MLB Power Pros 2008 Review

I am a firm believer in the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover,” and in few places in the gaming world have I seen the phrase more applicable than in the MLB Power Pros franchise. Despite its childish exterior, Konami’s MLB Power Pros 2008 is one of the most full-featured and complete arcade baseball games out there, and by adding rpg elements to a sports title, is also one of the most unique.

Anyone who’s played the first MLB Power Pros on the Wii will know exactly what to expect out of MLB Power Pros 2008, because little has changed since last year. Players can choose from a number of typical game modes, such as exhibition, home run derby, practice, season, league play, and team/player management, as well as the series’ unique MLB Life and Success modes.

The game uses a cursor-alignment hitting interface that is very similar to what has been used in the All-Star Baseball franchise. Players choose between a contact and power swing, use the analog stick to line up the bat graphic with the ball icon, and then swing with the A button. Only “Wii Remote” mode–a very elementary exhibition or home run derby–makes use of motion controls for pitching and hitting.

The game’s normal Exhibition mode is fairly straightforward, allowing players to adjust a number of different settings (teams, lineups, uniforms, stadium, game rules, weather conditions, control settings, etc) before jumping into the action. Home run derby and practice modes are just what one might expect, except for the inexplicable and nonsensical lack of multiplayer support in home run derby mode. In order to have a home run derby with a couple of friends, players must play a series of single-player derbies, rather than taking turns in a unified competition.

Season mode is actually a multi-season affair, and allows players to start from scratch with options for a full draft, created players, expansion teams, etc., or to simply choose an existing MLB squad and customize a handful of league and game settings. Once the season is underway, games can be played out in full, monitored in strategic “fast game” mode, or controlled via a hybrid of both approaches. League mode is a six-team, custom-length mini season, minus the GM work.

Success mode can most aptly be categorized as a baseball-themed role-playing game. Players create a character and bring him up through the ranks, improving skills through play and practice while managing a variety of outside-the-lines obligations such as health, finances, and relationships. The ultimate goal here is to become a successful Major League player. This whole process turns out to be a uniquely fun and moderately addicting experience, especially for gamers who may not be die-hard baseball fans or who may not be interested in all of the nuts and bolts of the game that come along with extensive team management. Success mode has a different set of nuts and bolts to tinker with.

The new MLB Life mode is very similar to Success mode, but focuses on a Major Leaguer’s career over the span of 20 years. Either a real-life ballplayer or a custom creation can be used in MLB Life, and players will be responsible for keeping him equipped with the best gloves, bats, workout equipment, cars, houses, etc. Even marriage, children, and charitable donations come into play throughout the career. This focus on the individual is further exemplified by the fact that only the player’s at-bats are played out; the rest of the team’s performance is simulated. There’s no “I” in team, but there is a “me.”

Speaking of things that are NOT included, players won’t find any sort of online play in MLB Power Pros 2008. They won’t find any decent (or even coherent) commentary, either. The announcers in this game may be the worst I’ve heard in a baseball videogame in the last 10 years. On multiple occasions (that means at least once an inning), they will call a play that never happened, make up game situations that don’t exist, or say something else that simply doesn’t make any sense. Not only is it bad, it is sad to hear.

MLB Power Pros 2008 is a solid baseball game. The breadth of options that are included on this disc will appeal to baseball fanatics, casual fans, and non-fans alike. Major deterrents for the most staunch simulation players would clearly be the game’s audio/visual presentation and its overly forgiving gameplay difficulty, but for what it offers (and that’s a lot), it gets the job done and lets you have fun.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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