||[Jan. 23rd, 2006|12:18 pm]
Digital Press Members
Yesterday morning, I was playing a game or two of MVP Baseball 2004...it's the most recent baseball game I have for my GameCube (not counting Mario Superstar Baseball). I had updated my Pirates roster somewhat, adding Jeromy Burnitz, Joe Randa, Sean Casey, Roberto Hernandez and Damaso Marte since the Pirates had picked up those players in real-life. Then I went out and came back with my first video game purchase of the year...well, I went 3 weeks without getting one, at least!
The game I picked up was MVP 06 NCAA Baseball...or is it MVP NCAA Baseball 06? The title is the former on the front cover but the latter on the game case's spine. It doesn't really matter, I guess. Derek Jeter didn't get his mug on a baseball cover, for a change. I'm not sure who the guy is (he's wearing a Texas uniform) since I really don't know anybody in college baseball. That might make it seem odd that I would buy this, but this is the first college baseball game ever made and it probably never would've been made if EA Sports (the publishers of this) hadn't lost the the ability to make major league baseball games due to another company buying up the exclusive rights. Though I don't know the players, I figure I'll have fun (I'm writing this before playing my first game) due to the whole ambiance of college sports and not knowing who everyone is means I won't have to continually worry if my rosters are up to date. I guess you can recruit during the season, but there probably isn't trading since that isn't done in collegiate sports. I understand there's over 120 teams in this game...did they actually manage to fit in every single stadium? That would make it one packed disc. I do hope the West Virginia Mountaineers are in here, even though they may not have the greatest team in the world. Since West Virginia has no pro team in any sport, I'd finally be able to control a team located in my home state.
A few odds and ends...ESPN is featured here including actual ESPN announcers. Besides the Create-A-Player and Create-A-Team mode, you even have a Create-A-Ballpark option where you can pick such things as distance, height and shape of your outfield walls, the mow pattern of the grass and other options. There are mini-games to perfect your skills and you can create your own tournaments from 2-team single-elimination matches to 8-team double elimination ones. I gather the hitting and pitching is somewhat different from previous MVP games so I'll have to practice some before I really get into some serious play. That reminds me...does it have season mode...and how many games would that include? I'm sure you don't play 162 game seasons like in the majors. Unlike most EA Sports games, this doesn't look like it's coming out for the GameCube, just the PS2 and XBox (and possibly XBox 360)...I picked up the XBox version.
Finally, why has it come out so early, in January...well before even spring training begins? I think it's because EA figures it would be of limited interest to most who prefer the majors. Thus, they get a window of a few months to sell this thing before the MLB game arrives.
I wrote the above before playing the game which I have since done. As I should have expected, the players are not given names but numbers (like back in the 16-bit era) and referred to by number or as "the senior" or "the junior". I like the graphics and the play-by-play man is good (I thought there were supposed to be two?)...but I'm gooing to have to get used to the control. Pitching is the same...you use the left thumbstick to position where you want to aim the ball and then press a button to activate whichever pitch you want to use. When the ball is hit and one of your men gets the ball, however, you don't use those same buttons to throw to whichever base you want. Instead, you use the right thumbstick...press it to the right and your man throws the ball to 1st base, press up and you throw to 2nd, etc. Batting is going to take a lot of practice on my part...you use the right thumbstick again. You pull it back to cock the bat up and then push it forward to swing the bat...you need to learn to do the two as one fluid motion in order to get good contact on the ball. I haven't been able to do that yet. The 10-run rule has ended each of my games early...and mercifully. Once I get the hang of this game, I'm sure I'll like it even more but I know it will still never be my favorite baseball game.
The big question is what MLB game(s) will I play during the summer? Will I get the one new MLB game coming out or go back to MVP 2005 (MVP 2004 on the GameCube)? That I haven't decided yet.