Review by Galactus21
"A base hit up the middle!"
If you ask me, Baseball games are one of those things that are better played on a video game console, then actually watching on television. Being a passive fan of the sport, I've enjoyed playing well made baseball games more so than watching a live event. As such, I took a hard look at a specific baseball title. Sony's in house baseball title MLB The Show has garnered some strong praise in the past. MLB the Show 12 is the first title in the series that I've tried. This incarnation is a well made, solid baseball title that features strong presentation and plenty of options.
There's plenty to like about MLB The Show. Upon booting up the game, the user will notice a plethora of options. Sometimes this may become overwhelming for someone like me who just wants to get a season going. For me, I started off with franchise mode immediately, as I find it satisfying to play through seasons and accumulate accolades and stats. While initially I was a bit overwhelmed by the numerous options, once I found the settings I was comfortable with, the game became a joy to play.
When playing an actual baseball game, there are even more options to choose from. Some of these options felt more akin for veteran baseball gurus. I chose a fairly simple control format for my pitching and batting options. I dabbled with the other options, but for someone who just wants to enjoy a game of baseball, I felt these options were not quite right with me. With the options I chose, I felt the batting was intuitive. I would utilize either a normal or power swing. By doing so, I had less control over putting the bat where I liked, but the easier control was more suited for me. Pitching also felt slick, as I could feel the dominance of my ace pitcher. Controls also felt good, especially on defense. It felt extremely fluid as I was turning double plays for instance.
One slight problem I experience, and it might have been my skill level, but I couldn't find the right balance in the settings that provided a more realistic game play that mimics baseball. When adjusting the sliders, I either became too dominant or would get destroyed fairly easily. At times, I felt much more dominant pitching than I did hitting, despite the sliders being relatively similar for offense and defense. Despite that, the overall game play felt good.
One thing that I did not particularly like was the way the game keeps track of your stats throughout franchise mode. Unlike other sports game, where I can view a player's accolades, like MVPs and all star appearances, I did not find an option for this. While MLB the Show does keep track of your year to year stats, this feature is fairly limited. One thing that I did enjoy was the trading system however. It felt like trades were more realistic, and you did not have star players being traded for nobodies. In addition, the user can also keep track of their double A and triple A teams.
The overall flow of the game also felt positive. When my pitcher was rattled for instance, I could feel the momentum shifting to the other team. The strike zone also began to feel smaller. A perfect example of this was when I had a man on first and second with no outs, and I threw four straight balls. I felt this added to the realism and experience of the game, as pitchers do get rattled in real life. The same can also be said about batters in critical situation.
The overall presentation of the game was great. The commentating felt smooth and fleshed out. The commentators brought up relevant information. The pre-game highlights were also a nice little addition that added to the experience. In addition, the commentating added a positive experience. The player animations also ran smoothly. When turning a double play, it was a beauty to watch. The graphics were also quite good. I thought the character models were well designed and reflective pretty well what the real players look like. MLB the Show 2K12 was a good baseball title that I enjoyed thoroughly. There were some nitpicks here and there that detracted from the experience a bit, but overall, it was an enjoyable experience. If you are a fan of baseball or just a passive fan, I would definitely recommend this title.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/15/13
Game Release: MLB 12: The Show (US, 03/06/12)
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