Reviewed: March 12, 2008
Released: March 4, 2008
It is that time of year again. Spring is in the air and it is time for training for your upcoming season to begin. This time though, you get to do it in your own living room with MLB í08 The Show. Once again you are a player, the manager, and the owner of your very own ball club. You get to fight your way to the top and try to win the ever coveted World Series.
This game is a much improved version of the first generation release. In the í08 version you can custom adjust your setting. You can get assistance in areas of need (canít see the ball in the field so you have the computer to auto field) and slowly work your way up to doing it all to help add difficulty to the game. The pitching is almost identical for both version but í08 has added little tweaks here and there. This yearís version focuses more on the head to head dual between the pitcher and batter. You have the precision pitching in which it indicates where you need to throw the pitch and how hard to throw it for the best movement.
These two improvements vastly improved the game and ultimately made it less of a thinking game and more of a reaction game. Once again you have to pay attention to the little things with the pitchers. You have to make sure you donít become a one pitch pitcher so still have confidence in them when the time comes to use one to make a crucial groundout, fly out, or strikeout. Along with pitch confidence comes the overall confidence in your pitcher. You still have to make sure that you make trips to the mound at the right time to calm him down, and you have to adjust to the speed of the pitch meter after getting rattled a little bit.
Another area of improvement is with the batters. There are more helpful icons that show you how a player is feeling about his confidence. If a player is having a rough go at it there is are blue squares that show the area where he is slumping in the strike zone and really needs a good couple at bats to get him going again. If the player feels extremely confident there are red squares that show is hot zone. The great part about this is the player could not be getting on base a lot but still is making great contact with the ball and still feels good about his swing and he knows it is only a matter of time before they start falling in play.
Base running is virtually the same. It is a little easier to send the runners this year though. One thing that I felt was a great upgrade but hard to pull off was the base stealing. You really have to know who is behind the plate before you go. Some guys have rockets for arms and some have noodles. For the guys that have noodle arms stealing is really not an issue. You get a good jump on the pitcher and you have a stolen base no problem. It is not for a team who has a canon behind the plate. Even if you get off to a great jump you still have to perform a great slide. The standard computer slide right into the base will not do it. Now it gets tricky due to the combos you have to do to make your runner slide head or feet first. After deciding on that you have to pick which side of the bag you want to slide to. The combos are not hard to perform they are just hard to remember which one is which at first.
In the area of fielding, í08 has added some great improvements, rob the home run indicator and they have improved the AI. The rob the home run indicator allows you to rob a home run or catch a fly foul ball heading into the stands. The indicator tells you when to jump. When the last circle final disappears you jump and rob the hitter and find yourself and your play on the highlight reel.
The AI in this yearís edition play more like pros than last year. Last year the AI would make some stupid or unlikely errors. Not this year, Sony tightened the reigns and made them more true to form as major leaguers and not minor leaguers. The only fault I have with the AI is that sometimes they move at incredible speeds in unusual times or that they miss time their catches or grabs and bobble the ball and come off the bag or have to go and pick the ball up.
This years game modes are the same as last years. You have quick game, exhibition, Road to the Show, Franchise, Season, Manager Mode, and Rivalry. The biggest addition to these modes is the in game save option. The problem is that it only occurs in the Franchise and Season modes. You still have your online game ability, so you can play people from all over and test your skills to see who the best of the best is.
As always the PS3 doesnít disappoint in this area. The sweeps around the stadiums are amazing and so crisp. The colors are very vibrant. What more can you say? The crowds are still interactive and go along with what is happening on the field. The stay in the moment and will let you know when you are playing well or very poorly.
The players are even more fluid than last year and I would have never guessed that would be possible. They donít have hitches in throws or in their footwork. They are much more interactive as well. They react to what happened on a play. If someone blows a play you can see it in the other playersí body language that they are disgusted. If they do poorly at the play you see the reaction in the dugouts and so on. There are still some animation errors. Some celebrations donít seem to be completed and so forth. Very minor things here and there but overall they donít take your mind of the game.
Just like last yearís version the commentators are done extremely well and add a lot to the game. The crowd still gets on your case if you are doing poorly, and they will cheer you till they are blue in the face. After playing for a while you do get caught up in the atmosphere and the sounds really make you feel like you are at a game.
The biggest addition to the í08 version is My MLB Music. This allows you to select your own music to play on the in-game jukebox rotation. It allows you to organize the songs and play them from your hard drive. Its feature is only compatible with MP3 and WAV formatted files though. What an amazing feature to help you choose your songs to get you PUMPED up for the upcoming game just like any other athlete does.
I have two very large issues with this game. This is a brand new game it will cost you around $60. After playing this game what more does it have compared to the í07 version? It has the new music feature, the ability to down load new live rosters, and some minor tweaks here and there. Is that really worth 20 more dollars? Some of you might say that it is. For those who think this here is my next frustrating question. I thought that the PS3 was the best gaming system that Sony has out right now.
If that is the case then why does the PS2 version, which is getting fazed out, and the PSP version have average gamer favorites like Home Run Derby and King of the Diamond and the PS3 version doesnít???!!! There is suppose to be all this room on the new blu-ray disc but they couldnít fit these two games on it but could with a disc that hold far less space. Now for you serious gamers out there this game is much improved from last year and is visually more stunning, but seriously is it worth all this money? I seriously suggest that if you have a backwards compatible PS3 get the PS2 version for two reasons: it is cheaper and it has more game modes that will appeal to everyone.
I was really looking forward to this yearís version of The Show and in most areas I was truly mesmerized. The graphics were much better and the colors more vibrant than ever. The players were touched up and minor flaws were fixed. The new addition of My MLB Music was a great idea that was small but it goes a long way.
It seems like Sony paid too much attention to detail in the small areas and forgot why a lot of people buy baseball games: home run derby and other mini-games. If you are a true die hard baseball fan or player this game will not let you down in any way. If you arenít, well then I would have to say look somewhere else for your next baseball game.