989 Sports has never had the best reputation among developers. The studio has struggled badly with all its releases on the PlayStation 2, with the notable exception of the World Tour Soccer series. This is made worse by their release of MLB 2004 last year, which is an absolutely mediocre title that is far from being on par with the rest of the baseball titles in the market. Now they are back with their latest installment of the LMB series - MLB 2005, and praise the Lord, a title that may be worth your while.
Looking back at MLB 2004 last year, it was one of those games that demonstrated what no to do in making a baseball title. This may sound quite harsh, but bear with me as surprisingly the rest of the review will be containing mostly praises for the new baseball title. MLB 2004 had so many problems, and the game played like something from the days of the SNES or Sega Genesis, it just wasn’t up to par with baseball games on the next generation consoles. Now 989 Sports has listened to all the criticism, and redefined the game’s structure and engine, resulting in an enjoyable and thoroughly decent offering. In fact, LMB 2005 is actually quite good, and will probably be a strong contender for the top baseball game on the market, if 989 Sports can keep up the good work.
One thing that 989 Sports has always been capable of doing, is getting all of the necessary game modes in their games plus some, which is also found true in MLB 2005. There are so many modes to be found in MLB 2005, you have the Exhibition, Homerun Derby, Season, Playoffs, Career, Franchise, and Online Modes. So as you can probably see right here that you have quite a few choices.
Probably by far the most interesting out of those modes is the Career Mode, which allows you to create a player and then allows you to take him into Spring Training. Your goal into Spring Training is to do well enough to make it on the team, if you make it this far then you are getting there. Throughout the season you will get points for each milestone that your player reaches, which means you get to upgrade your player and make him even better.
The franchise mode of MLB 2005 is also quite an impressive one, with quite a few features, and so much depth in the owners position that you will be kept just as busy on the off-season then you will on the on season. As the owner of a ball club you will have to not only manage who will be playing for your team but also so many small details that go into running a baseball team. This is in fact is a great franchise mode that truly is as complex as you can get.
The online play in MLB 2005 is also another great selling point for 989 Sport’s MLB 2005. In this mode you have plenty of options to create the exact baseball game you would like to play online. One thing 989 Sports has been doing right over the last year or so is creating great online mode’s for there game’s and MLB 2005 is no exception. The online mode is set up beautifully and works just as you would expect it to. Along with the normal game mode’s 989 has thrown in some extras, some of which actually have some true potential. If you read anything about MLB 2005 before it was released, you probably read that the game supports Sony’s Eye Toy, which means you can bring your face into the game. Now this is sort of a gimmick because it doesn’t work overly well but just the idea of that being possible is something that will be a lot of fun to see in the next few years.
The gameplay of MLB 2005 is pretty straight forward and standard, Batting is simply taking after the late High Heat series, which means there is no real skill involved in hitting the ball. Pitching is the basic select the pitch and move the ball where you want to throw it. When comparing MLB 2005 to last year’s edition of the series you can see that everything about that game has been smoothed out and has been worked on immensely. Overall the gameplay truly has the potential next year to make some serious noise in the baseball market and maybe even give the big boy’s a run for their money.
Wow, what an improvement from last year’s effort, there is no comparison when looking at the two games. Last year in my review of MLB 2004 you might remember that the graphics were really struggling to do anything right, well now a year later you’re looking at a game that got a very nice face-lift.
The one thing that really dragged MLB 2004 down was the animations, which were sloppy to say the least. Now in 2005 you have a game that is moving much more like it should, and that is showing that there has been some serious work put on this part of the game by 989 Studios. The rest of the game looks and feels pretty good, this is not a game that will knock your socks off, but it will show you that this series has greatly improved over last year, but still has some work left to do.
MLB 2005 has some great features that really have brought this series a long way. These modes include the Career, Franchise, and Online modes which are extremely complex and will keep you occupied for quite some time. Looking at this game from last year’s edition to this year will automatically prove how much more fun this game is. The gameplay has improved significantly, to make this a game that is just a lot of fun to play.
989 Sport’s MLB series has come a long way from where it was this time last year. Now you have a game that is solid in all aspects and that next year truly has the potential to play with the big boy’s. If I was a betting man, I would definitely put some money on the fact that this time next year MLB 2006 will be a top contender for the best baseball games on the market. As for MLB 2005, if you are in need of a baseball game with a solid franchise and online mode, then MLB 2005 would be a nice pick for you.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.