Platform: PlayStation 2
Da Introduction: If you’re a baseball fan you’re gonna love what Sony’s brought to the plate in this one! You’ll need to rely on your “feel” for the game when pitching and batting as the vibrations of your controller guide you. And if that’s not enough, use your EyeToy to take a snapshot of yourselve and map that to a player – now you’re really in the game! If you have the Ethernet adapter you can login online and challenge other players. Put it all together and you’ll be singing “Take me out to the ball game” in no time! Batter Up! Da Graphics: Quite amazing! It never ceases to amaze me how the graphics keep getting better. This game is no exception. While the crowd is still not very detailed, the actual players and field are very well done. Right down to the way a players shirt moves as he swings the bat or pitches that fastball – the animation is fantastic! This helps a great deal when batting because the ball is easier to follow on the screen making it easier to hit. Overall the graphics great and do a great deal to “put” you in the game. Da Toys: An extra feature included in this game that increases your presence within the game is the EyeToy (sold separately). If you have the EyeToy camera you can use it to take a snapshot of your mug and then map it to an animated character for use within the game. This is a really cool feature and does work however you’ll have a bit of a time getting the snapshot right – it took me about 4 tries but finally I got it just the right size to match the head size of the character for mapping. From there you can change your player’s name, head shape, build, hand, position and much more. You can create yourself as you wish. My only criticism here is the difficulty in taking the picture – there should be some framing lines to indicate where your head should be in the picture to match the character mapping. One other cool thing about this game is its online capabilities. If you have the Ethernet adapter you can login to the MLB server and challenge other players to games. While you’re in the main online room, you’ll have the ability to select a room of players to enter where you can initiate or accept challenges as well as some real time sports scores that stream in ticker-style like CNN or something – cool!! If you don’t have the Ethernet adapter you’ll still be able to enjoy the game and all its features however you should seriously go buy one – the online play adds a new dimension to your game! Da Sound: The sound in this game is quite good. The sound track contains typical ball park tunes and the sound effects when pitching, hitting and running are impeccable. Moreover the crowd will give great cheers if you hit a home run or strike a batter out. Throughout the game you’ll hear the ups and downs of the crowd based on the play they are watching. If you’ve got surround sound you’ll really feel like you’re in the stands! Da Gameplay: Most of the baseball games out there are quite similar in their game play. Instead of the simple controls for batting and pitching, such as pushing the directional pad in a certain direction while pushing your action button, MLB 2005 takes a slightly different approach. On top of the standard operation you will now experience a vibration in the controller which will help indicate strike zone compliance. In other words, when you are pitching you will need to preselect the area of the strike zone where you’ll send your pitch. As that area leaves the primary strike zone your controller will begin to vibrate. The vibration will increase as you continue away from the strike zone. It takes a bit of getting used to but after a while you’ll find it quite helpful in deciding your pitches and where to throw them. Batting controls are much the same as always, except that your batter will have certain areas of hot and cold – in other words they will have a greater chance of hitting a ball thrown to certain areas of the strike zone than others. As a twist, your batters have the ability to “learn” pitches which can lead to them turning cold zones into hot zones. The more a batter “sees” a pitch, the more likely he is to hit it next time. A very cool feature that builds in some A.I. never present before in a baseball game. Aside from the batting and pitching controls you’ll have to contend with field play. Overall these controls are the same as all other games – left is 3rd base, up is 2nd, right is 1st and so on……your players can dive for balls, jump to stop homeruns and sit under the pop-fly marker to catch those fly balls in the field. If you’re quick enough you can get a double or even triple play!! Good luck! Da Conclusion: There are only a few sports games I enjoy playing and baseball is one of them. The refreshingly new approach to the game play in this one makes it among the best baseball games I’ve ever played! The online aspect to the game adds a certain amount of reality to the challenge in that you can play others without leaving your living room. And with the ability to “put” your face in the game with the EyeToy, you’re going to have a very real experience! I’d go pick this one up – you’ll not regret it! You might want to grab some hot dogs and popcorn as it may be the only thing missing!