|This is the first edition of the new millennium for Electronic Arts' storied baseball franchise. As in previous versions, all the major league teams and their players are present along with all 30 big league parks, each recreated using real-time lighting and enhanced sounds; new stadiums such as San Francisco's Pac Bell Park are there too.
Every player is also modeled as closely as possible after their real life counterpart, even down to their own batting stances and pitching styles. Brand new animations such as arguments with umpires, high-fives, end-of-game celebrations and player reactions to strikeouts and homers also help bring the game to life.
Gamers who really want to immerse themselves in the experience can try out the brand new Behind the Fielder view. Now they can put themselves in the shoes of a fielder and see how easy it is to snare a line drive or scoop up a tough grounder. Perhaps they'll even stop yelling during real games every time the home team makes an error.
As an added bonus, EA has secured exclusive rights to the 500 Home Run Club, which means that gamers can step up to the plate as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron or others, and take on today's top pitchers like Pedro Martinez or Randy Johnson. In addition, EA has exclusive rights to the MLBPA Big League Challenge, which is set in Las Vegas' Cashman Field. Big League Challenge Mode features 12 ballplayers from among the greatest of all time new and old in a variety of competitions such as a home run contest and target hitting (Extreme mode).
Gamers can go for an exhibition or a season with the chance to play multiple seasons in Career Mode, complete with a draft and a system which allots points to each player and a points cap per team; gamers have to use their best roster management skills to work within those confines. Smart trades which allow CPU-controlled teams to make trade offers to each other and the gamers' teams are new this year.
As in EA's Madden NFL series, there are plenty of goodies to unlock such as hidden players and stadiums, power-ups (Strong Arm, Big Head, CPU Assist, etc.) and bonus teams. When the usual stadiums get old, you can head on over to a construction yard, a living room, or even a castle.
The Sony PlayStation version supports analog and Dual Shock controls as well as memory cards for saving season and career statistics. This game is for two players.