IGN Preview of The Cages: Pro Style Batting Practice
Imagine The Cages Pro Style Batting Practice as a baseball game where you do nothing but bat the entire time. That's pretty much the entirety of the experience; while there may be a bunch of different modes to this game, there's really only one thing to do in The Cages: swing the bat and hope you connect with the ball.
The Cages supports Wii MotionPlus but it isn't required, but at Konami's press event earlier this week I only experienced the game using the Nintendo controller peripheral. I will say that it definitely made the swinging system extremely precise with one-to-one motion: as long as you were pointing the controller away from your body towards the dugout when you pushed the button to have the ball pitched to you, the bat would follow your every move.
But that was pretty much the issue: the lack of precise calibration. Most Wii MotionPlus games require you to point at the screen/sensor bar to "zeropoint" the calibration. But without that specific target to aim at, the bat seemed to get a little screwy a few times at the plate.
It's not easy hitting in The Cages because the bat's tracking everything about your swing: direction and speed. Luckily after each swing you'll get a very ESPN/Fox like tracking window that'll show your bat's swing and the ball's trajectory in ultra slow motion so you can correct for the next time up.
Though this is a batting game and not a full-on baseball game, there is a competitive "baseball" mode without the fielding where you'll hit the ball into airborne targets to have your drone players run the bases for score. There's also a calorie counter to tell you how much energy you've spent swinging the bat during a play session.
I will say that this game felt more like a game that would hit WiiWare than be a retail disc title, but The Cages is actually a retail game.
It's hard to say if The Cages will ever make you a better hitter in real life like the game seems to promise. But it at least gets right to the good stuff: most people seem to enjoy batting the most in a baseball videogame, and here, that's all you do!
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