I was going to post this Thursday night, but ran out of time. Apologies if this is somewhat raw …
Thankfully MVP 06 has a very interesting coaching mode. This should be a great option for sim fans, or fans that do not want to play every single game, but want more control than a typical simulate game option. I honestly did not spend enough time with the game to determine how realistic the stats engine is, but a first glance everything looks in order.
In coaching mode you select your starting line up and then you tell your players what to do. Say you are batting … you can swing away, bunt for hit, pinch hit, hit and run, steal, etc. If you are pitching, you call various options such as pitch batter, pitch around, walk batter, sub pitcher, defensive sub, etc. There is even an option to use an outgoing pitcher as the DH; this is great for those pitchers (read stud athletes) that can also hit a ton.
Each play typically takes a second, so you can run through a 9 inning game in no time flat (say 5-minutes or less). As I said, if the simulation engine holds up, this is going to go down as one of the best features in a console baseball game.
After each play is some commentary:
LF #21 Grounded out to third,
2B #44 struck out swinging
RF #1 singled to right
1B #33 infield single, RF #1 advanced to 2nd
CF #10 grounded out to second
0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
UGA 0, UT 0
RF #1 struck out looking
CF #13 struck out looking
SS #2 flied out to right
0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
UGA 0, UT 0
This looks promising; maybe not incredibly deep, but it looks like a good start for this new franchise.
There is an interesting box score after the game that includes up to date stats (not sure if ERA and average are just for the game, or if they would reflect for the whole season in Dynasty mode)
Speaking of which, the Dynasty mode allows for a tone of options. I am going to briefly cover a few to give you an idea of how much effort EA has put into this puppy.
The depth chart setting shows your depth chart by position on the baseball field with a breakdown by position.
The pitching rotation allows you to set your pitching rotation; fairly standard.
The batting order options shows graphics with hot/cold zones, including power, contact rating, speed rating, and ratings vs. LHP and RHP.
A defensive alignment option allows you to set lineups for LHP or RHP.
There create/edit player option is off the chart; it will make you have one. Honest. You can set all manner of non game play attributes such as what your players actually look like, but the good stuff is more gameplay related. I am not going to cover it all right now, but you can set a player’s career potential on a 1-5 stars. You can set various attributes such as contact ratings (of course like almost everything else you can set individual settings for LHP and RHP). You can adjust settings such as plate discipline, durability, base running ability, and more. The batter tendencies options look amazing, with the ability to set certain types of pitches (fastball, curveball, etc) – take vs. LHP/RHP, strike vs. LHP/RHP, foul vs. LHP/RHP, etc), and you can set hot/cold zones vs. LHP/RHP. There is a whole lot more; I have only scratched the surface.
You let the CPU optimize your roster.
You can set positional ranking (look at your roster position by position). Not sure how this is different from the depth chart option.
There are others such as options for team goals and challenge items, but I have not had time to look at these yet.
OK, the game is deep. I have only played here and there, and have spent a decent amount of time with the coaching option. I am going to reserve judgment for now, but I will say that so far I am very happy with the game.