MLB Power Pros

A short review.

MLB Power Pros is exactly what hardcore sports people think is approachable, but isn’t.

It is essentially a hardcore baseball sim with a coat of kid-friendly nuance on top. The game is still chock full of abbreviations that no one with a passing level of baseball knowledge could be expected to know and no one beside the game designers and rabid fans could understand how it affects gameplay. The controls are of the same complexity as I experienced playing The Show and MVP NCAA Baseball. There’s nothing more approachable here. You either can modify the settings to make it stupidly easy or the computer can act with artificial precision and you will get blown out. I imagine if I spent a lot of time with it, I could get a competitive game out of it like I can now do with NCAA Football, but I honestly don’t want to make that investment. I want something fun and approachable without turning it into a fantasy or having a Wii-Sports level of hand holding.

One noteworthy feature is the game allows you to automate almost any element of gameplay that you don’t want to do. I immediately automated base-running as I’ve always found that to be a chore. However, I’ve found that I should probably just as well automate everything as the CPU seems to be able to do things that I cannot – namely, hit sacrifice flys and successfully hit farther than an infield fly without using the “power” option. There’s nothing here besides MVP/MLB with a Japanese twist. It’s a hardcore game for hardcore baseball fan parents to give to their kids to hope that they too turn into hardcore baseball people.

Miscellaneous notes:

1. Dear 2k Sports: Perhaps you did not know, but PNC Park is in Pittsburgh, not New York City. Please update your maps. I understand that people from Pittsburgh may not realize they have a major league ball club there, but there’s no reason that you shouldn’t know

2. Dear Take Two: When did PS2 packaging change to eschew the memory card holder? This is definitely a game you would want to port your created players/teams/etc. around. Why would you leave out the memory card holder? I ended up swapping my packaging with my Sly 2 packaging so I could have a memory card holder.

4 thoughts on “MLB Power Pros”

  1. well, contrary to its aesthetics, i don’t think the power pro series is meant to be casual at all in its native territory (japan.) not that you shouldn’t knock it for being incomprehensible if you didn’t, but it’s not a mistake of intent on the part of the developer. it’s probably just a look/intent mismatch in the US market (particularly post-wii-sports.)

    as for the case thing, it’s showing up on a variety of PS2 games from different publishers. not sure if it’s an across-the-board change or a cheaper option for some publishers, however.

  2. My 5 year old son and I play it a lot…on the Wii. And yeah, we do dumb it down so he can play, but it’s been a great tool for him to learn the game.

    Will he have a leg up when it comes to the real thing. Uh, maybe in stats.

  3. I don’t mean to blame the developers. My expectations just didn’t really match the final product. For what it is, it gets the job done. I just had a different expectation of what it would be.

    I do think the automate-whatever-you-want is pretty innovative and I think more sports games should look into it if appropriate.

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