As winter winds down, we find ourselves in an in between time in sports. College football is finished. The NFL is winding down. The NBA, NHL, and college basketball are approaching their respective halfway points. And baseball has yet to return.
So what do we do to past the time? To combat the boring, mundane, drudgery of our lives?
My weapon of choice: Sony's pricey, yet powerful Playstation 3 game console. With the arrival of pitchers and catchers in less than 40 days, a new MLB game steps into the batters box just in time for the full swing of Spring Training. This year's edition of Sony's MLB: The Show looks to not disappoint "The Show" fans as well as other sports game enthusiasts.
Last year, I wrote a review of the two major baseball video game titles: Before You Buy, The Tale of the Tape: MLB 09 vs. MLB2K9 . This year, I will do the same, but since Sony released a fact sheet for MLB10, Sony gets a preview first
First off, to play any of the MLB10: The Show games, you will need a Playstation 3, Playstation 2, PSP or PSPGo. MLB10: The Show is a Playstation Network exclusive title, much like LittleBigPlanet or the Uncharted Series.
Who is the coverboy for Sony's perennial smash hit baseball franchise, you may ask? None other than 2009 American League Most Valuable Player, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
Worried about a "cover curse"? Don't be, as the cover curse only affects those who appear on the Madden NFL cover.
So what makes this years installment of "The Show" different from last years and better than the 2k Series of baseball games? Please note all information used is from two sources: an ESPN article and a Gamespot article.
All-Star Break (includes Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Futures Game) (PS3)
The long-awaited return of Home Run Derby will take place in MLB 10 The Show for PS3. Fully implemented in our season modes and available as a stand-alone mode, Home Run Derby follows the MLB rules and flow. The MLB All-Star Futures Game will also be available within season modes in its correct timeframe (just before the HR Derby). See if your Road to The Show player is invited to either the Home Run Derby or the Futures Game.
That's right, the return of the Home Run Derby... well for PS3 at least. The long awaited Home Run Derby; leads the deep features list in MLB10: The Show.
Catcher Calling the Game (PS3)
The catcher will play a bigger role in season modes, Road to The Show, and exhibition games. The catcher will give a sequence of signs and users will have the ability to change their indicator. Specifically for Road to The Show, the feature will allow a catcher to calling the game. This feature will give a new level of control to the catcher where he will have responsibility to select pitches and position himself to block balls that are in the dirt or wild.
Online Gameplay Improvements (PS3)
This year, the online gameplay experience has been improved a great deal as the game will detect and respond better to adverse network conditions along with reduced bandwidth to help the speed and flow of online gameplay.
More on the online gameplay improvements in MLB10: The Show (from Gamespot.com )
"Online multiplayer has vastly improved this year to bring more of that competitive fire out amongst friends. First and foremost, the game will detect and respond better to adverse network conditions and bandwidth has been reduced to help the speed and flow of online gameplay.
Along with the core online league play, where gamers can customize leagues including choosing players, teams, and length of schedule, MLB 10 The Show will now offer fully functional online season leagues! The new online season leagues will save and display MLB Player stats, track player energy, allow for trades/injuries, and offer 40-man roster functionality. Alongside this will be weekly live roster updates, available every week throughout the entire MLB season, tracking roster changes, addition of new MLB players (with correct attributes), and player attribute updates to reflect hot and cold streaks."
"The Show will offer the ability to view every game you've ever played online, complete with opponents, box scores, and game logs. There is simply no better place to turn up the smacktalk and settle a little baseball rivalry than playing it out online in The Show. The gameplay in The Show has been enhanced considerably with improved logic, animations and presentations resulting in a wider variety of hit types (including more choppers), improved ground ball friction, improved run down logic, and upgrades to the Throwing Meter." From Gamespot.com article.
User Controlled Pick-offs (PS3)
Want to surprise a base runner with a quick move or lull him to sleep? The new pickoff mechanism will now allow users to choose from a quick, casual, or deceptive pick-off type. In exhibition, season, and Road to The Show modes, you have the ability to decide which move you want to make as a pitcher. As a base runner in Road to The Show, you now have to pick up on the pitcher's move or get thrown out leaning.
Movie Maker (PS3)
Newly added is the Movie Maker menu within the Pause Menu. This will give the user the ability to select up to ten replays to add to a single movie and do all their editing from this menu. The user will now be able to start recording their movie on a newly created timeline and then pause their movie, choosing different camera angles of their plays.
New Stadiums (PS3)
MLB 10 The Show will offer 11 new stadiums. In addition to all current MLB stadiums, five new Minor League venues are available, as well as classics parks now be available on the PS3 for the first time. The classic stadiums include Forbes Field, Crosley Field, Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Sportsman Park, and Griffith Stadium.
Road to The Show Version 4.0 (PS3)
Road to The Show (RTTS) 4.0 features the additions of two new option settings, RTTS Game Watch and RTTS Game Completion, that allow users to set how much of the game they wish to view. With settings of All Pitches, All Fielding, Result Play, and Off, user's will have the choice to view every pitch of the entire game, or trim the viewing down to just the result pitch.
Users will now start their career in AA and will have to earn their spot in Spring Training. In order to enforce good fundamental baseball, two new systems have been implemented. The first is a mistake tracking system that will keep tabs on how users play the game and will penalize for throwing to the wrong base, not covering the right base for the out, etc.
The second feature is a new Green Light system that has been implemented to reward good base stealing and penalize those that shouldn't be stealing. If a user continues to steal once the green light has been revoked, their playing time will diminish. Once revoked, users will have to improve their speed and base running ability in order to regain the green light. Finally, there is a new stat tracking system that keeps stats for your player's career versus every pitcher or batter faced during the current season that can be accessed at any time.
New Camera System (PS3)
"MLB 10 The Show" is set to raise the bar for sports gaming and offer the most robust and realistic camera system available. Camera positioning will make you double take and make sure you're not watching a live MLB telecast.
Real-Time Presentations (PS3)
"MLB 10 The Show" has boosted the number of overall animations by capturing more than 1,250 new gameplay animations, more than 1,000 new presentation animations, and more than 400 personalized pitcher and batter animations. To accompany this upgraded experience, The Show introduces a new broadcast camera for fielding that will make you feel like you're watching a live telecast.
Stadium Realism and Experience (PS3)
As the leading MLB experience, "MLB 10 The Show" takes pride in the details offering daytime transitional lighting, similar to our day to night transitional lighting. Notice the sun position and length of shadows as the 1:00pm first pitch reaches the afternoon. All players on field will be shown in real-time; this goes for dugout and bullpen players.
Not to be outdone, stadium ambiance will be improved with the addition of HR/splash counters, fireworks, steam, noisemakers, towels, thunder sticks, working digital and analog clocks, crowd reaching over the rails, and crowd detail, such as interaction with vendors and placing K signs.
Custom Music, Fan Yells, and Chants
New to The Show this year, users can now assign music or a recording to an entire team, not just a player. Edit tracks to assign batter walk-up music or record your own voice and assign it to play for the team or player during the situation of your choice.
Weekly Live Roster
An updated live roster will be available every week throughout the entire season. Included in the update will be all roster changes, addition of new MLB players (with correct attributes), and player attribute updates to reflect hot and cold streaks.
Since MLB: The Show series is the leading MLB experience, the latest version of the The Show takes pride in the details, offering daytime transitional lighting, which is similar to the day to night transitional lighting already in place. You can now notice the position of the sun and the length of the shadows as the 1:00 pm first pitch reaches the catcher's glove. All players on field will shown in real-time; that includes the dugout and bullpen.
From the Gamespot article: "Comebackers to the mound can deflect off the pitcher’s body who can then turn a great looking 1-6-3 double play. We have also added the always popular 3-6-3 double play, ability to rob HRs, dives, sliding catch plays, tumbles, rolls, over running bases, getting caught on a pick-off move when leaning the wrong way, base runner line drive reactions, multiple levels of check swings, and umpire reviews of HRs hit down the foul lines (they can get reversed!)—all new aspects of the gameplay those not only looks great, but feel right."
"MLB 10 The Show once again raises the overall level of detail and realism from customizable fan chants, to jumbotron animations, to crowd atmosphere. Not to be outdone, stadium ambiance will be improved with the addition of HR/splash counters, fireworks, steam, noisemakers, towels, thunder sticks, crowd reaching over the rails, and crowd detail, such as interaction with vendors and placing Ks. Mascots are also available for all teams and each will show off signature moves throughout the game."
Upgrades to the throwing meter so that will reflect each player's unique arm strength based on attributes.
Ground ball friction will provide more realistic bounces.
Ball collision improvements will now enable the ball to bounce off of any part of a player's body. Diving plays can now cause the ball to be smothered, deflected, kicked, and botched, and the outcome will follow real life ball physics.
Movie maker will allow the user to add multiple replays together and edit them into a highlight reel.
Sony could only do a minimalistic approach to their MLB: The Show series and still blow 2k Sports, MLB2k series out of the water. "MLB: The Show" series is graphically superior and when it comes down to game physics and features, it is second to none. MLB10: The Show looks like it will top last year's installment of "The Show" by plenty.
Now when the demo comes out later this month/ early February, you can be sure that I will be playing it, giving you all the lowdown on it. Once the MLB2k10 fact sheet and demo are released I will do a comparison article of MLB10: The Show and MLB2k10 gameplay and features.