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MLB 10: The Show (PlayStation 3) artwork

MLB 10: The Show (PlayStation 3) review


"The Show series has always been of top quality, and this year iteration is no different. That is actually saying things quite literally, as there really is no difference in the actual game than the previous year as well. Some might say that you can't fix what isn't broken, and that is true for most aspects in MLB 10, but other parts feel dated and really should have been fixed and improved to make this game feel like less of a glorified roster update. "



The Show series has always been of top quality, and this year iteration is no different. That is actually saying things quite literally, as there really is no difference in the actual game than the previous year as well. Some might say that you can't fix what isn't broken, and that is true for most aspects in MLB 10, but other parts feel dated and really should have been fixed and improved to make this game feel like less of a glorified roster update.

Graphics:

Turning off all of the parts of MLB 10: The Show that actually allows it to function as a game and it could convince those of you who do not watch baseball religiously that you are actually watching a baseball game on T.V. To put it bluntly, The Show looks fantastic. The attention to detail is superb, and you can really tell that the developers wanted their game to mimic the real thing as closely as possible. There are amazing details everywhere, especially in the scenes between plays, where you will witness a fun cutscene involving some of the players or the fans in the stands.

The stadiums look amazing as they typically do. Each stadium closely mimics its real life counterpart down to the smallest detail. Even the real life signs are exactly where they should be, complete with either the real company ad or in most cases, a replacement ad that features closely to the real product. While the game is going on, shadows will change locations due to the movement of the sun. This can change the way a batter might change his batting approach, while the shadow hinders his view of the ball. This seems a prime focus for the developers, and they certainly did make the game almost photorealistic. Another new feature added was the crowd's ability to attempt interaction with the ball. Whenever a ball is hit towards the stands, you will have a clump of fans scurry towards the landing zone.

The character models and animations have also been improved if only marginally. Players have changing expressions in accordance to how their team is doing on the scoreboard. You can actually tell a player's disgust when their shortstop allows the ball to roll untouched through their legs. Animations are also quite fluid, fixing the issue of having to wait eons for a throw to come in from the outfield. The ball will also hit players missing dives now, instead of it going through them like they are a poltergeist with a solid glove.

The actual pitches are incredibly life like. A fastball actually feels like it is coming towards you at 95 MPH, while a curveball will make you flinch before it breaks right into the strike zone. In order to actually get a grip on the hitting, you will have to learn what the pitcher you are facing throws, how much it breaks, its speed and where he likes to throw it. Keeping all of these things in mind may seem challenging, but it makes it all the more rewarding taking the pitcher deep to center field.

Gameplay:

MLB 10: The Show really does capture the essence of baseball like no other game has to date. The on-field gameplay is as realistic as we've ever seen, and it comes complete with a full compliment of game modes to keep you busy until next season. At its core, it is a true baseball simulation, with almost no arcade type elements. This makes it slightly harder to jump straight into, but all the more rewarding for those that take the plunge straight into the deep end.

When actually playing between the foul lines, there is almost no change to the actual gameplay. This is understandable due to how well the gameplay formula has worked out in the past. The hitting controls are quite simple, having one button delegated to hitting the ball, another button to hit the ball harder with less accuracy, and another button to bunt. As with real baseball timing is everything. For instance, if you swing even a moment too early, you will hit the ball of the tip of the bat and the ball may be popped up or pulled foul. If you have not played an MLB: The Show game before, it is highly recommended that you begin at an earlier difficulty, as it has been stressed many times about how hard the hitting actually is. It is to be questioned whether this was intentional with begin a true baseball simulation, as with real baseball, you are considered to be quite successful if you get a hit 3 out of 10 at bats.

Fielding is also quite simple in nature. Each face button has a base assigned to it, and you must press that button to throw to the base. The longer the button is held down, the harder the throw. Harder throws have a greater tendency to go astray, so a balance between power and accuracy must be obtained in order to be truly successful. If the ball is hit and is just out of your reach, you can also try and dive for the ball. This is risky, as a miss means your player is out of the play for a few seconds, allowing the base runner one or more extra bases. In this year's game, there is also a chance for the ball to hit your player and dribble a few feet from him, making a dive slightly less risky than it previously was. Your pitcher can also be hit by a line drive, but for some odd reason shows no ill effects, even after being drilled flat on the nose off the bat of the number three hitter in the opposing team's lineup.

Pitching actually has had an addition this year with new pick off maneuvers you can throw at opposing base runners. You can now switch between slow, quick or trick pick off throws in order to keep the base runner from stealing a base on you. The actual motion of throwing the baseball towards the plate stays the same, with you selecting your pitch with one button, and then picking where you would like to start the pitch off at the plate. If this is a fastball, your pitcher will attempt to throw it exactly where you selected, and if it is a pitch that breaks, this location will be where the pitcher starts the break of the pitch. It will end up in a completely different location depending on the pitch selected. Pitching to the corners does seem slightly harder this year, as the umpires often times seem like they have a grudge against pitches that would be considered borderline, and will call them a ball.

There are copious amounts of game modes in this year's game. The most basic mode is exhibition mode, where you select a team to face off against another team in a one-off match. Franchise mode allows you to select a team and lead that team to victory, allowing you to manage the financial and roster situations regarding the team. The Home Run Derby returns this year, allowing you to select the largest sluggers on your favorite team to compete against others in a 1-3 round competition to see who can hit the most home runs. Online mode also makes a return, allowing for single matches as well as online leagues. The final mode is called Road to the Show, where you create a player and try to mold him into a Hall of Fame player.

In Road to the Show mode, you are able to create a player based on however you would like. The Create-A-Player screen has been improved, giving you many more choices as to how you would like your player to look. After you finish the creation of the character, (including the position your player will play), it is time to play ball. The kicker is that you start off as a no name rookie in AA. This means you will have to play your way to the top, going through many of the same hardships real life baseball players face. You play will not be enough, as you actually have earn training points in order to upgrade your abilities. You earn these points through stellar play as well as following what your manager wants you to do in a game. If he suggests that you lay down a bunt, but you choose to swing away, you will be punished accordingly. Without improving your player's stats, you will be unable to progress and will stay as a career minor leaguer.

The position you choose in Road to the Show mode will alter what you need to do each game. As a fielder, you will have to take your 3+ at bats per game, as well as field your position accordingly. Failure in fielding the way a real baseball player would will actually lose you points, a nice little feature added to force you into being a team player. If you select to be a pitcher, you will always start off as a middle reliever. From there, your performance will determine whether you get to advance to a Starting Pitcher or a Closer. The other position you can pick is a catcher, something added new for this year's game.

If you do decide to become a catcher, be prepared for the most monotonous part of MLB 10: The Show. The feature of being able to call the games as a catcher does not live up to the hype, and actually dulls down the experience of being a baseball player. You essentially get to ask the pitcher if he would like to throw your pitch. If he agrees, he will throw that pitch. If he declines to throw your suggestion, you will have to choose a different pitch for him to throw. This sounds exactly like a real catcher, and it truly is. The problem that occurs is that you don't actually get all that much control. You get much more control actually playing as a pitcher and you will probably enjoy the experience quite a bit more.

The online portion of MLB 10 is quite a mixed bag. It has some amazing depth, allowing you and some friends to create an online league, and have your own seasons. It can also be incredibly frustrating to actually play those games that you set up. Depending on your internet connection, as well as the other player's, you could have a smooth game with very little issues. The more likely situation that occurs is an almost unplayable mess that will have you frustrated after missing that pitch straight down the middle of the zone due to an unexpected lag in the connection. This can make online play almost not worth playing at times, and will make you want to stick to the offline game modes.

Sound:

The typical baseball sounds are all in this game, and sound like they would in real life. The main problem that occurs with the sound is the commentators. The same commentators have been in this series for numerous years now, and they are beginning to wear a little thin. The comments are relatively unchanged from previous installments, with the only new additions being the ones added for players just beginning their major league career. There are a lot of comments and there is usually one for each situation that will occur, but for each instance, there is only about one comment. Many situations occur more than once, and you will often hear the commentators utter the same line twice or more in a single game because of this.

Play Time:

As with most sports games, MLB 10: The Show will keep you playing it for a long time. It may take a short time to learn the difficult hitting mechanics, but once you are competent with them, you will find yourself enjoying each game and wanting to hit each and every pitch. The single player games can sometimes seem to take quite a long time to finish, with those incredibly detailed cutscenes not being afraid to rear their head with every pause in gameplay. After a while, it could be preferable to turn them off, if only to finish a game before the top of the hour. With the amount of game modes, you will most likely find yourself popping in this game until after the actual baseball season comes to its conclusion.

Pros and Cons:

+ Deep and rewarding gameplay
+ Photorealistic graphics
+ Player creation customization

- Online multiplayer lag
- Catcher's RTTS not living up to the hype

Recommendation (Buy):

MLB 10: The Show is still the best baseball game you can buy. It is not easy to jump into, but once engaged, it becomes a rewarding and thrilling experience. It is a true simulation, with presentation on par with actual baseball. The amount of differing game modes is staggering, with enough content to keep you playing all the way through the real baseball season. If you have a Playstation 3 and you would like a baseball game, this is the one you will want to buy.

Rating: 8/10

marter's avatar
Community review by marter (March 21, 2010)

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LowerStreetBlues posted March 22, 2010:

Good informative review. A couple questions, if you have the time: Is the game more offensive or defensive leaning? How difficult is it to work a walk in the game (is a patient approach sometimes rewarded)?

Also, you might want to make an edit to clarify this line re paragraph seven:

"For instance, if you swing even a moment too early, you will it the ball of the tip of the bat, the ball may be popped up or pulled foul."
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marter posted March 22, 2010:

1) It doesn't really seem to lean one way or another. I've had 1-0 games, as well as 17-14 games and everywhere in between. You can also tweak the sliders if you are finding the game getting to offensive/defensive.

2) Drawing a walk is pretty difficult if the sliders are left on default, but lowering the CPU consistency and accuracy does wonders in this matter.

Thanks for finding that typo.
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LowerStreetBlues posted March 23, 2010:

I always feel like such a cheater adjusting sliders. It makes me wonder how much under the hood of sports games is really just generating random outcomes based on probabilities and math tricks.

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