IGN Review of MLB Power Pros 2008
The MLB Power Pros franchise hit Wii and PS2 last year with one heck of a bang. Originating nearly two decades ago in Japan, the Power Pro series is known worldwide as the most in-depth (though tongue in cheek in style) baseball game out there, combining the simplistic look and feel of games like RBI Baseball and chibi anime with classic controls that inspired the likes of All Star Baseball. Being a huge fan of the Power Pro franchise long before the games came to America, I've imported and tracked the titles as the DS continues its lifespan, and have been holding a somewhat reserved, skeptical breath that we'd ever see the series land on DS in a worldwide capacity. 2008 is the year though, as MLB Power Pros 2008 has hit store shelves for the first time on a pocket system in the good old USA.
But hold on. This isn't the Power Pro importers have been begging to get stateside. It's something different.
In the move from Japan to a more worldwide, release (and the first with the MLB franchise), the console versions of MLB Power Pros have turned out extremely well, showcasing the US teams with a mix of tournament and single-player modes, some Wii-exclusive options, the series favorite Success Mode, hordes of stat tracking, and even a new alternate Success Mode sequel, called MLB Life. Needless to say, the game does its Japanese counterpart justice. On the DS front, however, MLB Power Pros 2008 will still be an entertaining title, and the best baseball game on the system thus far, but it's also a shell of a game compared to the Japanese Power Pro franchise, missing out on nearly every feature from the game's roots. What's up with that?
Rest assured that if you're a huge MLB fan, and you're looking to pick up a fun, working baseball game on DS (there has been a lot of shovelware), MLB Power Pros is still your big-headed, armless knight in shining armor. You'll get the same great gameplay and look as you'd find on the consoles, some single player, multiplayer, and DS download play for single card play (nice), as well as a playoffs mode, practice area where newcomers can learn all about how to play Power Pros, a team edit mode where you can swap any player from any team, and create a new custom team, a home run derby mode, and pretty skimpy list of options.
On the field, everything runs well, but there are some strange tweaks that have been made to it all, namely the emphasis on 3D display, rather than the classic 2D look. We're always down to see a game push the system, and MLB Power Pros does a decent job of pulling off the 3D look, but if we had to chose between the slick, bright, stylistic display of the recently released Power Pro 10 DS in Japan and MLB Power Pros, we'd go 2D, as it's a much more beautiful, and a much less generic look. The 3D look works, and the framerate holds up during it all, it just lacks the level of detail and overall clean feeling that the Japanese counterparts have had since the beginning of DS's life.
Gameplay is classic Power Pro standard, using free-aim cursors for batting and pitching, and then launching into the expected "face buttons are bases" throwing control. It's a fun game of baseball, but it's also missing all the stat tracking and options from the console games, instead having just a few ways to change options pre-game and do your thing. The real issue here is the lack of any type of season mode or long-term gameplay, something that the DS games have been doing for years already outside our region.
©2008-08-27, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved