|System: PS3, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sony||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sony||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 15, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
May 15, 2007 - MLB 07: The Show has finally made its debut on the PS3. This is Sony's first party baseball simulator and we have anxiously awaited its release on the PS3. The game is a fully licensed product that pays close attention to details and authenticity. Sony has spent a lot of time and money making this game as true to life as possible, and it is evident in its gameplay. Unlike previous versions of the game, MLB 07 is very realistic.
The PCS (Pitch Command System) and the API (Advanced Pitching Intelligence) features are outstanding. These advancements to the series closely replicate the duel between the pitcher and batter, and the communication and strategy employed by the pitcher and catcher. This is a very good game that has been very well crafted. However, due to the fact that its Sony's creation and that they've had nearly three months since its release on the PS2 to make major refinements for their next generation console, I have been left mildly disappointed.
MLB 07 has great gameplay. It is as good as I have ever seen; it is engaging and realistic. The API and PCS functions combine to produce the best baseball game to date. Statistics for both pitcher and batter tendencies have been analyzed by the developers and included in the software. Consequently, your catcher will make suggestions as to pitch selection and location. You will then have the option to follow your catcher's insight or to shake him off and follow your gut. Hey, if they can't lay off the high heat, why throw them meatballs? Additionally, a pitcher's pitch selection and preference have also been analyzed and have been mapped accordingly to specific buttons on the controller. For example, the X button will always be your pitchers "go to" pitch. While the R1 button is always your pitchers most mediocre pitch. Some pitchers throw great heat, and others work breaking balls. All of this information has been taken into account and has made the MLB 07 gameplay phenomenal.
There are, of course, several modes of play; each brings its own qualities to the gaming table. Modes include online league play, classic career mode, franchise mode, season mode, home run derby, King of the Diamond, rivalry mode, exhibition, and Road to the Show. Most of these modes are self-explanatory, but the King of the Diamond, rivalry, and Road to the Show are fairly unique.
King of the Diamond is an interesting mini-game, much like homerun derby, except that dingers aren't the only hit that counts. Rack up points offensively by hitting singles, doubles, triples, and homeruns. Force batters into pop-ups, ground outs, and double plays in order to be the player with the most runs at the end of the used determined number of innings. Rivalry mode pits player Vs. player or player Vs. computer in rivalry series. All of your stats and records are saved, letting you know who the boss truly is. Road to the Show mode has you play from the perspective of a created character, both offensively and defensively. Games will fly by; you will only take part in the portions of the game that actually involve the character you created. Some of these events will actually trigger certain goals from your coaches or managers.
All of these modes add a good deal of variety and make for a game that is not only deep in focus but broad in scope. Every mode is well designed and implemented. For me, extra modes are unnecessary, but I won't hold it against Sony. When I play a baseball game, I'm going for one of two things: I want to strike out my buddies or lead the Cubbies to the World Series. Everything else is tertiary. However, I think many people will appreciate the extra modes, especially the unique Road to the Show.
Online features are varied and original. MLB 07: The Show allows players to create online leagues. You can set up leagues ranging in size from 6 to 30 teams. What's really great about league creation is that MLB 07 will track all of the statistical data and award you with playing points and rewards. Customizing your league is easy and the options are extensive. For instance, gamers can choose to modify their players, teams, and schedule length. Another interesting feature but maybe just a bit gimmicky is the Online News Service and MLB.com Headline News. These features permit the player to stay current with the most important events in the sporting world. Information is updated several times an hour and includes information such as general news and trades from across the globe. More specifically, gamers can get MLB specific information from across the entire league. You can even get up to the minute information from the Live MLB Ticker which has been enhanced for 2007. The ticker keeps you on top of the pulse of the league by constantly updating scores and game stats. You can even see who's on base, up to bat, pitching, and even check out a comprehensive box score for any game currently being played. Another new online feature is Sony's "Always Online" service; your PS3 will give you the option to remain perpetually online so that the ticker service stays up to date. It will also allow for instant messaging and buddy invites. All of these services are neat and add depth to the overall experience. I'm not sure they are particularly necessary, but they are nice features that add to the game's content.