It’s that time of year again when the amount of sweat on your brow really shows how much heart you put into the game. With Major League Baseball being America’s pastime, MLB The Show has always done a great job at distilling the love of the game. With their spot-on gameplay and graphics so life-like you would swear you needed a shower afterward. Last year I had the honor of playing MLB The Show 12, my first time with the series, and I could not put it down. I haven’t always been a baseball fan when it came to video games, but 12 changed it all. MLB The Show 13 was also a great game, but some changes to the gameplay make it a little confusing at first.
One of my main problems with this game, which was pretty minor, is the fact that the controls changed since the MLB 12. Since I was used to the old style controls, I had to learn them all over again. After I figured them out it became an amazing game. What if you don’t want to learn the new control scheme, though? Who has time for a new control system? Ain’t nobody has time for that. Luckily, the controls aren’t set in stone. If you prefer, there is an option to play with classic controls in your settings making game time way simpler.
The online play for The Show 13 is basically the same as the offline play now mode except for the game rooms. With the basic play now online mode you have three different play styles: Online Co-op vs CPU, Online Exhibition, and Online Rated Match. The obvious bonus is that you don’t have to have your friend in the same room in order to have a good time with them. I really enjoy that fact that there is online Co-op vs CPU since you may not be looking to get into serious competition; you just want to play a game with your friends. This tends to make this game more relaxed instead of when you play online,playing to be the best.
The Exhibition mode isn’t really anything too crazy to talk about, just your average run of the mill online face off. With it being exhibition,the skill of your opponent isn’t taken into account when you’re matched up; making it frustrating sometimes, but doesn’t ruin the experience. They also gave the option of game lobbys which gives you the options of playing by strict rules, play styles, etc.
For the harder core players there are rated (aka ranked) matches. I’ve always loved ranked matches growing up being a hardcore “Fighter Fan” because you can really test your worth against other real people. How else are you going to know if all of your hard work and dedication really means anything or has gotten you anywhere. Not all online matches in gaming have been great due to servers, but with The Show you have no worries. The servers run very smooth; keeping the lag from destroying your fun. I haven’t run into any problems playing ranked, well at least with the current updates.
As far as the new controls go not much has changed, but there are a few new attributes. When it comes to fielding/throwing there is now a red/yellow/green meter to measure your accuracy. The better the player, the bigger the green section will be; creating more opportunities for striking out opponents. If you hit the meter in the red, it will result in an outlandishly terrible throw.
Players who prefer pitching have received the short end of the stick this year because the game seems to be set up a little more for hitting. Things are still basically the same when it comes to your pitches, base throws, etc. When it comes to batting, though, the show has it down. This has always been my favorite part of the game; providing players with all kinds of possibilities to humiliate their friends. With more customization for your batters, the players have more edge on the competition than last year. You are now able to tell what type of swing the current hitter has, making it a lot easier to form a game plan for your batters. There are five different labels that batters are labeled under: Pull Hitter, Extreme Pull, Balanced, Opposite Field Hitter, or Extreme Opposite hitter. Knowing these batting types will help you to adjust each pitch to the batter, giving you an insight on how the batter will hit the ball.
Last year I was astounded by the amount of work that they put into the graphics, and I’m pleased to say they have improved even more. Every aspect is spot-on, from the lighting down to the parks. You can tell that the designers worked really hard on this. You can see every detail from the reflection off of the player’s helmet all the way down to the vines growing on the walls.
The sound for MLB 13 The Show has always been the closest thing to a real baseball game you can get. The effects, music, and voices are very clear; keeping you submerged in the game and hyping you up with every home run. They have also added on another broadcaster, Steve Lyons, who adds even more realistic atmosphere to the game. The broadcasters really make you feel like you’re there.
One thing that I have come across that really makes me mad with this game is that if you want the smoothest experience offered you have to dedicate your systems soul to installing the game taking up 14 gb of memory. I don’t know about other people, but with all of my downloaded games that I regularly play,there’s not enough space on my system. The problems you see by not installing the game are noticeable. Sometimes when I selected the “Play Now” option the game was lock up on me to the point where I would need to restart it. Seems like a problem a lot of people are going to be dealing with.
Despite a few shortcomings, I think that MLB The Show 13 is a welcome addition to the series. Even though I’m not a very big sports game fan, for some reason they know how to keep pulling me back for more. Well done.