Review by Ijmitchell2k4
"Well played, SCEA"
Let me just start out by saying this: For those of you that played 2010, if I wrote a review for that game, I would have given it a 6/10, at best. I say that to emphasize just how significantly they have improved things this year.
Graphics/Sound -- 8
To be honest, I could care less about graphics. As long as the grass is green and the ball is white, I'm not really worried about what anything else looks like. That being said, most reviews gave the game a 7 or 8 for graphics last year, and they certainly are just as good this year, so an 8 it is. The only issues are when you get to the other side of the foul lines. The crowd, players in dugouts, and even some of the stadium features all suffer from "could-have-been-better" syndrome. Nonetheless, every thing that is in-play, certainly looks very realistic. From excellent facial designs, to little specs of dirt that go flying when you are taking a swing, the detail on the field is undeniable.
Features -- 8
It's a sports game, you can't just make up stuff and throw it in. Most of the modes that are in the game probably could not be any better. Franchise is very encompassing, allowing you to do anything you can possibly imagine a real team manager would do. Road To The Show (RTTS from this point forward) allows you to take the perspective of a new free agent, completely design the player to your liking, and then follow his adventure as he attempts to make it to the majors, taking full control of him throughout his career. You have your Home Run Derby, regular Exhibition games, and Online Play, and anything else you'd expect to have in a Baseball game.
I only have 2 qualms here. Online Play lags quite a bit (although this will probably be addressed soon). Also, the Practice modes could have been way better, especially since the game saw new additions to controls in all three of Fielding, Batting, and Pitching. It is very hard to get a feel for the controls in this game, and the Practice modes don't really do much in the way of guiding you (it doesn't give you any special feedback compared to just playing an exhibition game), other than allowing you to basically take an infinite amount of at-bats until you figure it out yourself.
Mechanics/Controls -- 9.0
This is where this game really stole my heart this year. I have always been a huge MVP Baseball 2005 fan. That game was great because the controls were simple, yet complex, and everything reacted and played out the way it is supposed to in a real baseball game. If you wanted to pull a line drive down right field, you'd have to swing early and adapt, etc... I have always regarded MVP as having the best game engine of all time. Until now.
Fielders react smoothly, catch balls properly. Hitting is excellent, and if you are not a fan of the new Analog Hitting system (see 2 paragraphs down), you still have two other control choices to choose from. Pitchers react properly to line drives, I could go on and on.
If you played MLB 2010 last year, you may know that somewhere deep down, that game had a great engine. However that engine was buried underneath a myriad of glitches, poorly done fielding mechanics, and pitchers with superhuman reflexes and strength.
This year, most, if not all, of the outstanding issues have been addressed. The game's default settings might put you off (They are pretty bad, to be honest), but you have a full range of options for changing the physics of the game, so with a little bit of customization, this is easily the most realistic baseball game I have ever played, and I'm confident it will be for you, too.
This paragraph is just an informative about the Analog Control scheme. If you are not concerned with these features, just skip to the next section, because these controls were not a factor in my rating for the game, since the game offers several alternatives.
New to MLB 2011 The Show is the Analog system. Unlike in previous "The Show" games, you can now control the various aspects of baseball gameplay, throwing, pitching, and batting, to be exact, using the Right Analog Stick. Basically, the Analog Stick is intended to better simulate real-life motions, as opposed to just simple button-pressing. You swing by flicking the analog stick back to take a stride, then up to complete your swing. You pitch by bringing the analog stick down in collaboration with the meter, then up at the proper time (ie in real life: proper release-point) to pitch the ball, and as a fielder, you throw the ball with a flick of the analog stick in the appropriate direction, where each direction corresponds to a Base.
There is plenty of additional information available on the internet, so I will just state the following: If I had to give a score (out of 10) to each of the mentioned Analog control schemes, I'd give Analog Pitching, Fielder-Throwing, and Batting, scores of 9,8, and 7, respectively.
Overall Value -- 8.3
If you already own 2010's game, or even an earlier year. While I do not know the financial circumstances of anyone reading this, I assure you I'm far from rich. However after playing the demo, I was immediately aware of all the improvements made, and I went out and charged it. If minor gameplay bugs aren't a big concern for you, however, there isn't really any reason to not continue playing the game you already have. It's your call here, but for me, realism is the top priority, so I definitely recommend picking this game up.
If you do not own any previous installation of "The Show", then in my opinion, it isn't even a question. If you are fan of realistic baseball sims, you won't find a more realistic and immersive sim than this one right here, period.
I consider myself to hold a very high standard when it comes to video games, but there is no doubt in mind this game was definitely worth my money. I assure you that if you take the time to like this game, you will end up loving it, no matter how many editions of "The Show" are already in your house.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/16/11
Game Release: MLB 11: The Show (US, 03/08/11)
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