MLB 13: The Show Review
With the new season just around the corner and spring training coming to a close, it only means one thing. It’s time for the latest instalment of MLB: The Show! And this latest one doesn’t disappoint. Just as FIFA and PES do battle every year to be crowned king of football, so do MLB 2K13 and MLB: The Show! The first thing that strikes you about The Show is just how realistic it looks. It is by far one of the best and realistic looking sports games on the market. Not only does the game look lifelike, but the players animations are eerily similar to their real-life counterparts. Virtually every player is easy to identify who exactly it is.
Audio is also brilliant. The atmosphere created by the fans, and the sound of the bat striking the ball just make you feel like you are watching a real MLB game on the television, not playing a video game. Commentary also runs smoothly and freely. One thing which usually bugs me are the commentators coming up with ridiculous comments not even related to the incident on screen, but that is not an issue here.
Its all well and good looking stunning, but how good really is MLB 13: The Show?
There’s no doubt that there is a learning curve involved with batting. Its never been so straightforward that a complete novice can just take the controller and hit a home run. In previous instalments, you had to get your timing near enough spot on in order to hit the ball. Thankfully, more leeway is given, meaning your timing can be more off than previously, but you can still hit the ball. This will help encourage new players to the series, and I’m sure we can expect to see a few more home runs as a result. The whole fun of baseball is striking the ball cleanly, so it gets boring pretty quick when your not always doing so. But this new change doesn’t mean that you are going to hit the ball 100% of the time or score more home-runs than Josh Hamilton in one game.
MLB: The Show has always felt like a realistic game. However this has been taken to a whole new level. There is a new push/pull physics which tracks how players spray the ball around, and puts them into categories. Pitching is pretty much the same as before, however it would appear that it is easier to fool batters now. Animations still look brilliant.
With regards to fielding, a new addition is the Button Accuracy Throw. A meter is shown on screen which determines the accuracy of the throw, and the speed is controlled by how hard you press the button. While this seems like a good addition, it still needs some work. Too often do you end up overcooking or under cooking a throw, throwing it into the ground or completely missing your target. However with some work, this could be a nice feature.
For anyone who is completely new to the series, or who wants to get more familiar with the controls, you will be pleased to hear that a new Beginner mode is included. This takes you through the basics of the game such as batting, and gradually increases the difficulty as you progress. A complete novice going head-first into their first game will be quickly overwhelmed by the huge variety of options and controls on offer, so this is a good starting point.
Franchise mode is my favourite game mode on offer. It allows you to take control of any MLB Franchise. From here you can handle training, scouting, trading and play every game of the season among many other features. The biggest change made to Franchise Mode this year is the financial modelling. The scouting system is also improved, offering more human aspects. Scouting takes the route of discovering players, then scouting them individually to get a more accurate report of their attributes. Player stats are all realistic, and you can set custom training drills to further improve their skills.
Road to the Show is another popular game mode, and sees you take control of your own individual player as you try to make a name for yourself in the MLB.
Online play is back, with some tweaks to league commissioners, schedules etc. There are now also more options to filter stats, look up historical details etc. Playing online allows you to take part in leagues and play games against other players. There is nothing like testing your skills against other players.
Despite being such a terrific game, there are some issues with the game. The biggest issue is loading times. Simming a match can seem to take forever, as can playing a position player in Road to the Show where you must wait between at-bats and fielding attempts.
Overall, MLB 13: The Show is a very realistic and satisfying baseball simulation. With incredible graphics, great animations and lifelike players, this a must have game for any baseball fan. Franchise mode is a feature you can spend hours playing without realising and really showcases how great The Show is. Its clear that with this version they have aimed at gaining new players to the series. This is evident with the addition of Beginner Mode which will certainly help with this.
If it wasn’t for the long loading times, then this would be an even better game. While they are not game-breaking, they are very frustrating.
Published by Stephen Jackson 18/03/2013