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R.B.I Baseball 21 Adds A 'T' To A 'Sinker' On The Switch

R.B.I Baseball 21 Title Screen
Courtesy of MLB Advanced Media

R.B.I. Baseball 21

Release Date: March 16, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

Once Again, The Nintendo Switch Is Underutilized.

I’m a firm believer in leaving things to the professionals when it comes to getting things done on a quality level, especially if the said thing that should have been left to professionals is the only officially licensed outing on a console that is void of baseball games. I’m talking about R.B.I Baseball 21, which was a dull experience, like eating dry turkey sandwiches with no mayo at lunchtime during school. It’s a shame because it’s almost as if the developers didn’t attempt to make a quality baseball game for a console that has long since been considered an “inferior” console by many. 

While it’s true that the Switch lacks in power, especially compared to the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, the console is powerful enough to make miracles happen, especially when it’s docked. So when games like R.B.I Baseball 21 run like absolute jank, it shows that MLB Advanced Media really couldn’t be bothered to try.

R.B.I Baseball 21 gameplay

This Was Developed By The MLB!?

R.B.I Baseball 21 is developed, in-house, by the MLB or rather its multimedia branch which I didn’t know even had a gaming division until before I started the game. This isn’t a bad strategy when it comes to cutting corners, after all, why outsource a competent company like Sony and its The Show series when you can cut costs and make your own baseball series, allowing you to place the title on many different consoles and systems including the Switch?

As usual, cutting corners only leads to an incomplete project, and upon booting it up, there were already glaring issues to be expected. The first major one was the game’s performance including its stuttering, sound popping, and occasional lag in places where it shouldn’t. Simply transitioning from menus shouldn’t give random lag spikes as if I were running this game on a Windows XP computer, for example, but it happens more often than it should. 

rbi baseball gameplay

A Terrible Baseball Game All-Around

The sound is atrocious, with the cover laughably boasting “unique color commentary” yet it’s the very basic cut-and-dry dialogue that players would expect in a PlayStation era title. Heck, even Tim Kitzrow from NBA Jam had much better things to say than these two announcers. The audience is on a 3-second audio loop, which with their blurry graphics, ends up looking like the crowd in WWF No Mercy. Even that game looked and sounded better when it came to the audience because at least the annoying popping didn’t persist throughout.

There is a character creation mode where the details you can choose for your player are limited, but at the very least it’s a mode that doesn’t break and crack under pressure---oh wait it still does because depending on the options you place on the player, there are graphical glitches that appear. A major one included a weird glitch effect involving the batting gloves fusing with the player’s skin even after I selected “no” to the batting gloves. Glitches like these persist even in the gameplay as the animations are so bad it leaves early Newgrounds flash animations to look like Oscar winners.

rbi baseball gameplay

It’s Not Even Terrible, It’s Just, Well, Lazy

I promised before writing that I wouldn’t be so critical of the game, telling myself that it’s because it runs on the Switch that these issues were happening, but no it’s no excuse. There are games that I’ve played on the Switch as well as on the PC, which are oftentimes the best way to play said games, and the Switch versions were either on par or even better in some ways. This was just a result of pure laziness that a patch that took ten minutes to download couldn’t even save.

As if Nintendo had mercy on me, while I was selecting a team to start a very quick match, the game glitched once again only for the entire game to crash. I’ve never seen a “software crash” error on a Switch title in a very long time, years even, so to see it happen to me on camera was the cherry on the poop cake that was R.B.I Baseball 21. If only they spent more time and money refining the gameplay than they did on crappy licensed music that I couldn’t turn off due to a forced tutorial at the beginning of the game.

R.B.I Baseball 21 gameplay

What’s sad is that if you look past the game being held by strings and duct tape, there’s some resemblance of a working title underneath. But if I wanted to play a baseball game at the bare minimum, I’ll just wait with bated breath for the inevitable Mario baseball game. Here’s hoping anyway. Thankfully, it’s nowhere to be found on the PS5. Players can play the superior MLB The Show 21 instead

R.B.I Baseball 21 is available on the PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Mobile .

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