MLB 13: The Show Review
- Posted March 6th, 2013 at 14:55 EDT by Timothy Nunes
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San Diego Studios seeks perfection beyond past PS3 installments by continuously generating new and better ways to play America's Pastime. The PS Vita version has limitations, but its performance more than justifies the comparative gripes to its console counterpart.
- Great new mode for new players
- Road to the Show changes aim to please
- Various additions further strengthen the franchise
- Some audio issues with new RttS features
- PS Vita version missing game modes
The magic behind annually-released titles is the fact that a relatively similar experience can be had each and every year with changes that enhance each title along the way. San Diego Studios more than likely knows more about baseball than most baseball players do, considering the amount of dedicated yearly work that the team puts together in each release of MLB The Show. MLB 13 The Show takes everything that fans loved from last year’s release and makes them better, and, like every new release, the development crew adds fresh ways to play the game so even veterans have something new to try.
The most welcoming feature to MLB 13, especially for new investors in the best-selling baseball franchise, is the Beginner Mode. Since so many different control schemes have been added over the years, it becomes incredibly hard to determine what type of play styles work best or feel most comfortable—hell, this can be challenging for people who have played the last few installments. The Show 13 allows beginners to jump into an easier mode of play, but it’s not simply a lowered delivery. It’s a mode which responds to the player to determine ability and rate of progress, and the difficulty adapts itself to player performance automatically.
Customizable controls have been a prominent theme in The Show, and each one has introduced a new way to play the game in some form or another. Last year, players were graced with Pulse Hitting and Pulse Pitching, and this year has some gems of its own. With 29 different pages of controls detailed in the Game Controls option in the main menu, it almost goes without saying that you’ll find a play style that fits you perfectly.
One aspect of the game that veterans will notice right away—and newcomers will be surprised by—is that the HUD overlay looks like it should be part of an actual TV broadcast. Last year, the display and the field looked connected in one image, but this year yields an appearance that feels as authentic as watching a baseball game on cable; a couple of times, I caught myself watching a preview game that loaded up from being on the main menu for too long, because the games themselves caught me off guard.
Many of the typical game modes make a return, such as Franchise and Road to the Show. This year, Franchise Mode isn’t only about playing through seasons. On top of the normal game schedule, you manage your team’s performance by playing the games and are rewarded with more financial support. So, even smaller teams who do well can raise themselves in the overall league ranks and become a financial and able contender with some of the more able-bodied teams.
Road to the Show (RttS), which is one of my favorite gameplay modes in The Show, has received a very intriguing change to how it’s delivered. The mode has its normal experience point system for leveling player abilities, but RttS now enriches the experience of each game rather than simply delivering the parts of the game where only the player participates. Take a pitcher for example: the other half of the inning that’s not pitched is simulated in a digital diamond on the pop-up menu screen in order of play occurrence. This allows the player to keep track of what happens when he’s not on the field instead of coming back to a 10-point deficit and wondering why. For those who love baseball more than anything in the world, you also have the option to watch from the dugout like you were on the field yourself. So, instead of watching the digital simulation of what happened in your off-time, you can watch it happen from the sidelines. At the same time, you can use the right joystick to look around the stadium; The Show will force you to look at each pitch automatically, but it lets you go ... (continued on next page)