MLB 09: The Show -Review PS2/PSP/PS3

mlb09_review

Sony’s Studio San Diego attempts to throw another gem across all current Playstation platforms with MLB 09: The Show.  Undoubtedly one of the best baseball game franchises ever, in addition to being the most consistent yearly video game sports franchises, the question is not if this year will be good but rather what has changed since last year?  Or does it need to change anything aside from updating to 2009 rosters and stats?

The Pros

Across all platforms (PS3, PS2, PSP), they have tweaked some gameplay mechanics and AI in efforts to improve the realism of the game.  The first adjustment comes in the power hitting dept. as it seems to be a bit more difficult to knock one out.  It can be done, as proven with my tenure with the game, but the HRs are noticeably less often this year.    The fielding has also changed, with AI and Human play becoming much more reliant on individual player stats.  ’09 includes a higher number fielding errors in the game with evasion from this dependent on the quality of players in your infield and outfield.  In addition, the individual fielding quality (i.e. throws, catching, reaction to the direction of hit balls) also seem to be more variable depending on the stats of your fielder.  You will also be able to adjust the fielding positions even between pitches which allows you to adapt to the situation and who is up to bat.  Depending on the chosen fielding position, your fielders will prepare more appropriately for an expected outcome (i.e. moving in infielders will prepare them to react to a bunt).

The PIRATES suck T-H-I-S  M-U-C-H!

The PIRATES suck T-H-I-S M-U-C-H!

When it comes to game modes, Road to the Show seems unchanged with the exception of the introduction of new practice drills that are designed to improve your performance in game.  Franchise mode has a new 40 man roster and expanded management options for running a team with a trusty handbook to guide you through the more detailed things like salary arbitration.  Even the coaching staff you hire will positively or negatively affect the performance of your players. As for online mode, the biggest addition to that is friendly quits and concessions where, if approved by the opposing team, you will be able to leave a game without affecting your rating.  A new Legend mode has also been introduced emphasizing the effect of impact players in the game increasing the overall difficulty.

Mmmmm, I totally smell natchos right now -sigh.

Mmmmm, I totally smell natchos right now -sigh.

The PS3 has also included a number of new touches to add to the realism of the game with custom chants/taunts as well as in game mascots that rev up the crowd for the home team. The graphics for the PS3 version can be highlighted by the improved detail for each and every stadium with the appropriate lighting and shadow effects specific to each one and time of day.  It is also noticeable that the number of different player animations has definitely increased from last years on all platforms.

Though the PS3 version is obviously the graphical powerhouse in the family, the PS2 version still holds it’s own with impressive character models and animations somewhat close to its PS3 brethren.  It is commendable that the PS2 and PSP version of the games for the most part still feature the robust game modes available in the PS3 version. 

mlbshow_outof-play

Um, whall yer out there -GET US SOME NATCHOS!

The Cons

The PSP version of this year’s The Show, seems to provide the least amount of improvement in the graphics department.  While understandably the portable version of the game holding its’ unique place in the family, it still seems that the least effort was put into the PSP version to improve the graphics this year.

 

For all platforms, issues that date back to the 2007 iteration seems to have not been addressed even after two years.  The collision factor (or lack of) is still noticeable in the game where no animations seem to be implemented with exception of home plate collisions.  There also remains a lack of outfield support from you’re A.I. teammates when you misplay a ball and have to chase it down with the other outfielders nowhere to be seen.  Finally, the lag of online play is still significant to the point where during pitches, the ball will freeze in mid air as it crosses the plate or you unexpectedly make contact when it looks like you won’t.
In the Road to the Show mode when assigned different tasks within a game, the camera angles seem a bit awkward even more so in the PS2/PSP version which seems to be more fixed and less adjustable than the PS3 version.  This, at times prevents you from completing the task assigned because of your limited view.  Another blemish in RTTS mode, is the new base running controls. They now include the analog sticks -you’re not gonna be thrilled about it.

Hey! collision detection is MUCH better this...Oooooffff!

Hey! collision detection is MUCH better this...Oooooffff!

Here’s the Deal
The baseball video game crown remains safe with Sony’s MLB: The Show.  Improvements come to all versions with gameplay tweaks and animation improvements to enhance the overall realism of the game.  The graphics for both PS2 and PS3 are respectively impressive where the PSP version seems a bit old.  The PS3 iteration of 09 is the premiere version of the game with the most impressive visual detail and added touches like custom soundtrack and chants/taunts.  The game however is hampered by recurring problems that have gone unaddressed like the online lag and the noticeable collision and AI glitches.  Even so, MLB 09: The Show still remains the most realistic game simulator for any sport  on any system and should be part of any baseball fans library. PSP 7.5/10, PS2 7.9/10, PS3 8.5/10  Sean C. & elSCIENTIFICO

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~ by consolecreatures on March 24, 2009.

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