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Baseball is in the Air

James runs down the list of baseball games you should be looking out for

By James Stevenson     March 19, 2004

It's that time of the year where I get out my little soapbox and start thanking God for the joy that is baseball. At some point later today I'll be enjoying the first 70 degree temperature of 2004 here, and watching my Nebraska Cornhuskers take on Boston College in a game of baseball.


I'm not exactly sure what it is about baseball that I love so much, throughout high school I couldn't stand the sport. Thought it was boring. I guess I started to change my tune as the Huskers actually got good, tickets were cheap, and the College World Series is only an hour's drive away.


That said, it's an exciting year for baseball games. There's three competitors that I think all have some pretty awesome features, and a fanboy like me is going to have copies of all three to satisfy my lusts.


First up to bat is EA's MVP BASEBALL 2004. After a rough season last year, the series is back with all sorts of goodies like total control of sliding, catching, throwing, batting, etc. The game plays much better and the franchise mode is pretty good as well. I think after playing this for quite a while the sound is the most noticeable aspect for me. It's absolutely stellar.


989 comes up to the plate next with MLB 2005. MLB probably

MLB 2005.

isn't as solid a game technically, but the main feature I've been having a blast with is the Franchise mode. It allows you to control all of the things like promotions, ticket prices, concession prices, hiring, firing, coaches, facilities, etc. It's a micromanager's dream come true and incredibly fun to play. I've taken the Kansas City Royals to the top with it, and it makes the game worth playing.


Finally, ESPN BASEBALL will come out in mid-April. I'm anxiously awaiting this game as last year's WORLD SERIES 2K3 was the best baseball game on the market. First-person baseball will also be a mode in the new game. Only time will tell if Visual Concepts can stay king of the hill.


Look for a review of MVP next week!


TIDBITS



The WORLD OF WARCRAFT beta has started... UNREAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2 will come to Xbox... EA announced it will return to Mature rated games with THE GODFATHER, a game based on the popular film trilogy...



ON SHELVES


OK, so ALL-STAR BASEBALL 2005 is coming out, but I haven't heard much about it (here's its mention as a baseball game on the market.) Also to be released is COUNTER-STRIKE: CONDITION ZERO. FINAL FANTASY XI and the PS2 HDD hit. Most importantly though: SPLINTER CELL: PANDORA TOMORROW.


 



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