MVP Baseball 2003
List Price: $9.99

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Product Description

This is a whole new ballgame! Knock the dirt off your cleats in the first season of MVP Baseball, the all-new reengineered baseball franchise from EA SPORTS. MVP Baseball 2003 incorporates a new pitcher/batter interface, giving players the opportunity to be more strategic with their pitching and batting, and an all-new "picture-in-picture" on-base view to create an added dimension and strategy to baserunning. Realistic stadiums and highly detailed player models and animations bring the baseball

In baseball, if a pitcher starts losing control the manager yanks him. It's a smart thing to do because baseball tends to flow in streaks. This is why EA Sports came out to the mound and pulled the ailing Triple Playseries. Never a critical favorite, it was too arcade and not enough simulation. Triple Play just wasn't performing, and fans were beginning to notice what the other baseball sims were doing better (almost everything). So rookie MVP 2003 trots out to the mound for its day in the sun. It's a step in the right direction.

MVP looks great. The field, players, and animations are all smooth and realistic looking. Instead of placing the camera directly behind the batter in the default view, they've gone for a slightly tilted camera that better simulates a batter's view of the ball screaming in. The only graphical glitch is that the batting box is too small visually. Curves don't break correctly, change-ups don't drop enough, and this just plain looks weird. However, the mini-diamond that shows the situation (including how much of a lead the opposing team's runners take) is just about perfect.

Rather than simply demanding you keep your eye on the ball, MVP has a batting box that predicts where the ball will go. This makes hitting too easy and pitching a bit too hard. A pitcher has too little time to get the ball icon within the strike zone. Other sims do it better. The other problem is with fielding. You have decent control (they avoided World Series Baseball's rookie error) but changing players is neither quick nor easy and the game forces your player to dive when you don't want to. Tossing it back to base isn't as intuitive or smooth as it should be either. You'll get used to it but, again, other games do it much better.

MVP is a strong debut but it just isn't a contender for the Hall of Fame.--Andrew S. Bub

Pros:

  • Great graphics
  • Realistic baseball action
  • Franchise mode
Cons:
  • Pitches don't "break" correctly
  • Fielding system is out of whack
  • Franchise mode lacks initial draft
Features:
  • Revolutionary New Pitcher-Batter Interface: Instead of just choosing pitch location and type, you feel like you're controlling the actual pitch with wind-up, power, and release point. Batting offers more control, giving you the chance to react to the pitch and hit 'em where they ain't.
  • The Most Lifelike Players and Animations: Player models, movements, and reactions are ultra-realistic and believable.
  • New Franchise Mode: Get deep into the action with the most fun and interactive franchise mode found in a baseball video game.
  • New Picture-in-Picture Baserunning: Run the bases like a pro with on-base view and runner control. Get the perfect angle to judge whether you can stretch that single into a double, or steal home while another player is caught in a run-down.

Customer Reviews:

  • Good - not great
    As a long-time EA Sports customer, this game is a definite improvement over the Triple Play series, but still has a ways to go to be on par with the Madden and NHL franchises.

    I think this game is, at best, a 6/10. Baseball is historically difficult to represent in a video game, but there have been some good ones (Earl Weaver, the very early Triple Play versions, All Star Baseball 2002/3/4, etc.). It just seems if you can't simulate the gameplay, you might as well spend extra time on graphics/sound. EA clearly didn't do this.

    Here is a breakdown:

    Gameplay
    --------
    + Games go pretty well - fluid for the most part
    + Scores are "lifelike" in all difficulty modes
    + Statistics are accurate for players league-wide
    + Batting, pitching, fielding, throwing meters are easy to use and customizable -- you just need a gamepad with 8-10 buttons
    - Computer pitching is too fast - often I can't pinch hit because the computer is in the windup in < 1 second after an inning begins
    - Home runs are extremely rare; computer never hit a home run off my pitchers in games I played throughout season
    - There are a *lot* of bugs - ie: statistically a player sometimes doesn't get credit for a hit when extending a double to a triple, infield fly sometimes doesn't work (even though announcers announce it)
    - There is an inordinate number of line/fly outs to the infield

    Graphics
    --------
    + Players look lifelike (in everything but mouth action)
    + Long-distance stadium view is good-looking, as is grass (except in SkyDome (too green for Astroturf) and Bank One Ballpark (dirt from pitchers mound > home looks cheap))
    - Players don't appear to be correct height/weight
    - Stadiums are a step back from any recent game -- the backgrounds are *very* low-res, cities (ie: Pittsburgh) are improperly rendered, and the scoreboard animations are the same rotating [stuff] from NHL series
    - Fans look HORRIBLE - like NHL 2001 "cardboard cutouts" (only attempt at differentiating stadium to stadium is shirt colors - nor are stadiums more or less full based on game)

    Sounds
    ------
    + Sounds of ball off bat are rendered well
    + Crowd noise grows in a rally
    - Stadium sounds are okay, but ballpark announcers aren't accurate (ie: Fenway and Pac Bell women)
    - Play by play is inaccurate, annoying, and repetitive

    Features
    --------
    - "Franchise" mode is HORRIBLE - nowhere near NHL 2003, All Star Baseball or World Series Baseball's (Xbox/PS2) franchise mode
    - The Homerun contest is foolish, since it's extremely difficult to hit them...
    - Franchise trade offers are unfair and biased towards the computer (similar to the NHL series)...more info

  • Fun game. Hours and hours worth.
    Bought this game for our son. He's been playing little league B-ball for a few seasons and this game was a good way to help him understand the rules, see how the whole field work together. Despite it's age, the graphics are still plenty entertaining and works well with our older desktop computer which has a 1.8GHz Celeron processor, 1GB of RAM and a 256MB Nvidia based offbrand video card.

    The funny part is that the computer's game announcers don't sound any less intelligent than the real TV game announcers. That's either high marks for the game creators or low marks for the TV guys who talk alot but have little to say. ...more info
  • Brilliant!
    EA Sports' MVP Baseball 2003 is the best baseball game I have ever played. I'm not sure how they are going to make a better game next year. The pitching and batting interfaces are ingenious. The graphics are amazing, the best I've seen of any of the games I've ever played - and that's a lot.

    The game has four different modes (besides "Play Now") - Franchise, Season, Tournament, and Home Run Showdown. I think Franchise is the most fun because in Franchise you are the manager. You are given a set of goals you must complete within a 5-year period. Your team has a budget and payroll, and the players have contracts. Your team may not go overbudget. You will learn this when you first try to trade a half-rate mediocre pitcher for Barry Bonds. The currnecy is in "Points". For example: A-Rod is about 8,000 of 40,040 points the Rangers have. Also when you create a player they are given point values depending on how good or bad you make them. When you sign free agents, they will want a certain amount of money, and if you can't give it to them, they will become angry and refuse to negotiate. Only play Franchise mode if you are an experienced gamer, who plays fair and is experienced in economics. You are graded on your managing skills (F-A+), good grades increase your anual budget.

    Season mode is for those who like to stack up their own teams and blow all others out of the water. You can create a mass of elite soldiers and simply add them to your team. And this is where you can trade a half-rate pitcher for Barry Bonds. There is no Payroll of Budget, and you are not graded.

    There is really nothing to say about Tournament mode, except that there is pool play or playoffs.

    Home Run Showdown is different from a derby, you set a distance, and the first one to reach that distance with all your combined hits (homeruns, flyballs, groundballs) wins. It is a lot of fun.

    This game is wonderful for the baseball fanatic. Most of the players' faces are edited to look like them in real life. And there are many signature batting stances and pitching motions (that you can assign your created players.)

    The controls in this game are your basic number pad controls.
    For pitching and defense: When you pitch, you control how fast the pitches will be and how much movement is on them. Any pitcher may have up to 5 pitches, and Pitch Types are rated on a scale of 100. There is a pitching meter that will tell you how much speed and movement is on the ball. And finaly, there are different types of curveballs and sliders, some sink, some move across the plate, and ect. Controling your fielders is difficult at first but you will adjust quickly. Use the arrow keys to throw to a base. You can also contol how hard your fielders throw by holding in the key.

    For Batting: All you realy need to know is CTRL is swing. But you can control if you will hit a fly ball of groundball by using the arrow keys.

    For Baserunning: Use the arrow keys to control which base you want them to run to.

    This game is excellet. If you love baseball, you will love this game.

    The only thing was - When I first got the game and installed it, there was too much choppiness to play. I was very fustraited. I soon realised that the feature "Live Big Screens" was on. I turned it off and the game worked fine. all the feature is, is a screen on the score board showing the exact same thing on the monitor. It really makes no difference.

    Overall Presentation: Brilliant. Menues, Gamplay, Graphics, all brilliant.

    Graphics: The best I've ever seen on any console.

    Gamplay: Outstanding. Will not take up much time, the games seem to be long, but when you look at your clock you realise it's only been about 25 minutes.

    Sound: Excellent quality sound. Commentators can be repetative (but who isn't) but they will keep you in the game.

    Lasting Appeal: This game will last you a long time. Once you are done with a season, play another one, you won't get tired of it.

    Difficulty: Not too difficult. Rookie, Pro, and All-Star. Rookie is increadibly easy, you will soon move on to Pro and All-Star.

    If you ever read a negative review about this game, DO NOT LISTEN!!!! This game is a masterpiece by EA Sports....more info

  • it's NOT in the game
    The successor to Triple Play Baseball, despite having some nice graphics and other fancy shenanigans, is, in the end, a disappointment performance-wise. Most glaring is that despite this user running the game on a Windows XP machine with ample memory, the program SLOWS DOWN much too frequently, particularly in situations with runners on base. Additionally, routine plays easily made in previous versions (such as the double play) are inexplicably more difficult to perform this time around. And the decision to have different buttons control which base a fielder throws (rather than have just one "throw" button) -- why???

    Bottom line: very frustrating to play. Despite all the improvements made, some very obvious shortcomings significantly hinder the enjoyment of the game....more info

  • Great game
    I LOVE this game!!! The only problem (and it's not really that bad) is that I cannot figure out how to save a game in progress. The graphics and wonderful and the game is easy to play once one gets used to the controls. I play at least one game a day and enjoy every minute!...more info
  • Awesome rebuild of the EA Sports Baseball Franchise!!
    This game is awesome!! I wanted a good baseball sim after giving up on High Heat (which always had problems on PC's), and EA Sports has come up with a dandy! There are some things that will ultimately need upgrading (for example, a meter showing the pitcher's fatigue level would be good), but this is a game that was rebuilt from the ground up and two years in the making. In an interview, the rep from EA Sports said there will be more features added next year.

    The graphics are amazing - the ballparks are rendered beautifully, and the players look more realistic than ever, right down to their motions. The franchise mode is cool too, with the goals listed by team. And the announcers are better than ever - for the first time, they don't sound disjointed in their commentary - in fact, sometimes, like on TV, the game will be going on, and they'll banter back and forth and seamlessly go back to calling the action when a ball is hit(and I may be a little biased with this - I'm a transplant from the SF Bay Area who spent many a night listening/watching to Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, and watched Krukow win his 20th game in 1986 at the 'Stick) At one point, I just had the CPU play against itself, and my son and I watched the game, and it was like watching one on TV. Amazing!!

    If you're looking for a good baseball sim that doesn't crash on your desktop (I run XP by the way), that really captures the realism of America's pastime, this is the one to get this year!...more info

  • tHE BEST GAME I HAVE EVER SEEN
    This is the game of the year. I enjoy playing this game so much. It has great graphics and the rosters are the same as the 2003 baseball season and that is the best thing ever and they also have a pitching bullpen just for the home tam and the vising team&#60;br /&#62; ...more info
  • Good game, but too easy...
    This game is great if all you want to do is win. I mean everyone wants to win, but when all your pitchers are 20 game winners and all your hitters are batting over .300, it kinda takes some of the fun out of it. Granted, my team is the Yankees, but they're not as good as that, haha. One thing that I find extremely hard is base stealing. I haven't been able to pull it off yet! The only stolen bases my players have is when I sim the games. I could see if Pudge Rodriguez was catching it would be harder to steal, but Piazza?!?! And while Posada has gotten better at throwing guys out at second, he didn't get everybody, but in this game he has. It seems that whenever a player steals, the guy at the plate takes a called strike which isn't very realistic.

    The graphics are good and the ballparks look great. The players look pretty good, though some look better than others. For instance, Giambi doesn't look much like Giambi, but Pettitte looked just like Pettitte. Right down to the chin cleft. Also, the pitchers pitch just like they do in real life. It's especially fun when you have a pitcher that has a distinctive style. I laughed out loud when I played the Angels and Ben Weber came in to relieve the starter. He does that same jerky thing with his glove before he throws a pitch!

    I did like the fact that you can download updated rosters and even brand new players like Matsui and Contreras. One thing I don't like about the rosters is that when players are traded, they wear the same numbers and there is no way to change them. That is frustrating not only because of retired numbers, but also because you might get 2 or more players with the same number.

    Another thing I like is they actually have umpires and you can see them make the calls, though you can't argue the calls. I think they should have included base coaches too.

    All in all this was a fun game, but they could've made it a little better....more info

  • Average Just Average
    I picked this up from an EB store this week and can say this is very very average. Nothing great:

    Pros:
    (1) Good visuals of players and stadiums
    (2) Nice baseball AI
    (3) Updated Rosters so far

    Cons:
    (1) Game moves very slowly
    (2) Announcers are boring and repetitive
    (3) Computer makes baserunning mistakes
    (4) One game takes way to long

    Unless you are a die-hard baseball fan, I would skip this one.

    I enjoy the NHL 2003 and NBA game from EA sports much better.

    3/5 stars...more info

  • Wow...
    Finally, EA Sports junked Triple Play and created a game from scratch. Now the graphics are even better than that of High Heat Baseball and gameplay is more real. The pitching/batting is completely redone with a realistic sense of speed (you'll really be tricked by offspeed pitches) and they also added strength meters for fielding for those who would risk a wild throw for an impossible pick off. Pitching is a bit tricky at first, but at least now you can have more than 4 pitches. There's also a new kind of Homerun derby that is more fun than the typical ones.
    I'm sure there are negative points we'll eventually find with the game but for now it's the best baseball game out there. If you like baseball, get this! BTW, I do not work for EA......more info