MVP Baseball 2005 is a baseball video game developed and published by Electronic Arts. It features former Boston Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez on its game cover. The game features full Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and Major League Baseball Players Association licenses. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball simulations of all time, holding the 98th spot on IGN's reader's choice top 100 games ever as of 2006. As with previous versions of the game, the announcers are Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow, real life announcers for the San Francisco Giants.
Like most Major League Baseball video games, MVP Baseball 2005 includes all 30 official Major League Baseball teams and stadiums, as well as the more than 1,000 individual players that populate each team. It includes authentic minor league teams and actual minor league players by including double-A and triple-A-level farm teams. 2005's installment includes single-A ball clubs as well (mostly from the Florida State League), giving each MLB team three levels of minor league farm clubs. Two legends teams, 63 legendary players, 15 classic stadiums, five fantasy parks, and more than 100 retro uniforms round out the list of included unlockable features. Rosters are current as of January 12, 2005, and the game included the then new Washington Nationals, along with their then temporary home, RFK Stadium. At the time, new rosters could be downloaded to the Xbox and PS2 versions of the game by accessing their online play menus.
As far as play modes go, MVP Baseball 2005 includes an exhibition mode, a manager's mode, two different franchise modes, a scenario editor, and a handful of baseball-themed practice games. The exhibition mode, lets the player quickly set up a game against another team, and both pick a starting pitcher and adjust the lineup, if need be. The manager mode, where each at-bat is simulated based on the choices the players make before the opening pitch. The players don't actually see the players swing or make plays. Instead, the player picks from a list of managerial choices, and the outcome of each play is printed onscreen in a running box score. The scenario editor lets the players adjust 20 different variables—such as the teams involved, the inning, the count, who's on base, and so on—so the players can set up every possible baseball scenario that has ever occurred in the history of the sport.
One interesting quirk about MVP Baseball 2005 is Kuiper's commentary about switch-hitters who are currently batting, claiming the batter hits better from one side when, looking at the batter's power and/or contact stats, they actually hit better from the other side. For example, although Lance Berkman's power and contact stats are both higher batting left-handed in the game by default, Kuiper will claim that Berkman hits better batting right-handed. Another quirk in the game is that Kuiper claims Hack Wilson set the MLB single-season runs scored record with 192 runs scored in 1930. However, Hack Wilson actually set the MLB single-season RBIs record with 191 RBIs in 1930.
Both the dynasty and owner's modes keep track of all sorts of events and statistics that diehard baseball fans want to see in a video game. Injuries and suspensions occur throughout the season, requiring the players to adjust lineups accordingly. Other teams will offer trades, and some of the players' own players will ask to be traded. It's up to the players whether the players choose to act on or ignore their requests. Games are sometimes canceled due to rainouts, which the computer handles by automatically rescheduling the contest at a later date, sometimes as a day/night doubleheader. On the statistics side of things, the game keeps a running tally of current season and previous season statistics in 64 different categories, along with 120 years' worth of league leader statistics.
Dynasty mode lets gamers draft and manage a team for up to 120 full seasons, including spring training games. Responsibilities include setting lineups, making trades, and shuffling players up and down through the team's three minor league farm clubs. Team chemistry, rivalries, and player moods are also variables in the dynasty mode that can be strengthened or weakened by win/loss records, player salaries, playing time, and position in the batting order or pitching rotation. The players' moods can be monitored via face icons in each player's profile. If a player is unhappy or wants to be traded, the player may send a message in MVP Inbox asking the players if they could consider their desires. The game also makes things interesting by giving a constantly changing series of one-year and three-year goals to live up to. Meeting these goals boosts managerial rating and team chemistry. Failing to do so has an opposite effect. Games in the dynasty mode can be played in real time, or entire chunks of the season can be simulated in one fell swoop. The dynasty mode in MVP Baseball 2004 had a bug that made it impossible for computer-generated players to evolve into A-list superstars unless the players actually played at least 95 percent of team's games. That was fixed in the 2005 release. Also, it's now possible to give players an added stats bonus by playing the batting and pitching minigames during spring training. Saving a few million dollars in team's budget in case players are unhappy with their contracts or if the players acquire penalties costing money is a smart idea for gamers.
The second franchise-style mode in MVP Baseball 2005 is called owner mode, and, much like the similar mode in EA's Madden NFL games, it tacks ownership and financial responsibilities on to the already feature-rich dynasty modeTemplate:Citation needed. Here the players can set ticket and concessions prices, hire staff, buy and sell new stadium shops, schedule promotional giveaways, and buy all sorts of stadium upgrades (such as scoreboards, additional seats, home run fireworks, luxury boxes, and so on). The overriding goal is to run the team for 30 years and retire with as much money in the bank as possible. To aid this goal, there are a variety of player, team, and financial reports to look at that show team's progress on a daily and yearly basis. One of the more interesting aspects of the owner mode is that it also lets the players design a custom ballpark for the team. The ballpark editor isn't very powerful, because it only lets the players pick from a set list of various locations, field shapes, and seat colors, as well as specific wall, grass, and dirt designs. However, it does at least let the players add on additional seating levels and grandstands throughout the course of the career.
The most prominent new feature in the 2005 game is the "Hitter's Eye" system, which turns the baseball different colors in the pitcher's hand (remains white for fastballs, red for breaking pitches, green for off-speed pitches, pink for sinkerballs and orange for knuckleballs) and leaves a trail as the ball flies through the air toward the plate to aid in hitting, which game developers said had been too difficult in previous versions. In addition to the Hitter's Eye, an Owner Mode feature and pitching and hitting Mini Games were added. Other minor features include the ability for the managers to argue with the umpires at any time (automatic ejection for arguing balls and strikes) and a slow motion overhead view of the plate that can be accessed after every pitch (pitch/swing analysis) to see pitch location or the batter's timing. Games can also be rained out, forcing a player to play a doubleheader. Minor league teams from the California, Carolina, and Florida State Leagues (High A) were added to their respective teams, all though most Minor League rosters are incomplete and feature developer-created replacement players. The game also supported online play, but as of 2008 the servers for the Xbox and PS2 versions of the game are unavailable.
MVP Baseball 2005 received the award for best sports video game of 2005 from X-Play.
Due to a late 2005 contract with Major League Baseball, MVP Baseball 2005 was the last addition to the MVP/Triple Play EA Sports baseball franchise.
With Microsoft's November 2007 update for the Xbox 360, the entire MVP series on Xbox was made backwards compatible with the 360, however MVP Baseball 2005, despite being listed as backwards compatible, does not function correctly as of yet.
As of January 17, 2008 MVP Baseball 2005 was taken off of Xbox's backwards compatible list. No word on whether or not the game will return.
The soundtrack has the following songs:
- "An Honest Mistake" by The Bravery
- "Funny Little Feeling" by Rock n Roll Soldiers
- "Pressure Point" by The Zutons
- "You Owe Me an IOU" by Hot Hot Heat
- "Tessie" by the Dropkick Murphys
- "The IROC-Z Song" by The High Speed Scene
- "Let It Dive" by …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
- "Finding Out True Love is Blind" by Louis XIV
- "We Got the Noise" by The Donots
The Xbox game cannot import songs onto the game.
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