Sony’s all-star baseball simulator returns with its annual release of ‘The Show.’ Following up with our 2009 Sports Game of Year, we have big expectations for this one, and if anyone can deliver its SCEA San Diego. Step up to the plate, here is our pitch for 'MLB10: The Show.'
2009 was a strong year for the ‘The Show,’ as all the cards came together in one impressive package that closely mirrors the real sport of Baseball. In the last few years, the series has been looking better and better, and we have almost reached a point where no one can come close to matching the perfection Sony has achieved in the MLB series. This is great, if you are a baseball fan, take one out to the ballgame, or pop in ‘The Show’ on your couch, because MLB10: The Show is the real deal.
Broadcasting from your PS3
Fans of series will be pumped poised to be the next batter up in SCEA San Diego’s latest offering, and rather than just update the game with a few tweaks, some work has gone into MLB10 to advance the series even further. First, we have to say that it is great to see all the detail work that has gone into making ‘The Show’ one of the best sports series in gaming. The attention to detail is bar-none, as 'MLB10: The Show' feels like you are watching the “real” sport on TV. Everything from the camera work to the individual player animations delivers the goods with an uncanny taste for realism. 'MLB10: The Show' is spot-on, sharp, and ultimately impressive.
This realism goes further than the graphical contribution, as the gameplay is extremely lifelike. In this, regard MLB10: The Show has to be the number one pick for sports enthusiasts who hit up a diamond on their spare time. MLB10 falls a little too close to simulation for everyone, but you cannot argue the fact that they got it right. All aspects of the on-field action seem accurate right down to the speed of the ball, the movement of players, and the actions of the A.I., 'The Show' has done its homework. I was impressed with the variety in the batters this time around, it's impressive to see how much work has gone into making each member of a team an individual. Attention to detail, you better believe it.
'MLB10: The Show' sits on the simulation side of this, but that doesn’t mean the game is overly hard. The difficulty can be adjusted, even though it is fairly balanced on its own. From rookies to the pros, you will be able to find the experience you want. This doesn't mean you will be steamrolling over the competition, but you will get a great sense of the game and feel one with the sport as the ball splinters off your bat. Just watch that pitching, the computer can usually put in a better job, than the human player. Pitching is hard to master, even though the concept seems easy. A little frustrating? Maybe, but all for the love of the game.
Road to the Show 4.0
The big mode in ‘The Show’ is “Road to Show,” and its back and better than ever with a few nice tweaks. Now in its 4th version you have the option to adjust just how much of the game you wish to view. The tracking system has also been improved with some impressive number juggling that allows you to compare your player’s career versus other batters, or pitchers in a current season. The tweaks are fine, and welcomed, but the neatest addition is the ability to play as the man behind the plate, the catcher-- which makes sense when you see the Twins catcher on the boxart, Joe Mauer, the American League 2009 MVP.
Playing as the catcher is not as boring as it would seem (I know you are thinking it). It’s not filled with as much on-field action as the other spots, but its gives some insight into the strategy behind the game. As a catcher, you will select pitches and locations for your pitcher, relaying on the pitchers ability you will have play to their strengths and weaknesses. You will also have to keep in mind their stamina, which effects their control and speed of the pitch. As much as their ability, comes you calls, making life a catcher a lot more interesting than I imagined. Who would have thought?
Not on the Road? Still plenty to Do
Along with “The Road,” the other modes return (Exhibition, Franchise, Season, Manager, Rivalry) plus the online game has been expanded to run a full season online with leagues. The franchise is probably your second best bet for longevity after the Road. Being an “old schooler,” I am a stickler for franchise modes. Everything you expect is here and even though some exploits exist, it is a fun way to get into the game. The franchise mode is as deep as any other sports title with countless amounts of options to access. A still here some minor grips on the message boards that the franchise mode could be improved, sure, any mode could be improved, but for my needs it suits them fine.
When you want a break from the regular game, 'MLB10: The Show' has two new options that might fit your fancy. The first is the addition of a ‘Homerun Derby’ mode. The derby is not anything spectacular, but it is nice ways to feel instantly gratified, and practice your batting skills. Really, who doesn’t love the simplicity of the derby; I think it's every fans guilty pleasure. The next mode takes right away from the game, and it’s the new ‘moviemaker’ option. Now you can make your show within ‘The Show.’ This feature is not going to be as popular as the Derby; however, if you ever wanted a nice visual recap of some highlight moments you can do so. You can add upwards of ten replays into a single movie and edit it to your liking. Save it to your hard-drive and you have a little personal reminder of your moments within the game.
Duuddddeee... Let’s talk Sound
Lastly, the sound design in 'The Show' is fairly solid, although the commentators can be a little harsh on the player in this edition. Depending how you take insults, you might be swearing right back at the announcing trio (Vasgersian, Campbell, and Hudler) as they take shots at your inconsistencies when at bat. This comes in the form of little one-liner catchphrases. “duuddddeeeee,” common is that really necessary? Aside from that minor annoyance, the commentary is solid.
Speaking of solid, the stadiums really seem to have come to life with dynamic crowd pop that seems to amp up the action at the perfect times. I am not sure exactly how much been tweaked, but it seems like the crowd is into the game as much as the player. It’s a nice touch that adds a lot of ambiance. The ambiance and feel of the game is captured in the sound design, but the soundtrack choice will probably leave a lot to be desired. The soundtrack features many indie-rock type bands like 'We Are Scientists', 'Silversun Pickups', 'Scarlet Symphony', and more. I guess I am old school, because I only recognized one band out of the list. Like last year, you might want to opt for the custom playlist feature.
If you own a Playstation 3 and enjoy Baseball, then you need to purchase 'MLB10: The Show'. This game, like previous editions, is a stand out homerun that will keep players busy all season long. The only real issue in MLB10 comes from the grips of the hardcore fanbase, which is ok, but will likely be unnoticeable to most. These are some A.I. tendencies, some minor glitches, and a little bit of online lag. Again, these are all minor tags that will likely be addressed with a patch.
'MLB10: The Show' might not be the no-hitter that 'MLB09: The Show' was, but it is still an impressive package. Even though I am still content with playing my old ‘MLB09: The Show’, I would still recommend the upgrade for any die-hard fans, or baseball enthusiasts. So why not head out on the road, and see if you can hang with the pros, one more time.