For those who are interested in a more personal take on baseball, Power Pros 2008 features two modes that let you live the life of one individual player. In Success mode, you create a new character and start off in the AA league. Your goal is to practice hard, do well in games, and make it to AAA, then the majors. Along the way you can work part-time jobs, date women you meet, and engage in a variety of other odd personal endeavors, like helping a teammate build a pitching machine that just turns out to be a box that he stuffs your friend into and says, "Now, pitch!" In MLB Life, you choose an actual MLB player, create a new player, or import your character from Success mode and play through a full major league career. Your activities are more straight-laced than those found in Success mode (no ninja training), but the basic structure is the same. In both modes you balance practicing to increase your attributes, resting to increase your vitality, and relaxing with a variety of leisure activities. As a fielder, you'll only bat during games, and as a pitcher, you'll only pitch every few games. It's a fun blend of baseball action and role-playing, and it's something you won't find anywhere else.
Strange teammates are just some of the wacky, amusing people you'll encounter in Success mode.
Playing Power Pros 2008 with friends is also good fun, be it in a single exhibition game or a league of up to six teams. Leagues can be as short or as long as you like, and you can skip games to advance the schedule. You and your friends can pit your custom teams against each other, or you can set yourself up against a number of CPU teams and run a shortened, simpler version of a season. There's a home run derby mode that, while not very challenging, can be fun when you're testing your skills against a buddy.
If the cylindrical cartoon characters are the main reason you're avoiding the Power Pros 2008, you should really give the game a shot. Despite their shape, you'll find that players have the facial hair, batting stances, and unique mannerisms to match their real-life counterparts, and this goes a long way toward tempering the goofy aesthetic. It's a shame there's no online play or roster updates, but the 32 slots for created teams and 200 slots for created players leave more than enough room for assiduous players to maintain their own updated teams. If that sounds like you, though, you could just as easily pay half price for a used copy of last year's MLB Power Pros and bring it up to speed. The only mode you'd be missing out on is MLB Life.
It's simple, yet deep; goofy, yet realistic. By straddling these contradictions, MLB Power Pros 2008 manages to appeal to casual and hardcore players alike. It doesn't step far from its predecessor's shadow, but that doesn't prevent it from shining.