Reviewed by Jimmy | 03.27.06
Introduction:If baseball is your deal you're going to want to take a closer look at Sony's double release of MLB 06: The Show for the PSP handheld, and PS2 home system. MLB 05 has been upgrade to The Show and it is sure to put you in the mood for the 2006 baseball season.
The Game:Baseball on the go is best represented in this year's edition of MLB from Sony. The Show puts together some new features, some new modes, and has refined the overall game and experience. Luckily The Show packs in all the meat it did with the 'big brother' PS2 version, no skimping out here. No doubt, if you like baseball you're going to want to have an up to bat with MLB 06: The Show.
The career mode is the most impressive aspect of The Show, besides the stellar gameplay, of course. In the career mode you take an up and coming baseball star and bring him up through the training, the minors, then to the big time. Your player is totally customizable and you'll have free range on his stats and playing position. This is great for building the ultimate baseball freak to help push your favorite team "word up Blue Jays" to become world champions. MLB also has the basic modes, and a few others being the standard Exhibition and Season mode, plus the always fun Home Run Derby , and the new King of The Diamond mode which I'll touch on next.
King of the Diamond
For a baseball quickie there is the King of the Diamond mode which combines colourful world of pinball with baseball for a game of two on two. It's pretty simple concept and to win you have to hit more markers then the other team. They also have thrown in the stress of a timer so you have to keep rolling in five second intervals. King of the Diamond is a nice way to hit a few balls then put the PSP back in your pocket. To me Baseball is more methodical sport, and I like the slow pace of a nine inning war, but the King of the Diamond mode helps switch up things in the dugout.
Multiplayer Fans, you can go online! Sweetness, I guess. Honestly I didn't find the inspiration to try out the online portion, but I've been hearing good things, added with some lag problems. I'm not the best player, and in that respect sports games seem more intimidating online. If you have friends, The Show supports buddy lists so you'll be able to find each other, and chat rooms to talk smack. I'm sure besides the obviously probability of lag, the online mode is enough to enjoy a gamer or two. Plus, King of Diamond mode is supported online.
That damn Stubby!
One pesky minor downside to The Show is using analog stubby to aim pitches. As any PSP owner knows, the stubby can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. It just takes practice, having a control option for each part of the game would have been nice, and how do I know, some people might be dead on awesome using the stubby. Other then this very minute detail, the controls rock in MLB 06. Like last years game, this one is solid and experienced MLB fans should be right at home.
Other feature that would have been useful is a transfer program to go from one version to another like Winning Eleven 9 from Konami. Since both PS2 and PSP version share servers this could have been done online, in a breeze. Although, one bad side to this is that you'd have to have both versions, and then you wouldn't be a gamer, you would be a fanatic. On the good side you can download and read news reports and keep your roster up to date which is a necessity.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically MLB 06 looks good and for the most part keeps a good framerate. The presentation is up to par, along with the audio. Commentary has returned with all the polish as polish as the PS2 version, the PSP never stops to amaze. At the mic is the impressive team of Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell and Rex Hudler. Who knew they could pack so much on one UMD. It's only baseball, but damn! This is a slick look for the Show, they done wonders bumping up the in game presentation including replays, and network styling camera work. Sony has done an excellent job making the PSP version stand up to the PS2 brother, and it looks amazing shrunk down to their esteemed handheld.
Three Way Dance
The Show is a deep well rounded baseball experience that plays smooth on the PSP. The franchise is defiantly an improving and it should start to gain ground on the other sporting monsters like EA, and 2K. Hopefully fans will start to recognize Sony as a player, and I hope this good showing can follow into next years Gretzky game. It's nice to see the options opening up when it comes to our sports.
Lowdown:This one is easy, MLB 06: The Show has the goods to satisfy and baseball fan. The gameplay has been nailed; add on the excellent upgrade to the presentation and some fantastic commentary tracks make a MLB a no brainer. Baseball fans can safely pick this one up, you won't be disappointed. Sony hits a home run with MLB 06: The Show.