so many modes, option adjustments and improved graphics
and animation, there's not much more that you can
ask of MVP Baseball 2005.
sometimes easy to overlook the meat of the game as
it can sometimes be overshadowed by the condiments.
At the core of MVP 2005 is a solid baseball game with
lots of control and depth. If this isn't the best
baseball videogame to date I will eat my baseball
hat - and I say that without even including all of
the extra modes and micromanagement.
has got to be my least favorite feature in any game.
The Owners mode is where you're going to take care
of this business. It rivals an economic sim in its
scope. You don't even have to worry about playing
games in this mode. You can have the results of a
game in the push of a single button. You can even
automate an entire season if you find yourself engrossed
in the mode.
have some 30 years to turn your team into a multi-million
dollar enterprise as you buy, sell and trade players
to get the best team you can. This may sound a lot
like a Franchise mode but you're also responsible
for hiring coaches, GMs, building a ballpark, positioning
the bleachers, setting the ticket prices and selling
team-related merchandise. During all of this you have
to keep the players and the fans happy. As in last
year's game you will receive emails that will keep
you informed of players' stats, injuries and suspensions.
ball was never so personal. With an incredible amount
of slider options you can customize the gameplay to
accommodate any style of player. You can go from arcade
to sim and all points in between. Features that you
can adjust include the batting power, the accuracy
of throws, the speed of runners, the speed of infielders,
the chemistry of the team and the frequency of injuries
to name but a few.
with all this level of customizing, player will still
earn points to upgrade their stats and ultimately
their skills which will give them certain advantages.
One of those advantages is a new feature called Hitter's
Eye. The ball will change to one of three colors when
in flight. Each color represents a particular style
of pitch allowing you to read the pitch and adjust
your swing before it enters the strike zone. Better
players will see the colors longer. Players with less
stats will just get a glimpse. Red means that it's
a breaking ball, white means it's a fast ball and
green signifies a change up.
sliding pitch scale is back but it's improved to be
more dynamic and realistic. This time the sweet spot
doesn't remain constant. It will decrease if the pitcher
puts some muscle or spin into the pitch making the
ball much more challenging to hit. Fatigue and moral
will also affect players' performances. Moral can
be influenced by winning or losing a series of games.
It can also be affected when the manager leaves the
dugout to argue with the umpire. A meter gauges the
intensity of the argument. If you put on a good show
the team's moral will be boosted but you run the risk
of getting thrown off the field altogether and having
the CPU manage your team which will send moral in
a downward spiral.
and pitching mini games can be used for training,
gaining stats or just for the fun of it. In the batting
games you will learn how to make the best of each
pitch as the strike area will be highlighted and arrows
will indicate the best places to hit the ball. The
pitching game requires you to knock out squares on
a grid by using any of four pitching styles. Not only
will you get points to increase your players' stats
but you'll learn how to throw more accurately as well
as pick up a few tricks to fool the batters.
may recall that the faces of the players left a lot
to be desired in last year's game. That's all fixed
now. Not only do the player look like who they are
supposed to look like but the animations for batting,
pitching, running, catching and tagging are much more
fluid. These new animations make the game seem more
connected rather than a series of triggered events.
There's a lot more close-ups of the players as they
interact with the ball. The camera pulls away at just
the right moment to give you an overview of the field
when you have to make a decision as to where to run
or where to throw. The crowd's reaction is always
appropriate but when you look at them individually
it looks as though Wal-Mart had a sale on white T-shirts.
Am I being picky? I suppose, but this game is so tightly
developed I can't seem to grab onto any loose seams.
could do without the generic-sounding tunes from bands
that I've never heard of and will likely never hear
from again. The announcers are great. They comment
on the action like they're really at the game complete
with the occasional fact or players' stat. They don't
repeat sayings because they eventually disappear.
The fact is that you don't even miss them after a
while. It's better than listening to them say the
same things over and over again. Too bad the music
doesn't disappear altogether.
may be the last we see of the MVP series for a number
of years at least. It's only fitting that the series
should end with a homerun.