Game Review: MLB 10: The Show
Release: March 2, 2010
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available Platforms: Sony PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Players: 1 (1-2 in Ad Hoc)
ESRB Rating: E
Sony’s exclusive baseball franchise, MLB The Show, has returned for the 2010 season across all three current Sony platforms. The franchise, now in it’s fifth year has been a more accurate representation of baseball, with less emphasis on arcade gameplay of older titles, and more focus on the accuracy of pitches, hits, and the like.
If you don’t know the basics of baseball, you’ve got a lot to learn about the world. Sony’s MLB The Show franchise has put all the teams out there for players to take control of, this time limiting them to single player and ad-hoc play (previous MLB The Show on PSP featured straight-out online play). The main modes of play are Exhibition, Manager Mode, Road To The Show, Season, Home Run Derby, and Quick Play, all of which offer different versions of the core gameplay mechanic. A Create Player option allows you to get your own custom character in the game.
If you’re looking for a hard, serious take on baseball, you’re in for it here. You can’t easily just jump right into the game and know what to do, you need to learn the controls first and foremost, and after a few rounds, have to hope that you’ve gotten the concept of aiming pitches and timing swings. This game has an insane learning curve, leading it for the die hard baseball fans. They will get their simulation.
If anything, there’s one major flaw that almost kills the game: it’s just, straight out, not that fun. There’s a reason why baseball is considered a boring sport, and this game exemplifies it. For the most part, it’s 4/5ths waiting on the ball to hit the bat, one split second of timing, and then MAYBE running to the ball to pick it up off the field. There’s a reason why people play video games, and that’s for fun. Look at NFL Blitz, the recently resurrected NBA Jam, and even older titles such as Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball offered fun sports, while staying vaguely realistic (admittedly, Blitz offered bone-crushing tackles on a regular basis, and later added straight-out steroid usage and hookers once it lost the NFL license, and NBA Jam featured half-court dunks with flaming basketballs). This isn’t a request for the Sony equivalent of Mario’s Super Sluggers, it’s just a request for a more entertaining title.
Additionally, more of a limitation of the now half-decade old hardware, but the game is almost painful to look at at times. Understandably, the game has to feature hundreds of players, so it’s sorta cranks most of them out, but the aforementioned relaunch of NBA Jam shows that you can at least offer style with limited capabilities. Instead, any time you see faces, they’re pixelated messes that barely get the players across. Another limitation with the hardware is that load times are excruciatingly slow when starting a game. The PSP has seen better days, and this game just exemplifies the consoles faults.
MLB 10: The Show isn’t a bad title. For the baseball hardcore, it definitely offers the accuracy that they offer. The problem lies within the fact that baseball, in itself, is one of the lesser fun sports, and when you translate that accurately to a video game, you get a rather boring video game.