MLB Power Pros 2008 (Wii)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Monday, August 18, 2008

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 7.00
Gameplay: 8.50
Replays: 8.50
Gamelength: 8.50

The second game in the casual baseball series, “MLB Power Pros 2008″ is now on store shelves and while it’s not going to impress any serious fans of the sport, almost anyone should find something to like about this game.

This is one of those rare titles that even people who hate the source material will find a way to enjoy. It’s almost as if the game was meant to be loathed by serious baseball fanatics, which is actually pretty cool in it’s own way because it opens the baseball genre up to people who aren’t fanatical about the sport. There’s a lot of casual fun to be had, the game is fairly easy and the multiplayer makes for some addictive party style gaming. Hate it or not, put on your favorite sports clothing, grab a baseball bat and join me on the field for a few games of baseball in”MLB Power Pros 2008”.

From a technical standpoint, this game isn’t very impressive. Sure, it runs at a fairly rock solid frame rate and the crazy cartoon style is stangely appealing in it’s own way, but there’s nothing that’s going to make your jaw drop. There’s almost a sort of “cute” atmosphere to this game and because of that, you’re more likely to have an “Awww!” moment than a “That was awesome!” moment. In summary, the visual side of things in “MLB Power Pros 2008” is either going to be a reason for you to hate this game or just another reason to fall in love with it. If you hate cartoon style graphics or little characters with oversized heads, this game is going to be a huge turnoff.

After having played the game with my family for a while, I immediately concluded that the music was completely generic and forgettable. The announcer can also be annoying at times because of constantly repeated phrases, but those go by almost completely unnoticed in most cases. Those are not a game breaking factors, so don’t be thrown off because of it. As for the sound effects, they’re all equally generic, but what more do you want from a sports game? There’s only so much you can do with the sound of a bat hitting a ball or the sound of people running and sliding. In the case of “MLB Power Pros 2008”, the sound department is just good enough. Nothing more, nothing less.

The most important thing that every Wii owner always wants to know is how the game controls. Well, it’s extremely simple. So simple, in fact, that a lot of people may be put off by the control scheme. For batting: Move the bat into the proper position and hit the button at the right time. For pitching: Aim the ball and hit the button at the right time. For the outfield: Simply press the d-pad in the direction of the desired base and the ball will be thrown there. That’s right, folks. There’s not a whole lot of real motion control this time around…UNLESS you toggle the control scheme to the one-handed mode! The outfield becomes controlled by a somewhat stupid AI with the one-handed control scheme, but the classic “Wii Sports” style pitching and batting comes to life all over again. The one-handed AI in the outfield can be very annoying at times and can be the deal sealer in a tough match. Once you’ve adapted yourself to the very easy interface, you’ll probably want to head over to the Practice mode to familiarize yourself with the controls for a few moments. After that, you have plenty of options. The main game mode that sets this title apart from others is the Success mode, where players are put through the career as a baseball player rising through the ranks from the minor leagues and ultimately to the major league World Series. Exhibition mode is of course included, which is an old fashioned single game setup with no real depth, rewards or consequences for winning or losing. MLB Life mode is a rather weird setup that takes the player through a career, but also through crazy side events and even relationships with various women. Challenge mode is essentially a short “Grand Slam” competition where 2 players see who can hit the most of 10 balls over a fence. Season mode is a classic “Pick a team, play through a season, win the World Series” setup that has more appeal to baseball fans than most other modes in this particular game. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to play this title, be it alone or with a friend, but there’s no online play to be seen. This isn’t a big deal, considering most people who own the console prefer local multiplayer with friends and/or family anyway, but it still would have been a nice addition for those players who prefer it. This game is a great entry to the world of baseball, even for people who may despite the sport. There’s a serious amount of fun contained in this tidy little package and it’s definitely worth a look.

Overall, there’s not really anything bad I can say about this game. I’m not a real fan of baseball myself, but I really enjoy playing this game, so the developers had to of done something right!

Pros:
-Plenty of gameplay modes.
-Multiplayer is addictive.
-“Cute” graphical style.

Cons:
-Too easy in most cases.
-Outfield AI is terrible with the motion control setup.
-No online multiplayer or leaderboards.

Bottom Line:
I say rent the game and see if it’s your cup of tea, but if you can get into it, this game will provide you with many hours of addictive fun. It’s a wonderful title and a great bang for the buck.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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