MLB Power Pros
MLB Power Pros released in 2007 and developed by Konami is a cutesy baseball game that has had a long running franchise in japan. The game mixes baseball simulation with a lighter presentation into a solid but very shallow game.
The core gameplay in Power Pros is good and fun to play. Pitching is executed by moving a baseball cursor around the home plate area while selecting what type of pitch you want to throw using the d-pad or control stick on the wii nunchuck and pressing A to throw the pitch. The pitching is fairly straightforward and very easy to grasp. The batting is the funner of the two aspects of the game, as you have to line up a batting cursor with the opponents pitch. The batting is pretty easy if you leave the pitching cursor on for the opponent, but if you take it off the hitting can be a real challenge. A power swing can be used by pressing the B button, and it makes the batting cursor smaller but the ball will travel further. There are many control styles that can be used for the game including the gamecube controller, just the wii remote, and the wii remote/nunchuck combo. I preferred to use the nuncheck version even though the stiffness of the joystick made me commit many fielding errors in the games. Overall the gameplay can be really fun and there are a lot of options to make it easier or more challenging.
On the main menu screen in Power Pros it appears there are a lot of different modes to play, but when boiled down there really isnt much content in the game. As with any baseball game there is a franchise/season mode where you control a team and guide them through the 162 game mlb schedule. Along the way you can trade players with other teams, sign free agent players, increase players stats, and manage the financial aspects of the team. The mode boils down to playing games over and over, and I got about 20 games in before i really didn't want to play it anymore. I wish there was an option to make the season shorter but there isn't one. There is also a tournament mode in the game which just takes 6 teams and puts them into a tournament. What I thought was going to be the meat of the game is a mode called Success Mode. In this mode you take a created player and follow him through college and into the major leagues. It turns out that the entire mode is just anime dialogue scenes with very little baseball content. I played for about 2 hours and finally they let me play the last game of my college career. They only let you bat once and you have to come back and win. When I lost the game was over. Essentially that is the end of the mode with a win or a loss and the whole mode was about 2 hours long. Besides the cut scenes you can sparsely manage your player by buying new equipment, practicing baseball, going on a date, or studying. The mode was a huge disappointment and was very boring.
The graphics in the game are pretty good, and I do really enjoy the art style of the game. It is a lighter take on baseball and it is enjoyable to see the pudgy little players run around. The game contains the full MLB license so all of the stadiums are there, but pretty much all of the players look the same; small bodies and big heads. The animations are good and pretty smooth. Looking at the graphics as an entire package it feels like they could have done more with it. The presentation could also use many improvements as the menus are very clunky to navigate. The audio in the game is ok but nothing special. The commentator during the games is pretty good and fits the game well. The music in the game is pretty generic and uninspiring.
Overall I liked MLB Power Pros but there could have been many improvements made to the game. I wish that the success mode was better and you actually played baseball games with your player instead of looking at anime style cut scenes. The game is pretty shallow and lacks content. I spent about 15 hours with the game and was pretty much bored to tears with it at that point.
3 stars (6.0)