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MVP Baseball 2003 Review/Discussion Thread

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#1 of 14 Dave Bennett

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Posted March 14 2003 - 11:01 AM

Well folks, I went to my blockbuster again today looking for MVP and WSB 2k3 for the XBox. No WSB but they did have MVP this time. Here's my impressions from playing one game.
Graphics-Player models are pretty good. You'll definitely recognize players. However, there's something about them that just doesn't look truly realistic. I can't put my finger on it.
Stadiums look decent but not great. They look somewhat low res(though i was playing at Dusk in the game so perhaps the textures look better during the day or night). The crowd looks pretty poor unfortunately but you don't see much of them anyway. The other players in the dugout are of the same low quality as the crowd.
Sound-Nice. The two man commentary seems good but I did catch moments where they were talking about bunting to advance the runner when there was no one on base. The sounds of the game are captured well(random lets go "Team name" chants start up and die, you'll hear vendors yelling, etc). Also, the sound of the bat hitting the ball is perfect.
Gameplay-This is the make or break area. While I've only played one game, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the pitching/hitting interface is AMAZING. I'm not sure I can ever go back to a cursor style game for hitting, and the pitching interface makes every pitch exciting. The batting interface is hard to master but not hard to get a few hits from in your first few games. I was able to crack two homeruns (granted I'm playing on Rookie). The bad news is that there are some gameplay aspects that seem odd. For one thing, throwing to the cutoff man isn't available at all times(only when an indicator saying "Cutoff Man" is by the players name). Also, the auto dive/jump works well most of the time but there's a few times when it doesn't dive when a dive probably would have allowed the fielder to nab the ball. The dive seems to be pretty frequent though in some instances, perhaps too frequent. Lastly, I had one situation where my first baseman had the ball and wouldn't run over and tag the base. I might have pressed a button or it may have been a glitch.
Overall, I'm feeling good about the game after only one game(granted it went 12 innings). While, it does seem that the gameplay isn't perfect, it looks like the good far outweighs the bad. I never realized how well a modern baseball game could work without a cursor while still allowing a certain degree of hitting control, but this is the perfect example of it. I've not had a chance to try WSB 2k3 yet and I still want to do so before I decide, but this game seems easy to pick up and play but will take skill to master. All in all, I give it a very preliminary Posted Image I'm thinking that unless WSB 2k3 really wows me graphically and can compete gameplay wise, MVP is going to be the game for me this year. Definitely check it out, it's suprisingly good.

#2 of 14 Scott_W


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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:44 PM

After a few days with MVP I have a love/hate relationship with it. MVP does some things so well, but others so badly. Its very frustrating.

The hitting/pitching interface continues to be brilliant. You really get a feel for pitching. You need to conserve your pitcher at times, and others throw at 100% for maximum speed or break. This balance is near perfect. The mistake pitches add to the game.

Fielding is pretty good. I don't mind not being able to dive. What I mind, is not being able to tag a runner because the player catching the ball goes into a throwing motion. I've missed tags at home and other bases this way, and the computer has as well.

The second basemen and shortstop have crazy range in this game. They'll get most short bloopers. Its frustrating.

The throwing meter in the field works almost as well as the pitching meter. Wind up and fire, but you may pull the first basemen off the base, or throw it wildly.

Their is a definite lack of hit trajectories in the game. High Heat does a better job of simulating hits.

The Franchise mode and goals are good motivations. Being able to jump into a game doesn't work as well as advertised. While you can jump into a game, the sim aspect goes by so quickly, its hard to get a good feel for when to take over. You can also only take over after each half inning, so you can't jump into pitcher jams, etc.

I'm torn on trading in for WSB. I think WSB is a better simulation of baseball, but MVP does some things so well. I rented High Heat today, which used to be my favorite baseball game, but it felt so dull compared to MVP.

On a fun note, the Homerun contest in this game is great. First one I've really played. You go head to head with a computer (or player) opponent to see who can hit a distance mark (a mile for example) first. This progresses split screen, and is quite enjoyable.

#3 of 14 Dave Bennett

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Posted March 14 2003 - 06:54 PM

Played another game just now. I think I need to bump up the difficulty from Rookie as I beat the Orioles 16-1(and the one was because I messed up). Still though the game is retaining it's fun factor. I've got it until next Friday so I'll post some more impressions if my views change. As I said before I'm still gonna try out WSB 2k3 if I can, but I'm really enjoying MVP so far as it's a realistic but approachable baseball game.

#4 of 14 Dave Bennett

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Posted March 15 2003 - 03:45 AM

Hmm, I just found one huge bug. For some reason, you can't play at Fenway Park during the day. The only choices are Dusk and Night. I tried to do a season game to force it to play a day game there and I discovered another bug:The schedule for the redsox doesn't have any day games at fenway! Why on earth these bugs are in the game is beyond me. I'm still enjoying the game but I think there's a bunch of little things that are ultimately gonna relegate this one into the "fun rental" category and not a "must buy". While I love the batting and pitching system, the total package is lacking. As much as I love not having a batting cursor while still having control over my hitting, I think WSB is probably gonna be the better game. I'm gonna try to pick it up today from EB(as long as I can exchange it should I hate it).

#5 of 14 James T

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Posted March 15 2003 - 03:32 PM

I like this game. Since this was the only game available for rent I took it. The new pitching system is amazing. At first, I was kinda worried that there isn't a meter to monitor your pitchers and then I realized that there isn't one in real life either. As the game goes on, I noticed the meter flashes more quickly and the gap slowly shrinks.

The AI seemed to be improved as well. I kept swinging and missing at high fastballs, so what's the next pitch? Another high fastball that I miss by about a foot. It's also interesting to see the pitcher of the opposing team hit the batter following a homerun by the previous batter to officially call the game a blowout loss.

The sound is awsome! With rear speakers setup, you can hear the umpire make the calls as you have the catcher view. It's also a nice touch to have the fans chanting and making fun of players, even those not so known to baseball fans.

A few bugs I noticed: I don't know if this is a bug or if I figured out a new way to avoid tags, but as I was running bases, I ran out of the standard basepath to avoid a tag. I know it's not computer controlled, because I didn't even touch the base, I ran back to first(I was playing against my cousin).
Another bug is collision. It's either non-existent or the developers rushed this game. I remember the previous Triple Plays having too much collision, but you have to have the basic pitcher/first baseman, runner/catcher and outfield players running into each other.

If WSB is suppose to be better, I guess I'm in for a real treat.

#6 of 14 Bob East

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Posted March 15 2003 - 08:53 PM

I played this tonight with a couple of friends. We also have played HH2004 on PS2, MLB 2004, and All Star on Xbox. Next week hopefully I'll find WSB for rent. MVP has the best presentation so far, All Star the best interface and extras, MLB was solid-(989 is starting to make decent games-not the crap they have been putting out)and High Heat has the most realistic gameplay. As many people have said on the net, if you could put them all together-Wow! My choice right now is High Heat because I value substance and realism over everything else. However, none of the games are poor efforts and I could see many people having their own favorites. I wish there was one game out there which clearly stood out in all areas making the decision easy but there is not.

In terms of multiplayer games, MLB was the worst as there was no way we could find to turn off the baseball indicator in the strikezone-so the batter always knew where the ball was going-Blockbuster does not have the instruction booklet so perhaps there is a way? All Star was ok-I think it would be better for a single player who wants to spend time going through all the extras. MVP was the most exciting in terms of its presentation-both graphically and sound wise. Sound is very important in a sports video game in drawing you in and too many games sound muffled. MVP does not, however it's realism is in question. I hit a single to right field and the right fielder snagged the ball and threw me out at first! That's ridiculous and will preclude me from buying the game at full price. High Heat has the worst presentation of all the games so far but is not terrible. I turned on my 6 channel stereo setting on my receiver to pump up the volume. If I end up buying it, I plan to get the Xbox version. It's gameplay however is the most realistic and natural feeling. I'll post more as I play through them by myself and I get the chance to try WSB 2k3.

#7 of 14 Peter Manojlovich

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Posted March 16 2003 - 09:04 AM

Bob, I'm sure you'll get a kick out of what I'm about to tell you. I was behind a run, with my pittcher coming to bat in MVP. So, I pinchhit for him. I was careful to select the player with the highest available speed rating. When he came to the plate, the announcer commented how with this guy's speed they should be careful in case he lays down a bunt. I slap a single to right field and get thrown out at first. A number of choice expletives followed. So much for getting on base and stealing second.
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#8 of 14 Seth Paxton

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Posted March 25 2003 - 08:20 PM

Just a copy of what I said in the new baseball thread. My early comments on MVP for PS2.

I bought MVP and I'm in the middle of the first franchise year.

So far what I have noticed -

Lots of various trading has gone on, maybe a bit more than normal. Of course the first thing I did was make deals to improve the Expos. I didn't find the trading cheap though I'm not sure about what the CPU values exactly. You certainly can't just trade any schmuck for an All-Star. But I did trade El Duque to the Marlins for Derek Lee/Mike Lowell and some other players on both sides to even it.

The sim part seems decent, hard to say at this point though. I do like that you can jump in on any day, or if simming a single game you can jump in on any half inning.

Pitching for the game is as good as any baseball game I have played. I disagree about hitting your spots always. I've had slips where I grooved a pitch and paid for it. Pitchers wear down rather accurately.

Throwing is good too.

The franchise goals to increase your payroll are cool. Momentum is cool too. Add to that the "rivals", which increase the importance of a game on your momentum and you have a lot of interesting goals/challenges in the game.

I noticed dirt kicking up in the wind at homeplate when I was playing at Dodger Stadium. Nice touch.

Big gameplay flaws - forget SBs, they are basically non-existent, you can throw anyone out it seems and are always thrown out yourself. Maybe what type of pitch you run on helps, but I'm not that sure about that.

Not enough types of hits. Maybe it's supposed to be whatever the physics say, but you get too many looping flyouts. And it's outright stupid how many diving catches running to the OF are made by the SS and 2B. Proably 12 outs a game are over the shoulder diving catches at least, often more.

Back to the baserunning. The throwing meter is for choosing that hard throw when the play will be close, but plays at first are NEVER close unless there was an error. It's much like the SB thing. There are no bang-bang outs at first, even from GO to third.

Sounds and animation are mostly pretty good.

Okay, now this I had to share with everyone because it's just way too cool. I just did the All-Star game tonight (I've been playing a lot of games in my season obviously). I'm the Expos so I was NL.

Bonds comes up in the first inning. He (I) crush one to deep CF. Headed over the way. CF (Iciro in this case) climbs the wall and pulls it back in!!!

What are the chances of that happening? I mean the only thing different from the real game was that it wasn't Torii Hunter. The ball was going out in basically the same spot even. That was just way too cool (though it cost me the HR).

MVP is good, but I sure wish the running flaws and the incorrect balance of out types were fixed. Then the game would be outstanding. As it is EA improved drastically upon Triple Play.

#9 of 14 Jim Tressler

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Posted March 26 2003 - 12:32 AM

I too have been playing MVP (PS2)this past week.. and have a love hate relationship as well. As mentioned, I really like the throwing meter and the pitching interface.. lots of fun. What I dont like is the ability not to contol diving and speed bursts.. case in point.. the ball does not bounce on a hit.. on a soft line drive in the gap, the ball hits the ground, sticks and shoots past the fielder.. things like that I hate.. but.. overall I like the game and will rent WSB and see if any are worth a purchase.. I think the next installment of MVP can be much better, so it may be worth waiting.


#10 of 14 Peter Manojlovich

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Posted March 26 2003 - 04:37 PM

Another nit I have with this game is the slowness in the transition animations. I had a runner heading home and was dead to rights. The catcher received the ball slightly up the line but far ahead of my runner. It took so long for the catcher to react after catching the ball, I was able to slide in safely.

I'll confirm the short outfield over-the-shoulder catches by the infielders. Way, way too many of these catches for outs. The pitching batting interface is well done, and the throwing meter is great as well. The audio side is very solid. I prefer the play mechanics over WSB, which I rented the other day. Some nice innovation as well with the franchise goals being different for each team.
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#11 of 14 Seth Paxton

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Posted March 30 2003 - 12:55 PM

I played through the my first season with the Expos and one the World Series on Pro.

Much of that was simulation, which benefitted from me hitting the post-season hot, but unable to catch the Phillies. The Cubs knocked them off and I was able to battle them off. The one key game I played was my first game against ARZ when I beat Schill. Also, the game had Randy not setup for the first post season start, which was a mistake of course.

To become the WS team though, I made several moves. Right off I did the El Duque for Lowell/Derek Lee move (and some other player for me to round it out). Another pre-season move I made was to trade my CF and someone else to get Dotel, and he became a starter. He usually can only go 5 but they are 5 tough innings. I moved Endy Chavez into the starting lineup in CF and he did adequate.

Before mid-season I started negotiating with Vlad and he got upset on my first two offers. So I traded him for Roy Oswalt who was signed for 5 years at 100, which helped the payroll a lot. I also worked Hidalgo into the deal as well in the 2 for 2 deal.

So my WS team had a rotation of Vasquez, Oswalt, Dotel and a mid-level lefty trade pickup (Hendrickson) who actually has been doing much better than his ratings.

My main hitters were Vidro, Lowell, D Lee, Doggie. Lee and Lowell both had great seasons.

2nd year I got tired of Cabrera, so I moved my young SS in and traded Cab along with Doggie for Burrell. Then I signed Maddux who was a FA. But he was really struggling so when I made that move for Burrell I also traded Maddux for Ichiro. I was overloaded with pitching and so weak in hitting that I had to, my team was losing both SIM'd and played games.

Since those deals the team has been on a tear. Plus, Lee had started off hitting 220 and is now up to 270. Ichy gives me a shot at the team goal of leading in SBs.

Phillies remain my toughest rival as we battle again for 1st/2nd, I just passed them around AS break.

I have started getting SBs and I have had a few pickoffs and been picked off. It's rare but it happens. SBs seem to depend as much on the type of pitch you run on. You always have to dive slide to get an SB. CPU has gotten a few off of me too, though I think I am still able to throw people out too easy.

I'm seeing less leaping catches, but still too many. The over-the-shoulder is still too routine and happens way more than ground outs. The only close plays at first are on errors or DPs, but at least it happens. No bunt singles to this date, not even close.

There is a "problem" in tag outs some times as the player has trouble reacting to make the tag, but the rate of safe to out on close plays seems fair despite this, so I consider it more just a goofy way of showing a safe play. Same with the over the shoulder outs.

If your fielder runs slow to the spot, it means he has the ball. If he sprints it means he probably won't get it.

I don't have 15 K games, but I am able to get K's in a variety of manners, high heat, curves or sliders into the zone, curves falling out of the zone, 2 seam fastballs cutting out of the zone.

And sometimes guys still hit my best pitches, seems to depend on the hitter.

In 1 1/2 seasons I haven't yet seen any really crazy stats. Several of my mid-relief guys have low ERAs, but there are no 70 HR, 190 RBI, .400 seasons and no 30 wins, etc.

The CPU is more willing to sub in the AS game, but does still not try to get all the players in.

I've found myself playing the game quite a bit. Considering the hours involved with this one versus The Two Towers game, I certainly got my $50 worth I think.

Pitching may seem too easy at times, but good players will still hit you AND if you slip and grove one in the red, you will pay. That aspect feels very much like real baseball.

#12 of 14 Phil L

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Posted April 02 2003 - 10:56 AM

Question about the PC version- is there a way to turn on a pitch preview like with High Heat?

#13 of 14 Dave Scarpa

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Posted April 03 2003 - 02:32 AM

I've yet to rent MVP But I rented WSB and High Heat still gets my thumbs up
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#14 of 14 rodger_morales



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Posted April 04 2003 - 06:18 AM

I have read in some other reviews (gamespot) that CPU batters in MVP don't swing at pitchs outside the strike zone. I think part of the game is being to get batters to "fish". From one review above that seems to be false. Any opinons from others?