IGN Review of MLB Power Pros 2008
We said it last year, and we'll kick things off by saying it again this year. The fact that MLB Power Pros even exists for gamers to play stateside is a treat in and of itself, and for a series that has existed nearly two decades in Japan alone, it's great to finally be able to see it making it big worldwide.
Like last year's effort, MLB Power Pros is a mix of Konami and 2K's love of the classic Power Pro series in Japan, and the professional powerhouse of United States Major League Baseball. The experience you get – whether you play it on Wii, or on PS2 – is one that's truly unique, a bit bizarre of you aren't ready for the visual look, but undeniably an impressive slice of classic baseball. For those that don't know the series history or are stumbling onto MLB Power Pros for the first time, we really, truly encourage you to check out our previous hands-on coverage, or last year's review, as there's too much to go over time and time again for each review of the game. With that being said, let's get into what's up with MLB Power Pros this year.
First off, anyone that didn't pick up last year's MLB Power Pros (for shame, if that's you) should look no further for which version of the game to grab. 2008 may be nearly identical in many ways to last year's offering, but it's also got a few additions that make it better, and 2008 is hands-down the definitive version thus far. Grab it on PS2 or Wii, it really doesn't matter, save the same Wii-mote mode that was included last year, which allows simple waggle controls and Mii support for only exhibition play and home run derby. The rest is the same across both platforms.
As far as the core experience goes, MLB Power Pros is just as deep, customizable, and downright overwhelming as it was last year, with everything from a manager mode for trades, salary negations, and free agent signing, to full "create a player/team" modes, a story-driven, anime life sim Success Mode that'll last you well over 40 hours, and more stat tracking than can be found in any other baseball game out there, period. You'll still get the same general controls – good and bad, since there's no real Wii progression in the series yet – with the best way to play still being classic controller on Wii, or PS2 controller (nearly identical in how they are laid out, and what works), and the game is still a hybrid mix of insane stats and options, blended with the RBI baseball feel and aim/hit controls of something like All Star Baseball 2000-whatever.
We're not going to write a novel this time – we promised we wouldn't – so we'll dive into what specifically has changed. It isn't much, but it adds up. This year you'll see hot and cold boxes for batting, a new pitching mode that lets you pitch with real-time controls (simiar to a Hot Shots Golf tap system, this time for delivering accuracy and power when pitching) if you want to, more unlockable stadiums, players, equipment, and baseball cards for each MLB player, the option to change things like on-screen icons, pitch icons, batting HUD pieces, and the like. These are all minor changes, but the final one on the list isn't, which is MLB Life Mode.
MLB Life Mode, like Success Mode, is a mix of sim gameplay, relationship building and "out of baseball" life RPG moments, as well as traditional play. Following 20 years of a major league career (your favorite pro, or your own created character) you'll trade out the homework, studying, and overall school-based challenges in Success Mode for things like donations, car/house shopping, relationship building (both with the team, and a potential cutie-pie girlfriend) and more. There's a whole new system in place for upgrades to your player, practice and stat boosting, special MLB powers to make your pro more of a superstar, and "moment to moment" gameplay during games, where you control only your player as they determine key moments in the games on both offense and defense. Success Mode is still included, and it's a big as ever (continuing the story from the last game), but MLB Life is another 75+ hours of gameplay you could dive into should you choose to. 20 years is a long, long time in this mode.
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