Baseball. They say it’s America’s National Pastime. The batter vs the pitcher and the rest of the outfield just waiting to catch the ball that comes near their direction. Everyone who likes and loves Baseball has their favorite team for different reasons. Some love just being in the atmosphere at the moment and some could love eating their favorite food while watching the game when it’s that perfect day or night. But does developer Viewer Ready show what it’s like to step up to the plate and swing for the fences? Let’s find out with Totally Baseball for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and PCVR.
Totally Baseball lets you play the full sport of Baseball from being the batter and hitting those pitches to throwing the pitches to even catching the hits all in Virtual Reality. So before you go throwing like you are Rick Vaughn from Major League with your own entrance music, there are a few things you will want to make sure of. First, know your surroundings. Don’t be in a small area near walls, windows, computer equipment, and or pets or people. It could be bad if you hit something and had to go on the injured list. Second, make sure your controllers are charged. I mean you don’t want to throw from the wall to first base only to have your controller die and have the ball not go as far as it could and have the other team score because of it do you? And finally, have some fun. With that said, let’s continue…
When you first start the game you are presented with a menu, but if you turn around, you can actually customize what your character can look like. However, I will say, for now, you will not notice it out when you are playing. I made mine look like they had a skeleton face.
Once you have that completed, go ahead and start by selecting which hand is your primary hand (for a real challenge, select your non-dominant hand as it could add a whole new element to the game), select if your locomotion preference from actually moving your hands up and down like you are running or smooth (if you select smooth, hold down both thumbstick to run) and then select if you want to use the optional projection for comfort. This is to help those who might have an issue with locomotion and possible motion sickness which I did not experience any. Once you have everything how you like it, you have a choice to make. Play Ball, Practic, or Options. Options give the ability with sound, throwing if you want to use a cannon assist, teleportation if you want it, slow motion, and ball indicator is also available for you to select from. I would suggest going with practice so you can just get the feel of everything.
In Practice mode, you do learn how to swing the bat at the pitches which the game tells you to hold both controllers like if you were holding a bat. It can take a second to get used to because of the way the controllers are designed. But once you do, it does work. Then once you have practiced batting, it’s time to practice your pitching.
Now that practice is complete, it’s time to get into a game. You have one more choice to make. Do you want 3, 6, or 9 innings to your game? Once that is selected it’s time to get into some Baseball. Right now, there is only single-player, three fields, and only three teams to play against. you have the hometown favorites that you play as, the Fighting Foxes, then we have the San Diego Sloths, Reno Robbins, and the L.A. Phants. You can only play against the Sloths to start out, but when you beat them, you unlock the Reno Robbins along with a new field to play in.
Since this is Totally Baseball, it’s taking that to the full meaning as you will be playing every position including the announcer. So when you throw a ball from 2nd base to the catcher, for example, the game switches to where you are now the catcher and you have to try and catch your own throws. So it does take a little bit to get used to the throwing from the outfield to a different position because if you overthrow your throw, then trying to catch your overthrowing of the ball is going to be somewhat challenging. When pitching and if the batter hits your throw and the ball is going into the outfield, then the game switches to the nearest player which then becomes you and you have to run to the spot that is glowing and try to catch the ball or again, throw the ball if it went too far and try to catch what you threw to yourself as that new player which again, can be challenging and fun at the same time.
When you are at bat and swing and hit the ball that you think is going to be out of the park or at least enough distance to where you can get to the base, if there is any indication you are about to be out, the will be this red flashing that serves as a warning that you either better run as fast as you can or pray that you can make. I will say that once you can get the pitches down and not throwing balls all over the place and walking the other team, once you start to get the strikeouts is kind of satisfying. Even if you do have the other team hitting your pitches, being able to catch the balls and then throwing it to one of the bases to then catch your own throws as you then get the other team out as they are trying to steal does make you feel good.
Oh, I forgot to mention that in between innings, you do have the choice as the announcer to get right back into the action by skipping, but you may just want to watch everything as there are the old-time sponsorships that really brought a smile to my face and are enjoyable to hear and you never know what might be advertised.
Let’s talk about graphics and sound. The art style used here is so pleasant on the eyes and works very well in VR on the Oculus Quest 2 and so pleasant on the eyes. Even playing under the night sky and having the lights shine on the field just added to the atmosphere of the game. The sound was equally good. Hearing the hitting of the ball to catching the balls in your glove sounded authentic. And adding the announcer calling the plays brought the feeling of the game home.
There are some things that I hope get addressed with some updates. For one, throwing. For the most part, throwing worked. There were a few times when I did throw the ball and it seemed either the ball just went a few inches or all the way to the right. Second, when I was at home plate, I almost had to rotate myself in order to have the stance I needed to be for holding the bat instead of trying to recenter. Third, I hope that more teams and fields get added. Right now there are just the three teams to play against and the three fields. We need more teams and fields so that there can be a World Series of Totally Baseball.
Totally Baseball does allow us to step up to the plate and play Baseball in Virtual Reality. It shows that if you bring passion, people will be interested. But when you bring the fun, people will play. Sometimes in life, we are thrown curve balls that will strike us out, but sometimes if we stay focused and believe in ourselves, we can hit our homerun dreams out of the park.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some practicing to do before the Multiplayer mode is released.