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MLB The Show 14 Review


For the past few years, MLB: The Show has been the front runner in sports simulation, with its detailed presentation, solid core-gameplay and in-depth game modes, it really was a game that fans of baseball could be proud of. Now, I know what you’re thinking, baseball is a glorified and slower version of cricket just with a few complex rule differences, correct? Well, I’m not going to disagree, cricket is the greatest sport in the world, and baseball, well, isn’t. That’s not to say I’m not a fan, but like the majority of the UK, out of the four ‘main’ US sports, baseball is probably my least favourite. It’s probably this exact same reason as to why a few of you probably laughed when I said that MLB: The Show is the front-runner in sports games, but honestly, it truly is.

MLB 14: The Show may be the last version we see on the PS3, and I was excited to sit down and get my hands on it to see if any labour of love has gone into this year’s iteration of Sony’s exclusive series, bearing in mind that all promo, reveals and previews have all been about the debut version on the PS4. The one big thing that I can say is that it still feels like baseball, it still feels true and real. Realism mixed with exciting and enticing gameplay has always been one of The Show’s assets; it drew you in and then knocked you out of the park like a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning. Needless to say, this is still apparent this year, stronger than ever.



Included in MLB 14: The Show are all the game modes from last year, but with a few added extras. Online franchise mode brings friends together to compete in an online version of The Show’s stable franchise mode where you take control of running an organisation in the big leagues, while Community Challenges allows users to setup, share and complete in-game scenarios. Having given Online Franchise a bash, it’s safe to say that the same lag and drop issues that have troubled The Show for years are still potent and at the forefront of its problems. The best mode on offer still continues to be Road To The Show (RTTS) where, similar to other sport’s career modes, you create a character and build them from a minor league nobody to a superstar in the big leagues. RTTS does a great job of cutting down and streamlining what could be a very long and drawn out process of playing through the years by only concentrating on periods of play or at-bats when your player is involved. This feature, known as Player Lock, can now also be implemented across other game modes along with another new feature called Quick Counts, whereby you are thrown into pitching against batters with generated counts depending on the skill level of both your pitcher and the opposing batter. Both of these new features help to skim the lengthy games and aid those in need of a more streamlined game without losing the importance on your input on the result.

As I mentioned previously, MLB 14: The Show has always been visually stunning and provided one of the most astounding presentation packages in any sports game on the market. I’m sure this is the case this year and that it hasn’t gotten worse, but I can’t help but feel disappointed; the reason? The PS4 version. With all the attention and press that the PS4 version is getting, a game that is easily the most impressive looking game on the PS4 to date, I can’t help but to compare the two. The player models, stadiums, fans, etc are so impressive on the PS4 that it’s very hard to see any improvement that they’ve made to these on the PS3 version from last year to this. The improvements to the presentation are top level; it almost feels like you’re watching and interacting with an actual broadcast rather than playing a videogame.



The two aspects of The Show that I felt alienated new players each year were the difficulty and the controls. This year, developers SCE San Diego have tried to combat the difficulty wall by introducing a ‘Dynamic’ difficulty, a scheme that monitors how you play, how easy/difficult aspects of the game are for you and how successful you are to adjust the difficulty levels over the more games you play. The more you play, the more it’ll adjust. The ability to choose between two control schemes, one simple button-orientated and another that involves both thumb sticks, helps to ease new players in.

One of the smallest new features that may actually turn out to be the most important for, not only The Show, but all sport simulation games, is the ability to cross-play your saved games. You have the ability to cross-play saves between the PS3 and PS Vita versions of The Show, but from this year forward you can also cross-save games between different years! So if you’ve got a Franchise or RTTS that you’ve ploughed hours of your free time into, when MLB 15: The Show releases next year, there’s no need to start again as your saves can be ported into the new version! About time, right?!

MLB 14: The Show provides another solid outing for the PlayStation exclusive, with gameplay improvements and additions that sets itself apart from MLB 13 and keeps its spot as the pinnacle of sports simulation that the likes of FIFA and Madden can look up to for inspiration. With the assumption that everything will also be included in the series’ debut outing on the PS4, it’s rookie season on the new generation of consoles could be one for the ages.

Words by James Grantham.
@JamesGrantham26 | PSN/Xbox LIVE: Redskins2336

(Version Tested: PS3/PS Vita)

Pros

+ Same solid gameplay that comes with its reputation
+ Presentation additions immerse you even more than before
+ Additions to speed up games are welcomed
+ New modes add even more value
+ Cross-play/saves! Yippee!

Cons

- PS4 version overshadows the improvements made to PS3 version

Edited On 22 Apr, 2014

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