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MVP Baseball 2004 Review





Developer: EA Sports Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: March 9, 2004 Available On: GCN, PC, PS2, and Xbox

Coming in for a second season, MVP Baseball is looking to top the success of 2003 and create a dynasty of their own. Formerly know as Triple Play Baseball, MVP was redesigned and became the baseball title from EA in 2003. Offering up a strong pitcher-hitter balance, MVP brought an enjoyable experience that outdid competitors by far. Adding to the success with new features would be a brutal task, but EA stood up to the call.

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While the graphics last year were nice, MVP really didn’t look as good as ESPN/Major League Baseball 2K3 did. This year however, that has all changed. Stadiums are now livelier with moving crowds during play. This is a huge step up over last year’s 2D models that did nothing. Players are more defined and have slight resemblances to their counterparts in real life. If the backgrounds overlaying the stadium in the background were only more accurate and better looking, we would have a heck of a sight here.

Commentating doesn’t seem to be the strong points in titles from EA. The commentators tend to say the same things about players quite often and repeat corny little jokes enough to get on your nerves. Other than this, the rest is fine. The total on-field experience of baseball is here. If it isn’t the crowd that brings you in, it’s the sound of bats and sliding that is really cool. Music tracks are again a strong point, giving you music from some great artists and adding to the joy of playing just to hear your favorite bands.

MVP still has the tightest feeling for controls. Batter interface is still refined to hot/cold zones that show where the hitter is best at. As the pitcher, you will try and exploit the weaknesses. The pitch meter is still the same, allowing you to set how fast or how much break a ball has. Throw meters are set with an error zone which is when you put everything on the ball you have. Doing this raises your chance of making throwing errors. The new big play stick has you using your second joystick to leap up walls, making diving catches, or slide and grab a ball on the run. It really is a helpful feature, especially with foul balls. Using the bullpen to warm up pitchers is also now included, adding to the feel of being a real manager.

New to MVP, you have manager mode that allows you to make choices rather than play. Choose to hit, bunt, or sacrifice while batting and pitch, hit, or walk batters on defense. The franchise mode is now extended immensely to 120 years, giving you the longest franchise in any game. Now with AA and AAA teams, your franchise is extended, but so is your roster to choose from. Call up players who are hot or send down those who aren’t hacking it. Develop the next all stars for your MLB team in the minors. Along with online for PS2 only, MVP gives you fun till the last drop.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.6
Written by Shawn Review Guide