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MVP Baseball 2005

Score: 94%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2 (2 online via Xbox Live)
Genre: Sports (Baseball)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Year after year, sports games tend to get better and better. And while the graphics and sound usually don’t improve all that much (unless a new generation of systems is released), they continue to do their thing and look their part. MVP Baseball 2005 delivers exactly what you’d expect from an EA Sports simulation visually, and with the audio.

Player models look very nice, and are quite well-proportioned. Stadiums look excellent as well. While the crowds are forgettable, they do the job for sure. A baseball title doesn’t have the extreme amount of ambient noise that other sports games maybe do, but the cheering and jeering sound great. The crack of the bat and the ball hitting the catcher’s mitt all work. The announcers also do a wonderful job, but after a while, can actually become slightly annoying with the same repetitive comments.


Gameplay:

Guess what... MVP is a baseball game... and you play... baseball! In fact, you play ball very, very well. The timing of the many intricacies that are in the real game of baseball is captured, without a doubt, better than ever. Everything from pitching and hitting to running and fielding is perfectly timed, and has the perfect amount of A.I. to back you up by default. There’s always an exception to every rule, however. In the case of MVP Baseball 2005, fielding on bunts can often be frustrating, as controlling your infielders can sometimes become a nightmare in close quarters.

I’ve also got to say that the number of animations within the game is outstanding. Everything is covered, from reaching over the fence to catch a foul ball to sliding into the second baseman to disrupt his double-play attempt. In fact, timed just right, you’ll be able to watch the ball go squirting out as the infielder fumbles around in an attempt to throw to first base. Unfortunately, for as many great animations as there are, the game does suffer from some choppiness as those animations transition from one to another.

This year’s MVP Baseball includes many typical game modes, including Exhibition, Home Run Showdown, and the 120-year Dynasty Mode. But what would a new game be without some new (and welcome) additions. The new Owner’s Mode allows gamers to run the entire team, from the players to the ticket prices, over a 30-year period. A few mini-games are also included to help you improve your batting and pitching skills. One of the biggest additions is in, believe it or not, gameplay! The new Hitter’s Eye allows players at the plate to get a quick glimpse into their immediate future. With a very quick colored flash, the batter can “read” the pitch that is approaching, which helps batting greatly... after getting used to it. Probably one of the biggest additions, however, is the ability to take your play online through Xbox Live, where a number of stats are tracked so you can see how you rank among the country’s top players.


Difficulty:

As with any sports game, MVP Baseball 2005 allows players to choose between varying levels of difficulty. In this case, the choices are Rookie, Pro, All-Star, and MVP. With each increase, the computer’s A.I. improves, and will hit and pitch better as well. Online, you’ll be dependent on your opponent’s skill level. With an online Quick Match, you’ll be paired up with someone similar in ranking, making it easy find a competitive match, but not to where you don’t stand a chance.

Game Mechanics:

MVP Baseball 2005’s controller layout is near-perfect. While I’m still not a fan of the button-specific bases (B=First, Y=Second, X=Third, A=Home) instead of using the button and directional pad combo, it works well after getting used to it. In addition, the amount of options present in the game’s menus are staggering, yet fairly easy to navigate.

Fans of Major League Baseball can’t go wrong with MVP 2005. Those who enjoy baseball in passing will like the game as well. Even those who dislike watching the real-life game (me included) will enjoy this video game because of its perfect timing and the speed at which a complete game can be finished, as opposed to the real thing’s sometimes boring events.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Sony PlayStation 2 Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga Sony PlayStation 2 Project: Snowblind

 
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