MVP Baseball PSP Review

With the Triple Play series in a deep rut, EA needed to completely overhaul their baseball franchise. MVP Baseball brought new, and now standard, features into video game baseball. In the process, they produced an easy to get into (yet still deep) simulation that trounced the competitors. On the PSP though, that's just not the case.

There's very little to do here. Beyond an exhibition mode, a home run derby, and single season play, there's nothing. You can't play online either. That immediately cuts the feature set down significantly enough to make this one fail. You'll visit the menus with EA Trax blaring as always, and with the exception of commentary, that's the best sound you'll get here.

The on-field play is still sharp, with all the meters and various other gauges present. Batting is far too simplistic, offering up a single button and direction selection with the analog stick. Fantastic strides have been made in base running, usually a sore spot in other games. You even have the option of HOW you want to slide, not just the ability to do so.

Pitching offers us a variety of throws, offering so many, the shoulder buttons need to be used to hold them all. That's in stark contrast to the batting, and it almost seems like two completely different developers had their own ideas of how a baseball game should play. One is trying to be a simulation, the other a common arcade style title.

AI is strong, especially when it bats. One wrong, slow pitch and it will be hit over the wall. It runs bases intelligently, tagging up when it needs to without being too aggressive. Fielders rarely make a mistake though, making them out to be super-human at times. The lower difficulties alleviate this, yet unfortunately make everything else too easy.

There have been obvious cuts made to the graphics, most notably to the players. Stadiums are still filled with tiny details; it's the players that kill any reality. Their bodies are victim to obvious polygon seams and triangular joints. Textures are blurry and just not believable. Animation is varied, just not as much as Sony's amazing MLB.

MVP does win in the area of presentation, offering nice camera angles during replay. The game then needs to stop completely as it loads the next better. It's aggravating, and while they can be turned off, the game loses any advantage visually.

Even with the delays, there's no reason for MVP to enter your UMD collection. For once, a 989 game is on top, and in just about every major category. It's rare to even hear that, so at the least, you know by picking MLB, you're taking part in a rare gaming moment.

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