Review by BlueYoshi579
A shining example of Baseball greatness. A great improvement over 2004.
MVP Baseball is the greatest Baseball game I've played. It's a big step up from the flaws of 2004, and a shame that we won't see a 2006. The game has very few flaws, and lots of bright spots.
The Hitting is very well done. You can now shift your position in the batter's box to compensate for a pitcher nibbling on the corners. This makes it much easier to hit pitches on the far side of the plate, a serious flaw in 2004. The new Hitter's Eye feature is useful, though I prefer the standard camera and pitch reads (none) that were in 2004, which you can set the game to. The only flaw is the bunting: It's nearly impossible to get down a good bunt, even with a talented bunter like Raphael Furcal.
The pitching is much improved over 2004, with the addition of "shades of gray" on the pitch meter, unlike the good or bad meter in 2004. Instead of the good and bad sections of the 2004 meter, 2005 features a 3 sectioned meter: Perfect (green, the pitch does exactly what you wanted it to), Early & Late (The pitch is a little off, may go in or out a little more than you wanted, and Bad (The pitch location is obvious to the batter, and it will likely be crushed). This is more realistic, as getting a pitch to behave perfectly is very hard in MLB. However, if you're smart, you can cover your mistakes, and even mess with the hitter a little by intentionally being early or late.
The defense is MUCH more fluid than in 2004. You can make backhand throws, behind the back tosses, and, most importantly, promptly toss the ball to the pitcher covering first. In 2004, the Pitcher toss mechanics were horrible, and the 1B usually couldn't get runners in time. This is probably the biggest improvement in the entire game.
Stealing a base is much harder now, as it should be. In 2004, runners with 75+ Speed could steal second easily on most pitches by exploiting a special slide. Not so in 2005. Only the best baserunners can steal a bag on fastballs now, as the tags are much quicker and better placed. Another great improvement.
The new owner mode is a wide open version of 2004's Dynasty mode, and lacks some of the key flaws of 2004. Your prospects develop much better in 2005 than in 2004, and you have a Single A affiliate now. Owner mode also features stadium controls, allowing you to either build your own stadium or upgrade your current one. However, the greatest improvement is in the financial department: You now make your own money, rather than having a set budget that increases on arbitrary goals that don't include a World Series Title. You can spend as much as you want, although the goal is to retire with a lot of cash, so you'll want to make more money than you spend. You can have promotional days, set concession and merchandise prices, as well as upgrade them. You can upgrade the park to make it more welcoming to fans, and add more seating. This makes for a much more engrossing experience than 2004's decades of monotony, as you actually have to worry about making money, not just winning games. You can also spend a lot of money for a top flight staff, or simply get a good manager and trade for talent. However, you still can't trade draft selections.
Overall Gameplay Score: 10/10
Graphics: A more polished version of 2004's, the graphics are good, and in no way detract from the experience.
Graphics Score: 8/10
Controls: Great, no changes were needed or made, although baserunning can be difficult if you don't pay attention.
Controls Score: 9/10
Sound: I turned off most of the music, but that's because I don't like the songs. The in-game announcers are a bit more up to date than last year, although Krukow's low of the phrase "Big Boooyy!" is irritating, and they do make inane comments at times. No problems, but not a shining example of broadcasting excellence, either.
Sound Score: 7.5/10
All in all, a great Baseball game. It fixes most of the flaws of 2004, and doesn't make new ones. If you have 2004, I'd say trade it in and get 2005. It's not like you can wait for another installment in this franchise, as it won't be back for a long time. And it that's a damn shame.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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