The Basics: If anyone is familiar with me and my writing, they probably already know that EA isn’t exactly on my love list, as I’m a rather avid fan of 2K sports and their titles. With that said, there are two titles from EA that I can’t help but love: MVP Baseball and NCAA football. So a few days ago I get a message in my inbox forwarded to me from EA via Chris telling me that the two or being combined in a way. January 18th, 2006, MVP 06 NCAA Baseball will be hitting shelves at a MSRP of $29.99. From the same people who make MVP Baseball, EA will be hitting us with their newest baseball game, and the first ever college baseball game, since the loss of access to MLB licensing.
One thing that I find interesting about MVP 06 NCAA Baseball over its MLB counterparts is the stress on team interaction, something so important in college sports, as opposed to the focus on the superstar. When a player goes long, the camera will focus on the team running to greet the batter as opposed to the player rounding the bases. Its little things like this that will help an NCAA baseball game succeed in a world of MLB licenses.
As much as I loved the ESPN overlay in the 2K Sports games, news of the new EA ESPN Integration that will be seen first with MVP 06 NCAA Baseball has me more excited than anything else. Once a player logs onto the internet with the game, the game will then automatically connect every time the game is booted up. With this new ESPN Integration, an ESPN ticker will scroll on the bottom of the screen with real, up-to-date scores of various sports during all aspects of the game. Every 20 minutes, as well, up-to-date ESPN Sportscenter Radio updates are streamed directly from the ESPN Radio studios for us to listen to. EA made good on their deal with ESPN, as far as I’m concerned.
In this year’s dynasty mode, year round recruiting will be present, new NCAA Challenges, and a rehauled Team Goals. Finally, there is a new Load and Fire batting system, as well as a new precision throwing control scheme. The Load and Fire batting requires the player pull back on the stick to load up the swing, and then flick it forward to fire the swing after picking up the pitch. The precision throwing will work much the same way, with the player pushing the stick in the direction of the desired base, and then releasing in time with a meter, but allowing the meter to fill too much makes the throw go high, and too little to go low. An interesting tidbit: accuracy in the direction of the stick in relation to the base relates to accuracy of the throw.
What do we think? Although not a fan of EA Sports in general, MVP 06 NCAA Baseball is a game I’ll be picking up, especially at the $29.99 price point. With 128 schools present, I’ll be sure to let the ACC know the Terrapins are boss. (Unfortunately, I need video games for that) With its basis on last year’s MVP Baseball 2005, there’s a solid system already in place, and MVP 06 NCAA Baseball will be, I suspect, an extraordinary game.
Hit the next page to check out a Producer Interview with Ben Brinkman for more details on MVP 06.