I rarely sit down to play any sports game for more than a few minutes, and it's here that The BIGS satisfies: bite-sized little bits of over-the-top gameplay with ultra-simple controls that don't make me feel like a retard while trying to chase down pop flies.

With the exception of the aforementioned Home Run Pinball Mode (which only appears in the PS3 version, and which I'll gush a little more about in a bit), nearly all of the game's modes play more or less the same, the only difference being whether you want to launch into a one-game session (which default to a much more pleasant 5 inning stretch rather than a 9 inning half-marathon) or if you really want to dig into the closest thing to a career mode the game has in the Rookie Challenge Mode.

Rather than taking you through an actual career, however, Rookie Challenge bolts simple, well, challenges onto normal games as you play through the season. Though there are over-arching goals like, say, just beating the other team, you'll also have a handful of different bonus scenarios. Beat a team, for instance, and up to 10 times that season, you can steal someone from that team, building yourself an uberteam of power players. Granted, part of this requires that you know the rosters, but I managed to get by without too much duplication of positions by just randomly picking teams.

More importantly, however, you'll have the chance to shine with your created player and build them up from a rookie with questionable performance into a major player on the team. By making big plays, smashing home runs, pocketing RBIs and the like, you'll earn basic points at the end of the game. In most cases you're not going to be rolling in points, but luckily the mini-games that range from chasing down infield balls to cranking out homers will bag you at least 10,000 or more points per training session if you can complete them (and, realistically, they're fairly easy, so it's not too tough).

These points can then be poured into your basic speed, your contact and power hits and your throwing arm and catching abilities. It's a simple, easy to understand breakdown, and even one additional point added to your base stats makes a visible difference in how your player does on field. Cranking up the speed can make all the difference between beating the ball to the plate when baserunning and becoming a power player will allow you to smash home runs on even normal pitches.
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