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MVP Baseball 2003 Review

Developer: EA Publisher: EA
Release Date: March 11, 2003 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

Triple Play Baseball 2002 was a terrible baseball game last year from EA Sports. It sported horrifying graphics and game play that was too simple for the common gamer. It was too easy to win no matter what difficulty setting the game was on. It wasn’t EA’s best work, but this year, EA Sports revamped their entire baseball series and renamed it MVP Baseball. Everything in this is different, now more realistic and looks really good. MVP Baseball 2003 is probably the best baseball game from EA Sports since Triple Play 99 back on the PS One.

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The graphics are dramatically improved over last year. Players actually show facial expressions that change during game play. The character models are the most real looking out of any of the baseball games this year. Even though some of the detail issues need to be worked out, it still looks really good. Most of the main stars in the MLB look actually like them, but when it comes to secondary players, they look nothing like their real life counterparts. Even though EA is not known to going into extreme detail on every player’s faces like Sega does, it should still have had more work done on this, plus there are a lot of glitches in the graphics that you easily spot during replays when you see catches made. The ball goes through the glove then comes back. This needs to really be worked on for the next game.

MVP Baseball, like all other EA Sports titles is great in the games sound department. The in-game sounds on the field sound great as usual. The sound of cracking bats and hard pitched balls hitting the glove is fine tuned and sounds almost lifelike. The crowd cheers during the games and you can hear the salesmen in the aisles walking by trying to sell their products. The EA Sports soundtrack is great. It offers tunes from Social Burn, OK Go, Sum 41, The All-American Rejects, Taproot, and more, but, as in all of EA’s sports games, the commentary is not too great. The announcers are extremely repetitive when calling a game, plus, they are not too bright. You can put in a new pitcher and sometimes after you throw a pitch for the first time, they will say that pitch has been working for your pitcher all day even though he was just put in. This needs to be worked out to about the Madden level of commentary that isn’t the best around either. There is still a high quality soundtrack in the MVP Baseball.

The game play has really toughened up in all areas. The computer is much more difficult and harder to beat. It seems like almost every time you hit a ball, the computer catches the ball for an out. That is because you need to use strategy when hitting in the game. There is a simple hitting system to master that only takes a game or two to really bring up your skill. There are no more hit cursors, now, there are hot and cold zones and the hitting is worked out on your timing of the swing. Plus, when using the left joystick, you can direct the swing of your bat and where the ball will go. This works well, but it also makes it harder to hit home runs unless you are a big time hitter like Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa; that too needs to be worked out.

MVP Baseball is probably the best baseball franchise for this season. Sega’s is fairly difficult, Microsoft’s just stinks, and Acclaim has just lost its touch. Overall though, people will like all the features in the game. There is a franchise mode, a season mode, tournament mode, and home run mode. Home run mode is different from homerun derby seeing as you don’t need to hit home runs to win. You set a distance of how far you need to hit the ball and both players hit at the same time to see who can achieve the distance first. This is a fun mode to play with your friends and reminds me of speed golf in Tiger Woods 2003.

Overall, MVP Baseball 2003 is a solid baseball simulation that brings it all to the table. With realistic graphics and sound, it is easily the best of the 2003 season. Although it has its flaws, you will be playing this one for a long time (or whenever you complete the 30 year franchise mode). Everyone young and old can enjoy MVP Baseball and learn how to beat teams soon enough. Do not pass up the opportunity of missing out on MVP Baseball 2003, you will not regret buying it.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 8.9
Written by Shawn Review Guide