Power Pro Baseball 2020 | Review | Switch - TheFamicast.com: Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Power Pro Baseball 2020 | Review | Switch

by Danny Bivens

More baseball on the Switch in an already packed 2020.
2020 is shaping up to be a good year for baseball games on the Nintendo Switch. We’ve had an improved RBI Baseball game earlier in the year, followed by Super Mega Baseball 3 and the Family Stadium Series (Famista) is coming to the Switch as well this September. Of course, our topic of discussion today is the latest entry into the Power Pro Baseball series from Konami - eBaseball Power Pro Yakyū 2020 which hit the Switch and Playstation 4 on July 9, 2020.

When it comes to overall presentation and control, not much has changed from the 2019 iteration of Power Pro Baseball - and that’s not a bad thing. Power Pros is a deep baseball sim with friendly, inviting character models that will appeal to a wide audience. The gameplay here is easy to pick up on, but difficult to master. Pitching has you choosing your pitch with the joystick or control pad, and then using B to fire the ball in. Like previous iterations, the number associated with the pitch indicates how potent it will be. If you have a curve ball that is ranked 5, you’re going to get quite a bit of movement compared to one with a 1 or 2. Also, I should note, if you want to change the camera view while pitching, all you need to do is press in the right joy stick a few times. I prefer the view behind the pitcher (kind of like the TV broadcast) as I feel it provides a more immersive experience.
Fielding remains solid as well. The realistic feel of the throws, accurate ball physics and realistic movements of the players make this game more sim-like than it looks. As with last year, you’re able to play with up to four players here, too, which I haven’t got a chance to try out. Not only that, but you can also play in a “Single Athlete” mode that puts you in control of one player for fielding and batting. With control of just one player, games are breezy and offer a different kind of experience. Fielding in this mode can be a little tough - it can be hard to make sure you’re in the right position on defense. It’s challenging, but something pretty unique to the series.

Batting is just as good as ever. With the default control setting, you have complete control of the location of the bat with the joystick and can perform hits with B or a bunt with A. By pressing in the R button, you can opt for a power swing. The reticle gets significantly smaller, but if you make perfect contact, you’re going to send the ball flying. Something that I didn’t mention in my review from last year has to do with the players’ “confidence” (for lack of a better word). You’ll notice that there are times when you’ll see a blue or purple aura appear around the players. When the blue aura appears for your batter, the bat reticle increases in size just a little bit to give you a better chance to hit the ball. Conversely, if it’s purple, the size decreases, making it more difficult to get a hit. The same happens with the pitchers here as well. It’s something I kind of overlooked last year, but it’s definitely a nice touch. It looks like this can also be toggled on or off in the menus as well if you like.

Note on Japanese
Of course, this kind of goes without saying, but Power Pro Baseball 2020 is full of tons and tons of Japanese. Now, I have made a few English guides to help you guys get set up with some of the basics - be sure to check out our English Guide Page for more on that. Like I said before in my previous video about that (and on the website), I don’t think there are enough man hours in the day for me to go about translating the entire game, however, I’ll try to keep adding to the guide as time goes by. I hope that information is useful for you guys.

Visuals and Connectivity
Visuals and sound haven’t changed much this year. The ballparks (complete with advertisements that are found at the real stadiums), crowd and players (some of which do specific celebrations after home runs that are spot on) all look good and the lighting seems to look a bit better this time around. Textures can be a bit blurry here, though. The game runs at 60 fps and I didn’t notice any significant dips at any point during my time with the game. In handheld mode, the game does seem to lack a little bit of the fidelity found when playing on the big screen, but the game still runs smoothly and looks decent enough. Being able to play some baseball on the go is always a plus in my book! As great as the game still looks in this 2020 iteration, it’s not an upgrade by any stretch of the imagination. Music and sounds, while fine, are pretty much a copy and paste of last year. I would have liked to see a bit more variety, especially with the music, but it is what it is.
Power Pros 2020 is pretty much constantly connected to the internet. Why is that? Well, as you play the game, you are awarded Power Points that can be used to purchase in items, additional players, stadiums and more in the game. You can “purchase” these items in the Shop section from the main menu. Here, you can pick up the aforementioned items. There is also an option to connect to the eShop to purchase additional content…but that doesn’t seem to be working now. Before the release of the game, Konami announced that various music tracks and even video intros from throughout the history of the series and more would be available to purchase. They even announced a “subscription service” that is available exclusively on the Playstation 4. At any rate, as of the time of recording, none of this is available via the eShop or this portal from the main menu. It’s a pity because I wanted to check them out to let you guys know if they were worth it.

Power Pro Baseball 2020 offers more modes than any other Power Pro game to date. Not only that, but this year’s version will also receive updates to players and rosters all the way into 2021. I’m not 100% sure if that rules out a version of the game in 2021, but it certainly sounds like it might. With that said, Power Pro 2020 would give players a lot of bang for their buck if it can hold over baseball fans with two years of updates. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

Speaking of modes, one of the new modes on offer here is Live Scenario. In this mode, gamers take control of a team in short missions to try and reverse the outcome or keep things the same. Missions put players on either offense or defense in a variety of scenarios. You might be asked to turn the tide of a game and take the lead in the 5th inning after being down by a few runs or you might have to step up to the mound and shut down your opponent in the 9th inning to close out a game. Missions are pretty quick as well, and even if you fail, you can jump back in almost instantly. Every single game that has been played during the 2020 season is playable here - both home and away teams. There is also a difficulty slider with up to five levels to try. Once you clear a mission, you are awarded PP (Power Points). The better you perform, the more PP you’ll receive.  Overall, I really like this mode as it allows you to jump a little bit every day to get your baseball fix. There is also a ranking system where you can see how you stack up against other players all over Japan, which could be an incentive for some to replay missions or shoot for the stars.
Another one of the big additions in Power Pro 2020 is the Olympic Mode. Here, you take control of an Olympic team in a tournament style of play to compete for that coveted gold medal. You can choose to play in a tournament as either a team or as an individual player (the aforementioned Single Athlete mode). Saving is possible after games but a bit hidden. If you go to the “Settings” and click the first option “Save,” you’ll be good to go after each game. You can close out of the mode with the last option in the settings “End.”

Eikan Nine, another new mode for the 2020 version of the game, has you take control of a high school team hoping to build up players that will eventually go pro. I didn’t get super deep into the mode, but you are able to create your own school based anywhere in Japan. You can edit things like the name of the school, the uniforms and more. The gameplay in this mode puts you in the role of a coach as you decide what kind of drills you want your players to do in order to build up their abilities. From a very short time with it, Eikan Nine seems to have plenty of depth in what is an already packed game.
Power Fes in Power Pro 2020 has players hop aboard a flying, touring baseball stadium that is making its way around the globe. There are a lot of different characters and dialog to get through here, so you’d better bring your Japanese dictionary if you aren’t familiar with the language. Your goal in this mode is to take out other teams and build up your team with star players and increase their abilities. As far as I know, you won’t be playing in full games here, but rather shortened versions from specific points in the game. This helps keep things breezy. Winning matchups earns you the ability to recruit players from the opposing teams. I’m still working on playing through this mode, but it’s a pretty fun addition here offering quite a bit of replay value.

In last years game, the ability to play online was mixed in to the regular exhibition games. This year, online games and tournaments are all located under the “Championship” section of the game. For individual games, there are a number of lobbies that can be populated by players. There, you can set the number of innings as well as other rules for the games. Upon a quick inspection of the mode, there really weren’t a whole lot of people that had matches set up, but they were there. I don’t have the PS4 version for comparison, but I would imagine that more it might have more of an online community. If you’re picking up this game for online play that is definitely something to keep in mind.

Success Mode makes a return here as well, this time offering three difference scenarios starting off as a university student. Even though there are three scenarios here, farming, business and Egyptian, the farming school is the only way available starting out. Of course, you’ll be working on your baseball skills, learning about farming, hanging out with your friends, going on dates and more.
Of course, there are a lot of returning modes to the game here. My Life, Home Run Attack and Pennant remain largely unchanged here. Still, they all offer quite a bit of content to keep you busy for a long time. Heck, Pennant Mode alone can be played for up to 30 seasons and keeping track of a myriad of statistics to boot. This year, Pennant Mode offers a few more frills giving gamer the option of “Special Days.” These range from having fireworks during the middle of games to (supposedly) having special uniforms that can be worn by your team - even though I set this up, my team was still wearing their standard uniforms. That could be me not confirming the proper settings or it might not be fully implemented into the game yet. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a deep, no nonsense baseball experience, Pennant is where it’s at. Everything else adds even more content to an already extremely packed game.

Power Pro Baseball 2020 is a solid sequel to last year’s entry into the series. While there are a few returning modes that remain largely unchanged, the new additions and updates provide more content than ever, almost to the point where it can be intimidating. These new modes, particularly Live Scenario (my personal favorite), are great and will keep you busy for a long time. If you missed out completely on the 2019 version, picking up Power Pro Baseball 2020 is a no brainer. There is an unbelievable wealth of modes that can keep you busy for dozens and dozens of hours. It gets a little bit trickier to consider picking up if you picked up last year’s version - it kind of depends on whether or not these new modes appeal to you. With the loose promise that this game will continue to get updates into the 2021 season, it seems like now would still be a good time to upgrade.

Final Score: 9.0

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