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ElMaco666
19-01-2007, 06:43 AM
here is a preview for MVP 07 NCAA Baseball

Last year saw big changes for MVP baseball series. After Take-Two secured the exclusive third-party publishing license for Major League Baseball, the EA Canada team behind the series knew changes were in store. Fortunately for sports-gaming fans, the team transitioned smoothly from the big leagues to college baseball with MVP 06 NCAA Baseball. The upcoming release of the sequel, MVP 07 NCAA Baseball, takes the idea of change one step further with something old--namely, lots of collegiate spirit--and more than a few things new. We had a chance to play the game at a recent EA press event and like where the game is heading.



PS2 face buttons are so 2004. Thanks to a new pitching system, MVP 07's gameplay is almost entirely centered on the analog sticks.
It's quite possible that you'll spend the vast majority of your time playing MVP 07 with your thumbs on the two analog sticks. Last year's game introduced analog fielding and batting, and, this year, the final piece of the puzzle--pitching--is going analog, too. This is easily the most radical departure for the game--a new pitching interface--one that brings you a bit more inside the pitching process than in previous games, and one that requires some practice to get used to.

Here's how it works. To choose a pitch, you simply press the button associated with the pitch type you're looking for, and aiming your pitch is still done with the left analog stick. From there, a new vertical pitching meter will appear onscreen. To begin the windup, you pull back with the right analog stick, which will set a bar on the vertical meter in motion. Once the bar moves down to the optimal point (and the pitcher reaches the apex of his windup), you push forward with the right stick in the direction of where you are aiming the left analog stick. So, if you are looking to throw on the right edge of the strike zone and are aiming the left stick at 45 degrees to the right, you'll want to make sure you push the right analog stick through at that same angle during the follow-through. The timing of your windup and the accuracy of your aim will determine the success of a pitch; release too early or too late and the ball might be well off the mark. The new pitching system is complemented by a new camera view when on the mound, one that is brought in much closer to the pitcher.

Despite most of the controls moving to the analog sticks, we're pleased to report that MVP 07 still plays an intuitive game of baseball. It takes a bit of adjustment getting back to the analog fielding--especially considering the players in the game are modeled after college players and aren't always going to rocket the throw from centerfield to second with pinpoint accuracy. In fact, that's one of the things the game seems to get right. With the amateur players on the field, there's always a sense that any play can turn into something bigger because of an errant throw or bobbled catch. Another previous MVP innovation, the color-coded pitch, returns in MVP 07 and should help you more easily identify a breaking ball from a fastball, though making contact is still up to you and your aluminum bat.

If you're having trouble acclimating yourself to the new pitching system in a game situation, the two new pitching-based minigames should be a welcome addition. The first, known as "rock and fire challenge," tests your accuracy on the mound by challenging you to hit a number of color-coded squares in a strike zone within a time limit. Pitch accurately, and you'll earn hits and eventually score runs; score enough runs, and you'll move on to the next round. A variation, known as "rock and fire showdown," pits you directly against a rival pitcher (either the computer or another player). Both pitchers throw at the same time, with one on offense trying to score runs and the other on defense trying to end the inning as quickly as possible by also making accurate pitches. The rock-and-fire pitch contests are just a few of the minigames found in MVP 07--others include last year's pitching minigames (using the new pitch system, naturally), as well as a couple of batting games, including a home run showdown.

MVP 07 is more than just minigames, however. Other modes in the game include a dynasty mode that seems just as in-depth and enjoyable as last year's game (including the ability to play, simulate, or manage games using coach mode); a tournament mode, where you can create tournaments for up to eight teams and customize the rules as you see fit (you can even use wooden bats if you turn on summer-league rules); online play; and exhibition modes. If you and a buddy want to play on the same PlayStation 2, you can choose to play against one another or join forces on the same team, switching off between pitching and fielding when on defense, or batting and base-running when playing offense, with a simple press of the select button.

Just as in college football, the talent level between the top-tier schools in the sport--the North Carolina's and Oregon State's of the NCAA world--and the rest can be fairly extreme. Because of that, MVP 07 will let you quickly and easily customize your rosters to make sure your favorite team can compete with the game's best. When entering an exhibition game, you'll have the option to choose from your default roster or from a number of presets built around a particular style of play. Choosing the sluggers option, for example, will give you a roster full of powerful hitters, while the small ball roster option will give you a better chance at manufacturing runs. Other options include aces and balanced, and each option on the list will have a trade-off--the sluggers option, for example, might be good for the long ball, but they won't be as proficient in the field or when running the bases.

It wouldn't be a college sports game without loads of school spirit, and while MVP 06 was a bit lacking in that area, MVP 07 seems to be making up for it a bit. The crowds seem to be a bit noisier in the game, there are more fight songs to listen to, and perhaps most importantly, there are more real-life stadiums to play in, including Arkansas' Charlie Baum Stadium (complete with virtual representations of the Hogs' cheerleaders, the RBI girls).



The road to Omaha begins here--take your favorite school to collegiate glory in dynasty mode.
ESPN integration was first introduced in MVP 06, and the same features will be present in MVP 07, including the ability to listen to ESPN radio broadcasts streamed every 20 minutes to your PS2, as well as a constantly updating ticker to provide you with the latest scores, baseball or otherwise. ESPN's Mike Patrick and Kyle Peterson will handle microphone duties during the games, and you can even ask for pitch advice from the two-time All American Peterson while in game by pressing the L3 button.

In a market full of big-league baseball games, it's nice that EA Sports isn't afraid to try new things with its MVP series--as evidenced by the unique control scheme in MVP 07. The game is due to arrive in early February, and we'll be bringing you more updates on the game in the weeks leading up to its release, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you have specific questions about MVP 07, hit us up in this thread in the MVP 07 forum, and we'll do our best to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

All information from Gamespot