MVP Baseball 2003 (Xbox) by Electronic Arts

MVP Baseball 2003 (Xbox) by Electronic Arts Box Art

Release Date
March 18, 2003.

Average Overall Score:
9.33 / 10

I am sure some of you remember EA?s Triple Play baseball series, a series criticized for lacking in various aspects of gameplay when compared with the competition. So what do you do with a fleeting baseball title?"

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Friday, December 17, 2004

User Reviews

Score: 93
Overall User Average: 9.40 / 10 (93.3%)
Gameplay User Average: 9.60 / 10
Graphics User Average: 9.00 / 10
Sound User Average: 7.40 / 10
Date reviewed: November 3, 2003.

Overall: I love the new mods and interface. The pitching interface is excellent and surrounds the game around the pitcher. AI could use some serious work, but doesn't have that much of an effect on the game.
Gameplay: The gameplay is addictive. I have completed 2 seasons so far, mostly SIMMED, but I am making some major GM moves. Difficulty levels are set up perfectly for the player experience.
Graphics: Graphics are great. You can see the pitcher and batters lip quiver as they are straining to pitch or swing.
Sound: Sounds are great. The croud will even chant out players names at times. The Giants announcers (Krukow and Keiper, I think) are good. I kinda miss Harold Reynolds from Triple Play, though.
Suggestions: AI problems:
Outfielders will occasionally run right passed balls.

Most importantly, sometimes the computers starting pitcher will be throwing a shutout and doing fine and be removed in the 3rd inning.

Also, in the create players screen, why are 1st names limited to 5 characters?

User should be able to control dives.

A speed burst could be useful.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 80 %

Date reviewed: October 22, 2003.

Overall: My Xbox is jacked up, so I've only been able to play this game in small doses, however one of the better baseball games ive played.
Gameplay: Good modes of play, the homerun showdown is really cool, its like the homerun derbys of the past. Franchise mode is diffrent than other games too, with diffrent goals, like throw a nohitter and stuff like that. The pitching mode is good, easy to learn too. But, pitching and throwing seemed a little arcade like to me, but it ok for the most part, it just make the game lose realism
Graphics: Pretty good, the got the catching down for the most part (like the ball actually going into the glove) instead of the ball dissolving into the person like most games.
Sound: Good rock soundtrack, so good if you like rock, if not, well sorry... Commentary seems to be focused on whats happening in the game not just saying random things, the only lapse i can think of is that when the computer intentially walks you, they go "what a terrible time to be throwing balls".
Suggestions: online play, make the salaries in franchise mode actual (in millions) not in the wierd currency that you invented. And a suggestion to all baseball games: set up an online feature that will allow you to download roster changes, and new players to the league.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 70 %

Date reviewed: March 20, 2003.

Overall: MVP BASEBALL is definitely one of the best sports console games I have played. The game plays true to the sport of baseball while remaining extremely addictive in the gameplay. This is mainly due to the unique pitcher/batter interface. I highly recommend purchasing MVP BASEBALL without hesitation.
Gameplay: The gameplay is both realistic and stimulating. It combines a true sim with a bit of arcade action. The only downside seems to be with the AI decision making around the bases. At times, it seems spot on while there are other instances where the AI seems a bit confused. This causes missed opportunities in game situations where the player should be guaranteed an out. In addition, the collision detection needs work. Overall, the pitcher/batter duel and franchise goals make up for the minor problems.
Graphics: The only thing that prevented me from giving the graphics a higher score was the crowd. The left and right field lines are filled with 2d card board cut-out pictures. It almost seems as though the crowd was rushed for release.
Sound: The commentary and stadium sounds are well done and really bring the sounds of baseball home. You feel as though your witnessing a major league baseball duel.
Suggestions: EA's motto, "If it's in the game, it's in the game". It seems EA left out a few things within this game to meet the release deadline. For example, there is no option to manage your warmup pitchers prior to bringing them into the game. They seem ready to go at a moments notice. Bottom line, EA has done a phenomenal job resurrecting its new baseball engine to the levels of the major leagues. Regardless, EA needs to pay attention to minute details and refine all aspects of a game before releasing it to the public.

Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 80 %

Big Ben
Date reviewed: March 14, 2003.

Overall: After being disappointed with Triple Play since the late 90s, EA has finally revamped their baseball line-up in a great way. In fact, I would easily say this is the best baseball game of the year out of the big 4 (WSB, ASB, High Heat, and MVP). Normally, I wouldn't jump to a conclusion like this, but none of the other games have changed gameplay at all while this one offers a whole new way to play.

MVP's only lacking quality is no Xbox Live! support. It has a great franchise mode, solid season play, excellent player ratings (based on MLB Scouting reports), and a very interesting home run derby. On top of this, ESPN's Harold Reynolds provides tutorials which are extremely helpful, though somewhat repetetive if you watch all of them.

Obviously, this game is for fans of baseball and if you aren't into sports games or baseball games pass on this one.
Gameplay: The biggest downside to gameplay is the inability to just dive right into the game. Unfortunately, you will have to take 10-15 minutes to read the manual or watch the tutorials with Harold Reynolds. Thankfully, as far as the actual gameplay goes, this is really the only downside.

EA has provided a new batter/pitcher interface which doesn't use a batting cursor. In fact, to hit, it's all timing. Thankfully, that doesn't mean hitting is easy. While you can hit nearly any ball in the strike zone, hot and cold zones that affect the contact, pitch location and swing type (push or pull, gorundball or fly) affect how the ball reacts. If you pull a ball away from you, you may not make good contact. In addition, timing the swing is not easy since pitches are much faster and more realistic in this game than in any I've played. I started by doing a home run derby, which has no pitch limit, but instead has a total distance goal to reach. On rookie, the batting is far more forgiving, while pro and all-star are both much harder. In fact, if you're a little early or a little late once on all-star, we're talking a big wiff.

Fielding is extremely simple and player movement is amazingly fluid. Once you're in a position, to make a play, your player automatically goes into the propper move, be it a dive, a leap or a running catch. Throwing on the move, a leaping catch or a plant and throw as well as crow hops in the outfield are all included naturally, though it may take some time how to get each to work.

Pitching is perhaps the most fun I've had. Even on all-star it only took me an hour or so to be able to pitch fairly well to anyone. Stirkeouts are still extremely difficult (I maxed out at 4 with Pedro Martinez in a game). To pitch, you first select a location, then you hold whichever pitch you want down. A bar will apear much like a swing bar in a golf game and you realease as close to the peak as possible in order to increase speed and movement on the pitch. As the bar swings back, you need to tap the picth again inside an accuracy bar in order to decide if you pitched it in the right location. The more movement you have or the tireder your pitcher is, the small the accuracy bar becomes. If you miss the accuracy bar, not only will the pitch miss, but your opponent will be tipped off with a location on the pitch. Though it's possible to throw a complete game, it's extremely hard since your pitcher will get tired as his pitch count goes up, making it harder to pitch well.


In addition to the new batter/pitcher interface, MVP 2003 offers a new franchise mode. Instead of being able to do whatever you want over the course of several seasons, you have goals to accomplish with your team and a GM rating that affects your budget. If you fail as a GM, you can be hired on at another team, though I have yet to reach that point. The downsides are that you have no farm system, only a 15 man inactive list, and computer trades aren't
Graphics: The Graphics are gorgeous. Players look like their counterpart for the most part (at least as much as they can) and the actual motions are beautifully done. World Series Baseball has slightly better graphics, but the animations for MVP are far more fluid. Replays are just like on TV and I have yet to see a clipping error.

During Home Runs there are specific celebrations like fireworks. The number of batting stances to choose from is surprisingly large, far larger than what High Heat has offered.

One of the nicer features is the new radar base with picture in picture. The radar base, for those of you who aren't sure what I'm talking about, is the diamond that shows the players on base. In addition to the diamond with the little blips, it also has the images of the players and the button that controls them. This makes baserunning very easy and provides a nice twist to the classic base.

The Stadiums are done excellently as well. They aren't perfect, but they're close.

My only complaint is that the stat boxes that pop up in game aren't as nicely done as WSB. I would've liked to see a deal with Fox or another network to use thier TV logos and images.

The Menus and options creens are well done, but nothing special. One thing of note is that when you move from one month to another, there is a very nice animation indicating the move. The only downside is that when the music changes in the menu screens, a little screen telling you the track info pops up and it's very annoying, sometimes blocking youur views of what you're working on.


I ran out of room in Gameplay, so this is going here. When you need a new pitcher, you can just bring one in. No Bullpen, no picther warmup. While this is nice for those of us who want a quick game, a bullpen and warmup option would've been nice.
Sound: The sounds in the game impressed me for the most part. The effects match up, including catchers mits popping bropperly, bats cracking or snapping depending on whether or not they broke. Player specific cheers are also there (like MVP for Barry Bonds or A-Rod).

The music is alright. The choice not to include custom soundtracks bothers me a little since the music they gave isn't exactly the greatest. Slightly repetetive and all sounding fairly similar, the music was a definite disappointment.

One of the most important features, the play by play, is some of the worst I've ever heard. While it's not repetetive, it's dry and emotionless. Over the course of 15-20 games, I've heard 2 or 3 funny or memorable things come from their mouths. The commentary is done by the crew from the San Fancisco Giants, and they are terrible in comparison to people like Vin Scully, Jack Buck or Will McDounnaugh. They give nothing to the game and at times detract. I did learn something from them, though: Nomar is named for his father Ramon and has the same name spelled backwards. Interesting stuff.
Suggestions: Obviously this was just a building block. here is what you need to do to guarantee the top spot next year:
1) Add a farm system of at least one level, preferably 2 or 3.
2) Get better commentators. Try Boston, St Louis or Chicago.
3) Add front office contracts to the franchise mode (manager, coaches, scouting directors)
4) Custom soundtrack support and and option for custom batter walk-up music
5) Online Play
6) All-time greats teams
7) Expansion team option
8) Pitcher Warm-ups/Bullpens... it's unrealistic to just bring a new pitcher in.

Those are the feature the other games have that you don't. Get them.

Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 60 %

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