MLB 09: The Show Review
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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
(continued from previous page) ...will spend the majority of your time playing. It's the most rewarding, unique, and enjoyable aspect of the game.
MLB 09: The Show continues to provide other games modes as well, however. Season, All-Star, and Rivalry modes all make their way back into the heart of the game, while Franchise mode takes it up a notch with SCE San Diego’s version 2.0 upgrade. It’s usually very hard to find a complaint about MLB: The Show in general, but some gamers took issue with last year’s franchise mode, pointing out how there was no 40-man roster, salary arbitration, waiver transactions or September call-ups. This year though, those complaints have been thrown to the side as the team has implemented all four of those key missing ingredients into their Franchise recipe.
For those of you who are unaware of what these additions mean, let us explain. The 40-man roster allows you, as general manager, to protect 40 players on your club from being hand-picked by other teams during an off-season draft process. Salary Arbitration gives you the option of resigning a player to your team through an arbitration hearing, which involves you and the player making your case for why he deserves a certain amount of money. The MLB either takes the side of the player, which forces you to pay him a one-year contract in line with his requested salary, or they’ll side with you, forcing the player to take the check for a lesser amount. This is a great way to keep key players out of Free Agency and on your team. Waiver transactions cause a pop-up on the screen that notifies you of players being released or demoted without the appropriate contract option to do so, giving you the opportunity to claim players other teams may not want to lose. Finally, September call-ups allow you to call up minor league players to your MLB club in order to help you make that final run at October glory.
When it comes down to baseball gameplay, no one does it better than MLB 09: The Show. With the new implementation of hot shots and bobbles, infielders play a more realistic style of ball. No longer do they suck everything up like a vacuum in order to make the perfect out. Instead, their fielding abilities now come into play as the ball can take a quick hop on them at any moment, making a routing grounder more trouble than it should be. This results in players bobbling the ball or missing it entirely -- something that happens quite often in real life.
SCE San Diego has also upgraded the way in which fielders move toward a hit ball. The team understood that it gave the CPU by allowing the computer to take direct routes to the ball every single time, forcing the player to play more conservatively than realistically. This has been fixed, as fielders now sometimes take bad angles or very good angles, which give the player the option to try for that extra base or to play it safe. This definitely adds to the overall feel of the title as a baseball simulator.
Pitching and batting mechanics are similar to last year's. You use the standard meter to pitch the ball with the face buttons selecting the pitch type, just like you continue to use square or X for power or contact swings. The 'guess' pitch mechanic is still around, yet the overall risk/reward of the system has changed. Gamers who choose to utilize it will be rewarded much less than gamers who choose to play without it. This is a great change, as it allows lesser skilled individuals to use it as a handicap without it giving them an unfair advantage over players who choose not to abuse it.
If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that a yearly installment of MLB: The Show is worth the asking price, some of the newer features that the game has to offer most certainly will. Have you ever played a sports title and realized that certain presentation aspects for your favorite team are missing? Perhaps a certain chant isn’t in the game, or you’d like your MLB 09: The Show created player to have a certain walk-up ... (continued on next page)