MVP Baseball 2005
EA comes close to striking out on their first attempt for baseball on the PSP. We give you the pitch by pitch.
It shouldn't be any kind of surprise that EA Sports would jump on the baseball bandwagon for the PS2 with their release of MVP Baseball. After all, starting next year, they won't have the chance, with Take Two exclusively taking third party control of the MLB, leaving them and Sony to contend with handheld greatness. For now, however, EA ushered one out of the park just in time for baseball season, and, boy, do I mean ushered. This is a quick, lazy port that reeks with errors and can't even stand up straight next to the excellent MLB from Sony's camp.
Like the console version before it, the game contains enough hitting, fielding, and pitching options to be considered competent. There's walk-ups, fielding cameras, and other items that come into play to try and make the presentation worthwhile, and there is a decent little party game where you can pass the system around with three other players to compete. But, really, that's about all there is to it, because MVP Baseball is lacking otherwise. It feels like a batboy who can't wait to hand you a corked special.
The main problem lies in the game's technical glitches and other notable omissions. The glitches come into play a bit too often for my tastes, and while the engine remains stable, its lack of clean-up effort really hurts the overall product. The fielding still takes a little getting used to, and pitching you have to readjust entirely, only because the somewhat cool Hitter's Eye feature in MVP Baseball 2005 has been completely nixed here. Bummer.
But that's not all. The mini-games are gone as well, aside from some home run hitting contest with your friends that can get a bit old if you don't have the batting down. The game completely lacks any sort of online play, which is inexcusable considering that EA's got a good bead on the hardware thus far. What remains is a basic game of baseball, and, despite being slightly up to speed in some areas like batting and some presentation, it still comes up way short.
And how about those buggy animations? They really needed to be reworked for the handheld system, to the point that they didn't hold the game back. The only real standout here is the game's season mode, allowing you to swing for the big leagues and a World Series title. But it too doesn't compare to Sony's MLB, a game that's got it beat with a number of extra options.
I guess if you're a fan of the series, MVP Baseball is worth a rental just to see if it can hold its own against Sony's game. But me, I've played both, and the verdict simply says that this isn't EA's year. And it'll be a long time before they get a chance to validate themselves on the baseball diamond. Going out with a bang for them has turned into sneaking out with a whimper. Not exactly my idea of the ol' ball game.
What's Hot: The party mini-games.
What's Not: Technical glitches really get old.