No.. I’m not talking about ticket prices at Fenway (unfortunately) nor do I really care to rant and rave about how much baseball players get paid to play a game that I love (whilst doing drugs, not having to show up in court, etc..). Rather, I’m talking about Sega’s pricewar with EA Sports.
I think it started about a year or so ago, when Sega’s ESPN Video Game series took EA Sports head-on in a challenge to win marketshare. In order to fight on the same playing field as John Madden Football (the most notable football game on the market, Sega dropped it’s price from the typical $39.99 to $19.99. This showed the players that they didn’t need to spend the extra $20 to get a game just as good as Madden. Some people took advantage of it, some didn’t.
Last year I purchased Sega’s Baseball game: MLB 2K4 for this reason, and felt content. This year, EA Sports has taken the hint and reduced the cost of MVP 2005 to 29.99 to compete with Sega’s low price point. When I bought Sega’s newest version of the game for $19.99, they claimed that they had totally re-vamped the game, all brand new — many great features and loads of options, which is true. I enjoyed playing it — last weekend.
Friday, I did something bad. I went online and read reviews comparing Sega’s ESPN game to EA’s MVP game. MVP won by a landslide. For the extra $10, it really is that much better.
While both games have changed the pitching style, MVP really does a much better job. Rather than just choosing a pitch, location and strength, it actually requires a little skill ( or luck) for both games in order to hit the area you’re aiming for. ESPN uses a cross-hair method, while MVP uses more of a action bar similar to that of most football games for place kicking.
MVP also has better fielding. The ability to choose how hard you want to throw (And potentially make an error) adds to the difficulty of the game. You’re not given the option to use “speed burst” like you are in ESPN, but it was a difficult habit to get out of. It makes it more realistic and challenging to make some of those diving catches. ESPN also gives the ability to make a “in your face catch” — which will do a fancy trick while catching. While cool, these really serve little purpose in the actual gameplay.
MVP’s coolest feature is the new “hitter’s eye” — challenging the player to try to spot the pitch before it’s seen. The ball will change color for a brief moment while the pitch is in motion and just after he releases the ball — that you have to try to pick up in order to gain an advantage. Some players such as Bellhon or Youkilis have a better eye and can see the direction of the ball , making it easier to pick balls and strikes, while other players can’t really tell much about the pitch before it’s in the zone.
ESPN does win on one count, however, and that’s the abiltiy to play the runner. It’s fun to try to get the rhythm and motion of the pitcher and spy his pick-off move, then make a mad dash towards second. MVP doesn’t allow this. They both do, however, give you a number of different ways to slide into the base. New for both games, I believe.
Lastly, the interface for MVP is just better. Owner mode gives you the ability to pick concession prices, promoptional days, and other cool stadium features. You need to build your own ballpark when playing in this mode, but I just choose Fenway every time I play a home game — not the default “LTJ Park.” MVP also gives you the option to fully control the Minors, even play minor league games (I know you’ve been dying to play the Portland Seadogs). ESPN only gives you knowledge of your farm system to pick up players. One of the greatest features of MVP is the “pre-series inbox” that sends you an e-mail telling you all about your upcoming series. How to play the pitchers (swing away or be patient at the plate), how to pitch to them, and how to best score. Pretty cool.
So, overall, I say get MVP if you’re comparing the two. The $10 is worth it, if you’re anything like me and planning on playing all 162 games of the season. It’s hours of amusmement that you might as well get the most from — Right?