MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
MMO News, Reviews & Opinions
- Written by Sm1tty Sm1t
Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth. Trailing 7-4 in game seven of the World Series. Two outs. The entire season is on the line and your team is counting on you to come up big. It’s a scenario we’ve all imagined growing up, but we’ve never been able to live it. Until now. MLB 12 The Show, Sony’s annual baseball installment, returns with realistic gameplay, deep, engrossing game modes, and game customization unrivaled not only in previous baseball titles, but sports titles altogether.
If you’re not a fan of sports titles, MLB 12 The Show is simply ‘another baseball game,’ but for those familiar with the sports genre, depth, customization, and well thought out game design are mixed to create an experience rarely found on the PS3. Providing simple game modes, roster updates, and a deep, personal experience in ‘Road to the Show’.
Sports games lately have attempted to incorporate (read: force down players throats) the implementation of the right thumbstick for various simple actions. MLB 12 The Show is no different, setting it as the primary method for hitting and pitching. Thankfully, players can easily switch this setting to a more classic mode using the face buttons for these actions.
Gameplay options are, again, par for the course. ‘Play now’ is akin to a ‘quick game’ with or without someone to play against; ‘Franchise’ allows players to delve into a deeper, longer mode that revolves around managing a Major League Baseball team; and ‘Road to the Show’ focuses on starting a player from Single A and developing him into an MLB All-Star. Basic, typical game modes we’ve seen in baseball games since last generation.
The mode most notable is ‘Road to the Show,’ which puts you in the shoes of an aspiring Major Leaguer. It’s a deep, engrossing experience that will surprise players with the fact that you’ll start caring about your avatar. If you’re not playing enough, simply approach the manager and explain that. If he agrees or sees that you’re contributing, you’ll earn play time. Additionally if you ignore the coach’s instructions, for instance attempting a steal when you’re not authorized, you may be benched. Also, in another move to personalize your experience, if you’re unhappy on your team you can demand a trade. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get one and, frustratingly, may end up on the same team for years. Granted, contract negotiations are available, but in true-to-life form, players aren’t free to negotiate a contract with a team of their choosing for six years, a choice Sony should have scrapped despite its accuracy.
The custom settings included can make your experience as deep or as shallow as you like. With choices available for how often you control your player, players will get the experience they desire. If you’d rather play only your at-bats, plays in the field, or times when on-base, you can. Additionally, you can play every inning of every game, regardless whether or not your player is included in the play.
Also included is an online mode, accessible via online pass, where players can face-off against one-another to determine who is the true ‘Sultan of Swat’. But bring your ‘A’ game because players that prowl online fall into two categories: they’re either very, very good, or they’re awful human beings who simply want to destroy your experience. Though staying connected online isn’t a bad thing, as roster updates (including injuries and trades) are frequently pumped into your console and players are given the option of installing or ignoring them altogether.
There are some questionable issues plaguing the game, though. Without a full install on the PS3 HDD, load times are agonizingly slow. And in a situation where you’re loading four or five times in a 10-minute span, it becomes an issue. The simple solution is to install the files, but even then the loads are still longer than expected. Also, and most frustrating, is a particular bug that happens at seemingly random times. During at-bats, as the pitcher releases the batter will become unable to swing the bat. As this happens, the game doesn’t freeze, but acts as if it’s waiting for a cue to trigger the next pitch … only it never happens. This forces players to quit and reload the last save, an unacceptable problem on a game that is obviously polished.
Featuring sparkling and realistic visuals combined with one of the best soundtracks to grace a console game, MLB 12 The Show is a wonderful installment to the baseball genre. It acts and plays exactly how you’d expect and that may be why it’s considered mediocre. It doesn’t do anything above what is expected from a baseball game and, while it delivers a solid experience, it still feels like a walk instead of a home run.
Overall Score: 6 out of 10
Disclaimer: Sony provided a copy of this game for review purposes