MLB 09: The Show Review
- Posted March 2nd, 2009 at 16:08 EDT by
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MLB 09: The Show improves on enough aspects of its predecessor to warrant its yearly purchase. With advancements in the Road to the Show and Franchise modes, gamers will be playing this title all year.
- The new training modes for Road to the Show
- The hot shot and bobble fielding situations
- The lighting and precise detail of the stadiums
- That online play isn’t as fluid as it needs to be right now
It’s that time of year again when the snow trickles away, the air warms up, and parents bring their kids to Spring Training to get a first glimpse at the superstars of tomorrow. Baseball season is right around the corner, and with it comes the annual release of what has quickly become the gaming industry’s greatest baseball franchise, MLB: The Show.
Last year’s release, MLB 08: The Show, corrected some of the series' minor flaws while delivering a simulation baseball experience unlike any other. SCE San Diego did a fine job re-tuning the fielding and pitching mechanics by listening to fans of the game over the developer’s off season. This year is no different. Due to the time spent conversing with the community, MLB 09: The Show actually raises the bar from past installments, which very few people thought possible.
Outside of the developers bringing in Dustin Pedroia for some serious motion capture sessions, the team has added in a substantial amount of unique player styles, as well as new tag and gameplay animations in order to polish the simulation experience. Furthermore, a new collision detection system has been implemented to remove the unrealistic plays of the past. Baserunners no longer freely run into defenders standing and waiting for the ball; instead, they try to circle around them to avoid the tag. These are just a few examples of technical changes to the gameplay that SCE San Diego produced for MLB 09 to turn it into an authentic baseball experience.
It’s no secret that The Show franchise has always and should always revolve around one of the best game modes of any sports title, Road to the Show. This mode allows gamers to create a custom player of their choice to play any position on the field. The objective is to play as your created player, turning him from a minor leaguer into a baseball legend. MLB 09: The Show gives you the option of entering your player into the first-year player draft or selecting a team of your choice. Once this is done, you’re given a variety of settings to configure to create a more enjoyable experience.
Much like last year’s title, Road to the Show is primarily played on the field. You're given goals to complete by your coach, like striking out a batter or throwing a runner out at home. All tasks result in one of four different outcomes: Goal Complete, Goal Failed, Goal Canceled and Positive Result. Depending on which goals you complete or fail, you’re given points at the end of each game that you can distribute to progress your player’s skills, which range from arm strength to contact against left-handed pitchers. When it comes to distributing training points, it’s always good to take note of what type of advancement goals have been set forth.
Advancement goals are periodic objectives that your manager or coach gives your player. This could involve something as simple as maintaining a .300% batting average over the next five series of games, or it could be a training objective like increasing your bunting ability to a certain point. These objectives help you move up the ranks as a player at a quicker rate.
One of the new implementations to Road to the Show 3.0 is the addition of training sessions. The developers have created special training sessions that focus on your batting techniques and base-running in order to improve your abilities in a different way than just dishing out training points. In these two mini-modes, players have the chance to gain plate vision, discipline, power and contact improvements in batting, or base-running aggression, speed and base-running ability in the base-running training mode. These are welcomed inclusions as they add an extra amount of authenticity while also providing gamers a nice change of pace from the games. They also offer another way to improve your player without having to dish out the training points to areas you may not be too concerned with.
Outside of these additions, Road to the Show provides a similar setting and gaming experience that fans of the series have come to love. This is also, once again, the mode you should and probably will spend the ... (continued on next page)
- 11:09am EST - March 2nd, 2009
must get this, nice deserved score
- 11:18am EST - March 2nd, 2009
O.o a 9.0? damn. they must have really improved it over last years.
- 11:25am EST - March 2nd, 2009
Great! can't wait to get it! *waiting for Tax check*
- 11:26am EST - March 2nd, 2009
i played the demo and it looks great, i downloaded the Mayor league Baseball 2k9 and compared to the show i looks bad. Might pick this up
- 11:32am EST - March 2nd, 2009
What does a sports game have to do to get a 10? There's NO WAY to make this game better. And after reading this...
("Hit Franchises Key" section, 4th paragrapgh of the section)
...Sony might want to think about dropping the paradigm of the annual sports game and just charge for a roster/feature update. Maybe release The Show every 4 years or so...
Anyway, there is an obvious bias against sports games where even the best Sports game cannot crack a 9.0. 9.0 is the new "10" for a Sports game. Meanwhile, a so-so FPS automatically scores an 8.0 TO START.
At any rate, I'm just glad that the "Madden of Baseball" is a PS3 exclusive.
- 11:34am EST - March 2nd, 2009
Can't wait to pick this up @ Midnight...
- 11:40am EST - March 2nd, 2009
- 12:34pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
must get this. 08 was amazing, and im loving the show.
The only baseball game series that gets its mostly right.
- 12:36pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
I absolutely can't wait for this, wow so many good games again, I just finished all of the fall games and get hit with KZ2, SF IV, MLB 09: The Show, and RE5. This should most definately be sports game of the year
- 12:52pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
Cant wait to pick this up tomorrow. I just hope the blizzard we got yesterday and today doesn't delay any shipping of the game.
- 12:54pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
YES! God I can't wait for Wednesday. This is one of the reasons I own a PS3.
- 1:21pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
man i hate sports games, but when i played this on the ps3, i was like omg this game still sucks (lol). then i tried it on the psp and now i cant stop playing it. kinda weird aint it?
- 1:32pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
too bad baseball sucks!
- 2:02pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
Actually i`ve never been fond of sports games,but this one seems great......
- 2:23pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
I stopped playing MLB 08 about a week ago. This is by far the game I played the most last year. Though, I do wish they had fixed a few visual problems that I noticed are still in the demo. They could have added a few different fan characters and spaced them out a bit. Plus, the catcher still throws right through a batter who is in his way. And the animation of a first baseman deciding to keep the ball and not throw it to the pitcher, at a play on first, is still jerky. Otherwise, the game will be amazing, I am sure.
- 4:02pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
I loved the demo and the graphics and animations look amazing. I'm definitely buying this.
- 5:32pm EST - March 2nd, 2009
Good review, Dave. I like the screenshots of the top NL teams fighting for the right to cause the most heartbreak amongst its fanbase, lol.
- 2:12am EST - March 3rd, 2009
X-Play continues to hate anything created by Sony. I say "hate" even though they gave it a 4 out of 5 because they KNOW this is a 5 out of 5 game, but just can't bring themselves to give it a perfect score. What was their argument against it? That The Show still does not use the analog sticks for pitching and swinging. Well, X-Play, perhaps had you read the manual you would KNOW how to use the analog sticks when batting. As for pitching, THANK GOD The Show does not do this. The competition game is ridiculously tiring BECAUSE of the analog pitching routine. The Show creators know that baseball fans play the game for hours and hours a day, not once a day like the X-Play reviewers. When you play game after game after game, and use the analog sticks for pitching AND hitting, you fingers and hands become more sore than 10 hours of Killzone 2.
- 2:45am EST - March 3rd, 2009
I'm not interested in sports games much(baseball the very least too) but from the demo I could tell this was a good game that had a lot of polish put into it.
- 10:30am EST - March 3rd, 2009
Just got my copy and the demo truly is an early build. the game is actually even MORE polished than the demo!
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