MLB '09: The Show Review

AlexAnalyst IMarch 16, 2009

MLB '08: The Show stands as one of the best sports games ever made, and so with the release of MLB '09: The Show, things could only get better.

While no huge features have been added to the most recent title in The Show series, many new details were added to the already top-notch game modes—the player signature motions and animations were immensely upgraded, and the new lighting system is one of the best ever implemented into a sports title.

The Show has become great to many fans because of the small details that cap everything off. There is no lack of that detail in the ‘09 version.

This year's mascots were added to over half of the parks, and each stadium has its unique features, ranging from championship banners to almost identical scoreboards. The details have been added to the players as well. Sunglasses, eye black, and wristbands are only a few of the accessories that make players look lifelike.

Continuing in the details' department, the developers at SCEA have completely upgraded the pitching motions and batting stances.

When you see guys like Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, and Denard Span come to the plate, not only will they look like their real life images, but they’ll also hit like them. Each of the three players has unique stances and pre-hitting approaches that are greatly captured.

Franchise mode is one of the most popular game modes in any sports title, and in The Show, there are no letdowns. For the first time in The Show series, in-depth roster features have been added.

The season can get long, but gamers can now have fun off the field as they make changes to their 40-man roster, claim players off waivers, decide if they should use a player’s final option, and more. It is again the small details added to the roster section of the franchise mode that makes The Show stand out.

Another mode, a primary reason The Show first became popular, is Road to the Show. Most gamers love the idea of putting themselves with their favorite team and taking them to the World Series.

Road to the Show has offered that for years, and this year has received a few more upgrades. From spring training to the playoffs, you can take your player through the minors to The Show. This year however, drills have been implemented.

In a slump at the plate? Each week, players have the chance to tune up their hitting and base running skills with the new batting practice and base running practice modes. Both modes are implemented in the Road to the Show mode and as stand-alone modes as well.

The biggest upgrade gamers will notice in MLB '09: The Show is that of the lighting system. While Minnesotans and those folks in the other few closed parks will hardly notice it in their domes, the system is incredible.

Gamers will see the shadows on the field from the lights above, from the players, from the buildings surrounding the field, and more. Starting a game at night, gamers will see the sky transition from a sunny evening to a dark night by the fifth inning. As the sky gets darker with each inning, the lights will eventually turn on and provide an awesome site.

It’s not only the night games either. During the day you’ll see partly cloudy skies, and gamers will see the clouds move. There are also games with rain clouds, and while there is no precipitation in ‘09, the feel is almost as if you’re actually at the game.

With all of the details ranging from the realism of the fields and players to the lighting system, it’s not an uncommon thing to be playing The Show and have someone ask what game you’re watching—many of the details and graphics are that real.

MLB '09: The Show may go down as the best baseball title to date, and there is only one reason fans should be waiting for next year’s title—Target Field.

With the tremendous realism of the newly added parks such as Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium, along with the incredible lighting, it’ll be tough for those franchise goers to play 81 games in the Metrodome; at least it’ll be the final go-around.