Updated rosters are back…well, sort of…and AI is tweaked for the better. It’s time to make the ‘Jays live the dream on your PSP.

Kindly excuse my taking a long, deep breath before writing this review. Let me be frank: I could probably copy and paste the one from last year, with nearly all sentiments still intact.

As the NGP (aka PSP2) lurks on the horizon, it’s become alarmingly clear that UMD (disc-based) publishers are abandoning the current PSP in droves. In exception to the surprising renaissance of solid, Japanese RPG’s popping up left and right for the portable, original releases designed specifically for the system are very few and far between.

Thus, it’s not surprising in the slightest that MLB 11: The Show (‘Show 11’) is an almost mirror-like rehash from the previous year, down to almost every subtle nuance of the game. You know it’s bad when both player/stadium models and play-by-play are carbon copies from the last go-round. Every phrase, billboard sign, sound effect. The. Same. Damn. Thing. This déjà vu becomes especially glaring with color commentator Rex Hudler since replaced by Eric Karros for the MLB 11, PS3 version. Poor Wonder Dog, relegated to a portable-only existence.

Still, MLB 11 does have two worthy additions over its predecessor, that being the return of roster updates plus a much-improved batter/pitcher dynamic. Updates, however, require going to a somewhat no-frills, forum-centric site (theshownation.com) to acquire the weekly goodies. Those unfamiliar with manually adding save game files to their PSP might encounter a slight learning curve up front. Nothing major, but worth noting, nonetheless.

This download requirement is the obvious bellwether to a second straight year of no true online presence for the PSP-based Show 11. Adhoc multiplayer remains on the slate, but a sad state of affairs for a title once bursting with easily accessible updates and a ripe community of players. Still, let the record state that there are updates…and good ones at that. Having just downloaded the most recent iteration, injuries, recalls, lineup/rotation tweaks are alive and present. Related, play-by-play – while a holdover from MLB 10 – does features more stated names versus numbers for everyday players.

The second addition to Show 11 is a subtle – but important – adjustment to pitcher: batter dynamics. In specific, opposing pitchers more accurately work – and miss – the strike zone, batters work the count appropriately (versus endless foul balls). This update adds enormous play value to the title, as the ability to generate walks, favorable counts and play ‘small ball’ adds needed realism to the PSP version of the Series. While I’ve artificially adjusted these nuances via sliders over the years, these tweaks simply made it harder to throw strikes versus adopt any semblance of strategy. Problem solved.

This AI update is neither panacea nor training wheels. Even on default settings, opposing batters will destroy literally every mistake made. Related, catcher requested pitches, locations should never be taken literally. Exaggerate with break, work the corners, or face the consequences. An unwillingness to risk walks – especially in appropriate situations – will make for short mount tenure.

Second - and as a batter - The Show has always been about plate patience, waiting on pitches for final movements. With the new AI intact, this patience is finally rewarded. Protect the plate, work a count, and reap the benefits.

Third, and while base running dynamics (in presentation, button assignments) now better reflect the PS3 version, both systems remain buggy in this regard. Base running persists as the ugly wart of the Series, with far too many unintended over/under-running instances, per game. While I miss the thrill of a successful, deliberate steal, I confess to having turned this setting to ‘Auto’ to compensate.

As mentioned, the rest of Show 11 is Show 10 with a lone numerical difference. If it ‘aint broke…re-release the damn thing with roster updates…? The game still plays wonderfully, has a terrific ‘Road the Show’ mode to keep things interesting, also a Manager option for the sabermetricians among us. While a repeat performance, audio/visual remains terrific for Show 11, solid in-game player models and commentary combine to make the game feel dynamic, playable and fun. Menus are slightly more readable, but all in all, you’re looking at last year’s title, presentation-wise.

Ergo, if you already own Show 10, it’s a tough call to justify a brand new purchase for Show 11. Roster-philes, however, will blindly fork over the dollars nonetheless. Newbies to the Series on PSP should likewise consider this a must purchase.

MLB 11: The Show for the PSP is last year’s version…with manual roster updates plus an improved batter/pitcher dynamic introduced. The game still looks great, plays great, and does what it does well…albeit in unoriginal fashion.

  • roster updates return!
  • improved batter/pitcher dynamic
  • if it ‘aint broke…
  • rehash from last year
  • no true online
  • the Blue Jays are still a .500 team
Quote: "MLB 11: The Show for the PSP is last year’s version…with manual roster updates plus an improved batter/pitcher dynamic introduced."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 04.25.11

Similar Games: MLB10: The Show (7.6) | MLB07: The Show (8.5)

MLB 11
The Show

San Diego


US Released
April 2011