Ask me what
baseball simulator lighted up my GameCube and I’ll quickly name MVP Baseball
2004. Why? Well since it’s introduction last year it was well-received by
baseball fans and game critics everywhere, but anyone who has ever picked up a
GameCube controller to play it will tell you that it’s one of the most addictive
ballgames around. MVP Baseball 2005 is the latest entry and while the
game hasn’t dramatically changed we’re certainly happy EA Sports hasn’t messed
with an already good thing.
Baseball 2005 offers some returning
favorites in the game modes department such as Dynasty Mode, Home Run Showdown,
Exhibition, Manager Mode and Scenario Editor. You’ll be up against some
hard-hitting batters in a split-screen styled showdown in Home Run Showdown and
come up with your own game scenarios with the Scenario Editor. This year’s
Dynasty Mode feels more complete, making this the deepest franchise mode and
with MLB teams plus AA and AAA teams available you’ll see why. To complete
Dynasty Mode this year’s addition, Mini Games mode, acts as Spring Training for
your favorite team. Mini Games offers up some fun challenges centered on
tightening your batting and pitching skills. Manager mode once again puts you in
the role of a team manager as you take your team through some tough seasons.
The other new
game mode, Owner Mode, puts you in the shoes of the owner of a whole
organization complete with a full staff ready to do your bidding. As an owner
you’re in charge of setting ticket prices and luring fans into your own created
stadium with concession stands as well as promotional gaming days. The Create
Ballpark editor offers some pretty basic creation options such as what type of
grass you’d like or how high you’d like the wall to be around your stadium. From
there you’re in charge of financial decisions while playing a hand in whom you’d
like to trade or recruit.
As for the
gameplay, this is still one of the deepest and most addictive ballgames around.
The Pitch Meter is back again as well as the Pitch feedback that tells you how
close you were to the green bar when you press the button to release your pitch.
Much like the swing meter in Tiger Woods PGA Tour, you’ve got control
over your fastballs so it doesn’t get any better than this. Batting feels a lot
better as well and with the addition of a feature called the Hitter’s Eye you
can tell what kind of pitch will leave the pitcher’s hand. If the ball flashes
purple you can expect a sinking pitch or if it flashes orange there’s no doubt
that it will be a knuckleball. The Pure Swing System allows you to hit the ball
on the ground or take an uppercut swing, but now that you can move in the
batter’s box you can stay in your hot zone.
On the field
you’re able to climb the fence to rob a homerun and you can make sliding catches
a lot easier this time around. This year you could also send the manager to
argue a call with the ump and laying the pressure on him via a meter. If you
timed the argument just right you could earn your team an attribute boost while
a badly timed one will cost you an attribute point and get tossed out by the
ump. It’s a great addition, one we hope to see make a return next year.
The lineup is
also current, which is something GameCube fans will be grateful for since
there’s no online mode to keep things current through downloadable rosters. If
that weren’t enough you’ll also get a chance to play as some Major League
legends such as Jackie Robinson or even the Babe himself. Classic home and road
uniforms are also available, such as the old Brooklyn Dodgers outfits. In short,
this game is chock full of goodies.
MVP Baseball 2005 is a spectacular-looking GameCube game. The player models
still look as good as it did last year, but this year the improvements are
centered on the faces that look more like the real deal. Last year Sammy Sosa’s
face was a bit fatter yet recognizable but this year Sammy just looks so much
like the real thing that you’ll instantly recognize him out on the field. You’ll
find more player animations and the neat visual effects EA Sports uses gives the
game a televised feel. The stadiums look accurate this year as well. Overall,
this is GameCube graphics at its best.
sound is composed of some excellent play-by-play and color commentary by Duane
Kuiper and Mike Krukow who do a great job of calling the plays as it happens. In
short, their commentary never gets on your nerves nor does it become repetitive.
Even the stadium is alive with fans going nuts when their team scores a run and
the stadium PA announcements. As for the soundtrack, this year’s tunes aren’t
that bad but then again they’re not for everyone (personally I‘m not crazy about
the tunes). You’ll find some lesser-known artists in the lineup but the music is
pure alternative rock from bands like The Zutons or The High Speed Scene.
never looked and played as good as MVP Baseball 2005, a game that’s
destined to be a fan favorite for months to come. Sure last year’s game made us
fall in love with the franchise but this year it will steal your heart. Trust me
when I say that if you miss out on this game you’re missing out on a game that’s
close to perfection. This is a Must Have for any GameCube owner or sport’s fan.
All the things that worked last year
are present and the things that needed a bit of work have been improved upon
greatly. This just means that this is the deepest, most impressive ballgame
that’s just too addictive.
This is one gorgeous-looking
GameCube game, and you’ll understand it the minute your favorite players step up
to bat. The faces have improved greatly and the player animations look
marvelous. As for the stadiums, anyone whoever visited Yankee Stadium or even
Dodger Stadium will be impressed with the level of detail.
Great play-by-play and color
commentary is on the spot and keeps things interesting but it tends to fade away
around the fifth inning. Still the ambient sounds are like sitting out there
with the fans, listening to the hecklers, vendors and stadium announcements. The
licensed tunes just aren’t that good.
The AI is a lot smarter this year
and you’ll have your hands full pitching against some of the powerhouses like
A-Rod. Out on the field you’ll also have to make some clever plays if you want
to retire the sides quickly.
If you love baseball as much as I do
you’ll faun over this year’s Dynasty Mode and the new Owner Mode. The inclusion
of the AA and AAA teams is also more than appreciated. Plus there’s fantasy
ballparks to unlock as well as some legendary players to use out on the field.
Grab a friend because this is
definitely a sports game worth sharing and with plenty of teams to choose from
it ought to satisfy every fan out there.
Baseball on the GameCube doesn’t get
any better than MVP Baseball 2005, this year’s best ballgame to date. The
various modes cover all the things we love about America’s pasttime so if it’s a
solid baseball simulator that’s just too much fun to put down, then be sure to
buy this one right away.