Before you even play the MLB The Show series, the first thing that grabs you is the visual excellence. The Show is perhaps the king of the double-take factor.
That's when a non-gamer walks into the room while you're playing and says: "For a second, I thought you were watching a real game. God that thing looks real."
No other sports game looks quite as realistic.
Part of that is because of the amazing player models. Check out these images of Bryce Harper and Josh Hamilton from Franchiseplay.net. (click here to see a full gallery of images). They are insanely accurate re-creations of the stars.
You can even see the sweat marks in Hamilton's cap.
The proper placement of equipment, face paint and body structure might seem like small details, but gamers lament the instances when the little things are missed. The Show doesn't usually miss much.
The visual appeal goes beyond just player models, though. Even the stadiums are rendered accurately.
If you take a scan around your local major league team's ballpark, and then scan the re-creation on The Show, you're liable to notice several details that add to the authenticity.
Take a look at these two videos, also from Franchiseplay, that offer a scan of Wrigley Field in Chicago and Turner Field in Atlanta.
Which series has the most visual appeal?
You might just think that adding in accurate player models, pop corn stands and crowds in the right places will do the trick, but it goes beyond that.
One of the most important aspects of making the graphics on the screen pop is the lighting and shading. This is yet another area where MLB The Show has continually excelled.
Just like with any example of art, the shadows are essential to add to the realism and presence of the objects depicted.
Take a look at the overhead view of Stephen Strasburg's pitching delivery. The shading and textures of the mound are awesome, as is Strasburg's shadow beneath him.
There is no wonder The Show series has been the premier baseball simulation almost since its inception, and with MLB 13 The Show looking like this, there are no signs of a fall off.