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MVP Baseball 2004 is a great baseball game across the board. Solid in every department, this one will be hard to top simply for the fact that it has very few weaknesses. While other entries might feature better stat-tracking or deeper Dynasty modes, they’ll be hard-pressed to be as well-rounded as MVP. A very fair ball.
MVP Baseball 2004's development team at EA Canada must really need a vacation - never before has a sports game improved so much and added so many new features in a single season. It may not be the league-leader in every category, but excellent performances across the board make it the best baseball game of the year.
Last year's MVP Baseball 2003 was praised for its complex simulation-style controls, but it was also criticized for failing to include many of the simple things that most video baseball fans take for granted. Pitcher warm-ups and intentional walks were absent, and the franchise mode didn't allow you to draft teams or trade players. At the same time, the limited variety of player animations displayed on the field didn't jive with the massive amount of noise and activity going on in the stands. MVP Baseball 2004 fixes these problems and expands upon every other aspect that made the previous installment such a joy to play.
Remember the simple days when EA's Triple Play was so bad it was never even a consideration as a purchase? Call it the Jeremy Giambi of video games -- recognizable name, not the one you wanna give a $100 million contract to. That changed last year when EA wiped the slate clean and introduced their new franchise MVP Baseball. What we saw in 2003 was a ball game with some innovative ideas, but in need of a lot of fine tuning. Fielding mechanics were bad at times, the AI had problems, and there wasn't much depth to the Dynasty Mode.
When EA decided to do an overhaul of their Triple Play series, the main question raised by fans was whether or not the changes would appear to be merely cosmetic. While many people were pleased with the emphasis that MVP Baseball 2003 placed on simulating the feel and flavor of baseball, even more decried the startling lack of depth in the Franchise mode and graphical errors that seemed out of place in the game. In some ways, it looked like it was "back to the drawing board" for EA. Thankfully, their latest attempt, MVP Baseball 2004 addresses all of these concerns while providing a much deeper game experience at the ballpark.
Can you feel the magic? Opening day is coming fast, and it appears the Baltimore Orioles are going to open up against the Red Sox on a Sunday night on ESPN 2. Very nice. And it's a welcome break from all this Terrell Owens garbage going on with my beloved Ravens. But that's a whole other discussion. Anyway, Baseball season is here and here come the video games to follow suit. First up to the plate is the ever impressive EA Sports with their second edition of MVP Baseball. MVP Baseball was launched officially last year, after EA Sports decided to scrap their Triple Play series.
There's good news and bad news this year if you're a baseball loving GameCube owner. First, the bad news. You're once again snubbed by Sega Sports, so you won't get a chance to play its new ESPN-branded game. Acclaim has also given you the cold shoulder and chosen not to release its All-Star Baseball 2005 for the system. So what's the good news? The good news is that you won't care about the bad news, because EA Sports is finally giving the Nintendo crowd a chance to swing away in its MVP Baseball series -- and MVP Baseball 2004 is an excellent way to experience the Great American Pastime.