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MLB 10: The Show

Apr 14, 2010

By Ted Kritsonis - G4 Canada

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It's not easy being a gamer and a big baseball fan these days. EA has a slew of sports titles but abandoned the MVP Baseball series leaving fans in the cold. The MLB 2K franchise has seen better days, and continues to struggle. That leaves MLB 10: The Show, a PS3-exclusive title that has taken real strides forward for the franchise in its credible bid to become the master of the diamond.

MLB 10Fans of the series will undoubtedly appreciate the steps taken this year in what's easily the best effort in the franchise thus far. The attention to detail is not just great to see, but it shows promise for what the developers may ultimately do later on. The little nuances that make up the chess match that is a baseball game are all on display here. Pitchers grimacing when giving up a game-tying home run, batters showing displeasure when a key catch is made off a line drive and runners adjusting themselves after stealing a base. 

While some gamers may not care so much for the minor details, they do collectively work to create a more realistic atmosphere, which is crucial for a baseball game. The dry crowds and jerky movements that have plagued the MLB 2K franchise aren't to be found here. Except for some little details that could have been stronger, MLB 10: The Show is simply a stellar game in every respect.

MLB 10What makes all this work so well is the sheer fact that the good things from last year weren't tampered with, while the relevant needs were addressed. The final result certainly isn't perfect, but it's a noticeable improvement, which is a great sign for baseball fans. The pitching and hitting mechanics are the best in the business, as far as I'm concerned. Not only is it pretty easy for a new gamer to get accustomed to how they each work, it also feels natural. Unlike MLB 2K10, which uses a frustrating mechanic that relies heavily on the analog sticks, The Show uses the sticks merely for pitch location, while the face buttons take care of pitch type and control.

Guessing the pitch location as a batter is still part of the mix here, and it's pretty much the same as last year. By showing you where each pitch in the at-bat has landed, you might get a sense of the pitcher's tendencies and focus your swing more appropriately or sit back and let him throw one off the plate. As with any real-life batter, it is a guessing game, and the pitcher will change speeds and locations to get you swinging at air or freeze you in the batter's box.    

MLB 10In big game situations this duel gets tense, and the fans can be heard, especially during playoff games. Picking off baserunners has been adjusted to provide more options to the pitcher. A quick attempt can keep the runner close to the base to let him know you've got an eye on him, but if he flirts with a big lead off, you can try to fool him into thinking you're throwing it over the plate. A sudden move and throw to the bag might be good enough to pick him off. Think of it as a mini-game within The Show.

Franchise mode, Road to the Show and Rivalry mode are all great this year, and should keep you playing for quite some time. You can even have some fun by hitting dingers in the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately for the Franchise mode, dumb trades and questionable moves by the management of AI teams make it tough to have a truly credible season. Who would trade Adrian Beltre for Lyle Overbay? It doesn't make sense. This is one area that needs to be fixed next year to really put this mode onto a different plateau.

Playing a full season online is also an option to keep you entertained for months at a time. You've got a full 40-man roster, you can make trades and all the stats you can dream of are there for your perusal. Of course, all of this would've meant nothing if the framerate stuttered along at a finicky pace, but thankfully, The Show plays great online with few issues.

MLB 10Just a quick note about the overall presentation - as polished as the game is, Sony has to find a way to make the grass look better on the field. It just seemed to have little texture, even in closer replays. The commentator trio of Mark Vasgersian, Rex Hudler and Dave Campbell are decent, but not great. Repetitive comments are too common, and there doesn't seem to be much of a conversational flow between them. And while fans can get rowdy, it's cool that you can record your own heckles and have them be part of the game. It still needs plenty of refinement, but it's a neat way to get all the obscenities you want into the action.

MLB 10: The Show can be considered a home run of sorts, as Sony really is taking its baseball title seriously. Continuous and steady improvement over the years have turned this franchise into a powerhouse, and it bodes well for what may come next year. But until that happens, you will get a great experience this year.

 

 

MLB 10MLB 10: The Show
Format: PlayStation 3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: SCE Studios San Diego
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Official Site: http://us.playstation.com/games-and-media/games/mlb-10-the-show-ps3.html

Rating: 9 / 10


 
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