MLB 13: The Show Review
Though this is the first review of a sports title on PS Addiction, being a gamer and a Sony gamer I have come to realize that the MLB: The Show series has always been one of quality. Each new installment into the franchise makes significant improvements upon its predecessor and really shows the talent held within San Diego Studio. Without missing a beat and achieving again the best industry-wide baseball game, and possibly best sports game, MLB: The Show 13 makes major improvements to the overall game that make it more enjoyable and more realistic; and most of those things will go un-noticed to the regular person.
MLB: The Show 13 takes the great formula that San Diego has used for each of their previous titles and have tweaked and honed it into an even better baseball sim than anything we have seen before. From more realistic looking baseball players, to their exact pre-bat animations; the level of detail that permeates throughout the game is quite astounding. With the addition of new physics in the way the ball flies and how players field the ball to the familiar TV-inspirsed viewing angles; it won’t be surprising if you forget you are actually playing a video game. The spectacular job that San Diego Studio has done in making MLB: The Show 13 such a great game really takes away the thought of it being a yearly released game. There are more improvements done every year to this game I bet than any other sports games do in two or more years.
Taking the same strong attention to detail that the individual players have been given, meticulous detail has been thrown into not just the major league stadiums but also the AAA and AA stadiums. Each one feels unique, realistic and alive. Featuring not only things that are inside the stadiums, but even portraying the surrounding area of the park as well in the distance.
All the familiar game mode return this year with the addition of a new one aptly titled, ‘Postseason’, in which you play through…well the Postseason. The star of the game’s Road to the Show returns again better than ever, but still the same. You create a player and decide on a position you want them to play at. Throughout their career you will play in situations that involve them; playing a catcher you might have to throw out someone at second or being an outfield you have to get someone out at first. The specific challenges range from laughably easy to sadistically hard. Initially you are drafted in to league to play on a team’s AA and AAA teams; all the while building you skills and padding your stats in order to get the chance to play in the big-leagues. Eventually if you are good enough you will be brought up.
As I mentioned earlier the newest mode, the Postseason, is all about playing in the most exciting part of the baseball season – they playoffs. Don’t feel like playing through an entire 160+ game season? Don’t worry, you can skip all that and jump into this mode to take your favorite team, or not favorite team, and create the outcome for the postseason that you want.
An issue that you will notice basically immediately when the game loads anything – the load times are insanely long. If long load times bother you, then watch out as you can be waiting for up to a minute at times. Though the load times are long, I was never bored or annoyed with them for a couple of good additions. First off, the soundtrack that continuously plays throughout loading screens and menus is wonderful. Ranging in music genres from rock to hip hop to pop; the music is great and enjoyable to listen to on repeat. At the bottom on the screen there is a live ticker of all the baseball games going on throughout the country; showing scores and updates. There is always something to keep you entertained throughout the load times; though they are long.
One of the biggest improvements to the gameplay has been the tweaking of the hitting mechanic. In years past MLB: The Show series has gained some serious flack that it was too hard to hit the ball. If you couldn’t get the timing down correctly, then your player would stand at the plate whiffing at every pitch that flew by. It was almost impossible for new players to be able to pick the game up and feel like a true major league baseball player because they would be striking out all the time. Thankfully, with the additional tweaks to the hitting mechanic, hitting a ball is far easier than it was before. You still will strike out if you don’t pay attention and time your swings correctly, but the room for error is quite smaller this year. Before if you didn’t swing and aim your swing at the correct location on the plate you were almost guaranteed to miss the ball; now just swinging the game at the right time will most likely end with some sort of contact with the ball. Depending on where you hit the ball at on the bat now really does make a difference as hitting a foul ball or a homerun is all about inches.
Every, well almost every, player has a tendency to push/pull the ball when they hit it. This year, that actually is taken into consideration when the ball hits the bat. Knowing a players standard hitting style makes hitting that perfect pitch and placing it where you need it to be easier and more enjoyable.
Online play returns basically as it was last year just with some additions to settings and some minor tweaks. Most of the additions are a great welcome that has been missing from the previous titles and makes managing an online league far easier. You can more easily pull past information on games, teams and even seasons to analyze.
Like each previous game in the series that has come before, MLB 13: The Show is the best baseball game available on the market. There is nothing majorly different from last year except for the hitting changes, but really in a game that was already great last year nothing really needed to change. New additions in the realism of the batters in the form of physical appearance, hitting stance and mannerisms along with the great in-game sound and soundtrack; this is the complete baseball experience that you get from your couch.