MLB the Show makes the jump to the major leagues in its first Playstation 3 edition. Climbing the ranks on the PS2 and PSP, Sony wants the PS3 version to be on the top of the sports game division. We are checking out all the ins and outs of its new release to see if it’s hitting home runs, or just doubling up with a good showing. It’s the first inning and we’re headed out of the dugout, welcome to Extreme Gamers review of MLB 07: The Show for the Playstation 3.
It should be noted that I am a fan of Sony’s franchise mainly on the Playstation Portable. For the last two years the simple game of baseball has be redefined for me in game form on the little handheld. I’m still not ready to sit down and invest time watching a game on the tube, but I will fire up my PSP and a little sport called Baseball. Now that the PS3 has found its way to home across North America, it’s the perfect time to try and grab some sports fans that haven’t purchased the big black box. MLB the Show wants to be the main event while hoping to convert some loyal 2K Sports fans. MLB The Show is good, but I don't know if the time is right for the spotlight.
Like the PS2, and PSP version, the PS3 version has a host of game modes which should be enough to satisfy any baseball fan. Even though a few mini-games are cut from the PS3 version, PS3 owners should pick up this version, if they haven’t tried this years MLB game on the other platforms. If you’re familiar with last years edition then you should take easily to MLB the Show. The ways to play are numerous from quick games, to the manager mode, or by jumping online and taking on a friend. The mini-games that where scratched from the PS2 version are two of my favourites, the simple Home-Run Derby and the King of the Diamond mode. Besides that minor fact, you will get more then enough action on this disc.
The big hitter in MLB 07: The Show is the “Road to the Show” mode, which is the Career Mode. If you don’t want to get into the micro-management and details of the franchise mode, you can get into this adequate mode that features the player fine tuning their own major league batter into a league MVP. You create a player and his position and then start working up reaching goals as you progress. This makes this section a lot of fun and something that doesn’t become monotonous. Successfully meeting all the goals like challenging because you’ll have to perfect your timing, but at least it’s not stealing off a blind pitcher. All this work isn’t for nothing; reaching goals will allows you to better train your player so you can start working on your advantage on the field.
The Road to the Show in my experience is best enjoyed as playing the pitcher considering they are the featured player in the sport. Working on increasing your stamina and your ability to throw a better curve ball is a lot of fun, and you get a more instant satisfaction watching you pitch along a whole game. Also important to the Road to Show is playing good in the pre-season in hopes to attract the right type of contract in the majors. Keep on reaching those goals and perfecting an area of your character and you’ll do fine. It’s the rags to riches mentality that works for Road to Show and nothing is better than putting in a lot of work and to be rewarded as a top tier team as the starting pitcher.
The franchise mode is another big hitter in MLB, continuing to remain unchanged from last version which was already solid, deep, and robust. In the franchise mode you’re given complete control over every aspect of your team while you aspire to reach goals depending on your teams standing. If you’re working with a team that needs a little work the expectations will be lower then heading up the Cards. More then managing a roster is your team’s budget, teams that support the team and other sections of running a baseball organization. Take some time if you’re a first timer in the franchise mode because it can take some time to adjust to the system, but once you get rolling everything starts to thin out and gets clearer. Also keep in mind that you’ll have to be involved with a length run of 162 games, so this mode is for someone with some spare time on their hands.
Online the MLB experience is one of the deepest PS3 games around. After creating an online profile you get into the innings as well as send instant messages, join online leagues, or create your own. The online portion even dips deeper with the ability to share your settings, listen to audio updates from games, and check out the latest news. I only tried out a few games online and it was a thankful, lag free experience. Besides, Motorstorm, MLB: The Show is the most fun I’ve had on the Playstation network.
What helps MLB the Show be successful is the smooth game mechanics. The pitching gets most of the spotlight, and it deserves it because it’s an intuitive system that can keep you working on the perfect technique to strike out your opposition. It takes a little while to perfect, but its fun working on it. The A.I. is no slouch either, if you want to be keeping your team in the win column, keep varied pitches and work on your special pitches. On the flip side the hitting also runs smooth with a few cool innovations like the ability to guess where the ball is going to land and adjust your hit accordingly. I found hitting provides a good challenge which took me a little while to adjust before I started knocking a few out of the park.
The graphics are the main area of concern in MLB 07: The Show. Given the quality of the gameplay the graphics seem a little dated. This stems from game build being built up from the PS2, and not developed exclusive for the PS3. Obviously the graphics are improved from the PS2 version, but it’s not a jaw dropper. The animation is the highlight of the graphics in MLB, with the lows being the textures of the arenas and the background crowd. Next year, I'm sure Sony will spend more time focusing on the PS3 hardware, and we should have a proper next-gen visuals.
The audio on the other hand is excellent and lives up to the quality of the other versions. MLB 07: The Show is crystal clear with great commentary from Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell and Rex Hudler. This team works well with Matt spitting out the play-by-play, and Dave and Rex handling the colour commentary. Like any sports game after a while the comments might get a little tiresome, but overall it sounds great. The Show also pays close attention to other details like crowd noise, umpires, and other ball game noises. The audio really doesn’t need much improving; it’s the graphics that need to play catch up for next years run.
MLB 07: The Show is a definite must buy for baseball fans who don’t own the PS2, or PSP version. MLB 07: The Show although lacking in graphics, has some of the most solid baseball mechanics seen in game form. I would notch the PS3 too far ahead of the PS2 version just yet, so I’m hoping next years time at the plate gives Sony enough time to revamp and polish its few rough edges. Overall its easy to say that Sony has hits another solid home run with MLB 07: The Show for the Playstation 3.
Gameplay:9, Graphics/Sound:7, Innovation:8, Mojo: 9 Final: 8.5 / 10