In baseball, if a pitcher starts losing control the manager yanks him. Its 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. Its 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, theyve gone for a slightly tilted camera that better simulates a batters view of the ball screaming in. The only graphical glitch is that the batting box is too small visually. Curves dont break correctly, change-ups dont 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 Baseballs rookie error) but changing players is neither quick nor easy and the game forces your player to dive when you dont want to. Tossing it back to base isnt as intuitive or smooth as it should be either. Youll get used to it but, again, other games do it much better. MVP is a strong debut but it just isnt a contender for the Hall of Fame.--Andrew S. Bub Pros: Great graphics Realistic baseball action Franchise mode Cons: Pitches dont "break" correctly Fielding system is out of whack Franchise mode lacks initial draft
- 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.