Published on March 25th, 2013 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
Past Due Review | MLB 13: The Show
The PlayStation 3 exclusive of America’s favorite pastime returns with MLB 13: The Show, and it may very well be the most beautiful and realistic sports simulation to date. When friends and family walk into the room and ask, “Oh, what baseball game are you watching?” you know we have something special.
There are two types of gamers who play sports titles: The casual, “I like baseball,” folk, and the “I must have every new version of this game” fanatics. In many cases, there really isn’t a significant enough change in each year’s version to warrant a purchase aside from updated rosters. At first, this may seem to be the case with MLB 13, and after your first complete game, your tune may stay relatively the same.
If you are returning player from last year’s game, you will feel right at home with the user interface. Mechanics are relatively the same: The menu screens are similar, and the overall feel is almost a mirror the previous title. Normally, this would warrant a relatively decreased review score. However, the presentation of the game is so fantastic that it’s hard to pinpoint any sort of major negativity. If you are the type of person who likes to skip all the info mumbo jumbo when starting a match-up, you may want to reconsider. This is one of the big highlights of MLB 13, and the broadcast presentation can easily fool someone who is not playing or watching the television.
Baseball, in usual cases, is a slow game — there is no getting around that. So, when translating it to a video game, there lies the big question: How do you make it interesting? The answer is to add a plethora of engaging game modes.
Returning to the mix is Franchise mode, Season, Post Season, Home Run Derby and Road to The Show, where you create a player and work through a grueling career of baseball. And of course, we finally get an Online Franchise mode which was a much needed addition to the series. With all these game modes to choose from, Road to the Show stands out as the more addicting “sports RPG” experience. It’s a long read to the “big show,” but the gameplay is intuitive and addictive enough to make this an enjoyable adventure.
One major change to gameplay was adjustments to the AI and batting difficulty. A big complaint from last year’s title was how challenging batting was, even on the easiest gameplay setting. It’s still no walk in the park, but you will notice a more “realistic” enhancement. Pitchers throw more walks, and contact with the ball is more common if you get your timing right.
As far as pitching goes, batters will be more inclined to swing at outside pitches that would otherwise be called a ball. However, at the same time, the strike zone seems to have shrunk. On many occasions, pitches that fell right on the outside corner of the strike zone were called balls when they were clearly strikes. Once again, this adds more realism to the game as human error is always a factor with baseball umpires.
MLB 13 is quite simply the most gorgeous presentation of a baseball game to date. The cut scenes are almost flawless with very little to no lag whatsoever. The colors are vibrant, inviting, and capture the feel of a Major League Baseball park perfectly. The sounds of the game are spot on and draw you into the experience of both attending a game, and playing in one.
There may be some dispute on the final verdict of this game. On the one hand, there isn’t much noticeable change from last years product aside from updated rosters, and the Houston Astros change to the American League. This tends to alienate returning fans who complain but inevitably buy the game anyway knowing they will have a good experience (guilty on so many occasions).
On the other hand, to a newcomer to the franchise, this version of The Show is by far the most impressive and addictive edition to date. There are really only two choices to go with when deciding on an MLB Sports game, The Show, and MLB 2K, but difference in quality is astonishing.
[xrr label=”Rating: 9/10″ rating= 9/10]
+ The most beautiful and realistic baseball game to date
+ More realistic AI and easier batting/pitching interface
+ Road to the Show and Online Franchise are highly addicting
– Not much change from last years game