This is either the best terrible baseball game out there or the worst best baseball game out there. I'm not sure which.

User Rating: 7 | MVP Baseball 2005 PC
Wow, I was given 120 characters to write a snazzy buzz line and I used all 120 (with the period). But onto MVP Baseball 2005. Basically MVP 2005 is a maddening collection of great ideas and terrible ideas. Almost every feature has a good point and a bad point to it. As a quick summary, I rated this game a 7.0. And I really enjoy it; I just can't play it for long periods of time without getting completely frustrated at his many, many problems. Now, onto the features: *Quick caveat* If you are a hardcore gamer, some of this won't apply to you because you are better at gaming than I am... In no particular order... 1) Playing out of the box The Good: Some things you can become proficient in quickly (trading, simming, pitching). The Bad: Some things you can’t (Hitting. Hitting. Hitting.) I'll get into hitting more later, but this is a good warm-up. 2) Interface (remember this is for the PC) The Good: There isn't one. This is just a very crappy interface for a PC. Basically the staff at EA was lazy and just used the console interface (I'm assuming). Which means it is long on flash and very, very, very low on substance. The Staff at EA needed to improve and interface like the one High Heat 2003 or MS Baseball 2001 (not the game, just the interface) used. Both were very basic, almost amateurish, but relayed a large amount of relevant data very quickly and easily. Overall - Considering MS Baseball in 2001 had a better format in 4 years ago, the EA staff should be taken into the street and egged. The Bad: Oh, where to start: A) You can only see 2 or 3 attributes at one time. It doesn't matter if you're at the trade screen, the roster screen, or any screen. Bad design. B) The interface feels and acts like a joystick-limited interface. The mouse is far underutilized. C) There's more, but those two are very broad and give you an idea of the problems. 3) Owner-mode The Good: A) Many different options B) Consequences for some actions (such as payroll reduction causes many sponsors to stop advertising with you until you start winning). C) You can build and upgrade your stadium. D) You have more options when signing players to contracts. E) You can hire your staff (including Coach, hitting instructor and pitching coach) for all levels, including scouts. Great improvement. The Bad: A) Many different half-arsed options. B) Sponsorship cuts are directly linked to payroll, not popularity, and there is no player popularity bit. C) Your stadium upgrades are criminally limited. You can't design a unique stadium, you're stuck with 4 or 5 options that have as much character as a rock (actually that’s an insult to rocks everywhere). D) The impacts of your different player signing are not very well explained and in-game often are just plain stupid. I was sitting a player when his energy dropped to 80 and he got mad, I think for sitting. Then I didn't sit him and he got mad when his energy dropped to 65, I think for overplaying him. BUT I WAS NEVER TOLD WHICH. E) You can hire your staff but... all scout/coach skills are if they were Big Show level. I don't care if this guy isn't a MLB-ready coach yet, tell me how good of a AA coach he is. The coaches' abilities are really low for A ball, which is not accurate, they just aren't MLB level coaches. Again, partly done. I could go on, but you get the idea, for every great idea (and there are many) there is mortal flaw. MVP 2005 is essentially the video game version of a Greek Comedy... For every great hero there was serious flaw that prevented them from being enduring heroes. (Think Achilles’ heel). 3.5) Owner's Money Note here more than anything. It’s hard to earn money. Most players won't be in the black until they win a few playoff games. While I enjoy this, I realize the frustration many people have at wanting to take over a current MLB team. Not a MLB team that plays in a college stadium (Your beginning stadium has a 20,000 seat capacity and you will rarely get more than 12,000 until you win A LOT of games). If you don't understand this before playing, this could be a game killer. This should have been one of two options EA offered (the other being you take over a team and its stadium and expected fan attendance). 4) Trading The Good: Its there... Every game now needs trading, and the system isn't terrible (plus it is hard to really, really play the system like used to do in HH 2003). The Bad: In many ways the trading system is amateurish. You are stuck guess and checking to see if other teams will trade players. HH 2003 had an option where you could see who the other team wanted and if you selected a player to trade for, who they would take in return. 2 years later EA can't grasp this simple concept and improve it. Also you can't trade cash... 5) Player potential The Good: Its there. Some players simply just can't become HOFers stats-wise. The Bad: All you have is a scout’s generic report to try to determine this. No star potential (1-5 or something like that) with their stats. Not suggestion of how scouts think players would progress with training (even if it’s not always accurate). Another Greek tragedy. 6) Hitting The Good: I like the hitter's eye. Good concept. The Bad: Pitch speeds are not consistent. I've seen 75 mph curveballs come across the plate faster than 95 mph fastballs. Essentially all you have to do to hit is to time your swing. Sounds simple, its not. It is just maddening. You can't control their aim (a la Ken Griffey Jr. Slugfest), so even if you time it perfectly you are still at the whim of the computer. Also you cannot hit pitches that are up our down out of the strike zone; however that doesn't stop the computer. Lame. Now, I'm not complaining that I can't repeat my - everyone hits over .500 - that I did in HH 2003, I'm complaining that the hitting is fricken impossible. I have a team of very good hitters that I can't hit with (Ichiro .285, Blaylock .250, Crawford, .285). I have a couple over .300, but not easily (especially since I've tried to reduce the difficulty significantly). And trying to hit with up-and-comers like BJ Upton or Rickie Weeks And it’s not like I'm hitting homeruns. About 3/5ths of the way through the season I've hit 60 HRs as a team, with Beltre leading the way with 19. Blaylock has 16. After that it’s Mauer with 11. I don't think anyone else has more than 6. Overall hitting is just too fricken difficult. I'm not a hard-core gamer. I don't want to be. I want a baseball game I can take out of the box, play a few games and understand it well enough that I can enjoy playing a season. I can't do that with MVP's hitting. 7) Difficulty Settings The Good: You have LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of options. You can micromanage the difficulty of things like leading off, controlling your pitches, fielding. There must be 40 sliders that you can change to adjust the difficulty. The Bad: Some don't make sense. Decreasing a slider doesn't necessarily make it easier. One common problem I have is starting pitchers are fatigued after 50 pitches. So I lowered the slider to increase their lasting power. Nope, wrong way. Gotta move the slider up. BUT THIS ISN'T EXPLAINED ANYWHERE! 8) There's more I could write about but by now I'm sure you get the picture. Hardcore sports gamers will love this game. Others need to be prepared many negatives to go with all the positives. Personally, I love to hate this game. I still play (usually only one game at a time to keep from destroying my computer) but I keep the antacid close by. If you buy this game, don't expect a web-gem. This is more like going to an A game. You enjoy it, but you can also see major flaws. Just be prepared.

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