|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCE San Diego||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 2, 2010||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 Caleb Newby
If you are at all familiar with the recent history of Major League Baseball games, you don't need me to tell you that Sony's The Show series has been ruler of the kingdom for the last several years. While Sony's chief baseball rival, 2K Sports, has had uneven and generally subpar offerings at best, The Show has flourished in the courts of both public and critical opinion. And while the most famous sports game of them all, EA's Madden franchise, is often lampooned for offering little more than roster updates with nominal gameplay enhancements, Sony has managed to keep The Show fresh and improving throughout its existence. Fortunately for gamers everywhere, MLB 10: The Show is better than ever.
The most interesting feature making its debut this year is "Catcher Mode", no coincidence that Minnesota superstar catcher Joe Mauer graces the cover, highlighting the challenge of calling pitches from behind the plate. It's a welcome addition to be the signal caller without the responsibility to manage the button timing as the pitcher and instead focus on a more cerebral game of pitch counts and batter tendencies.
The downside, if you want to call it that, is by calling every game, your Road to the Show mode will take much longer. Play as a fielder and you're involved only in defensive plays that involve your virtual self and appearances at the plate. Take on the role of a pitcher and you're in the rotation once every five games or closing out an inning or two at a time. It's a matter of personal preference, but I prefer to play every game in a season in Road to the Show. Calling each and every game as the catcher is a bit too time intensive for my tastes.
Presentation is an oft overlooked and underappreciated thing; when a game can suck you in before it even starts it's ahead of the ballgame. The Show's opening starts with one of several rotating clips highlighting the 2009 baseball season. From a slick video package detailing the Yankee's return to glory to St. Paul native Joe Mauer's historic season with the Twins, these prepackaged montages do a great job of building excitement. After seeing a video montage of all the players who hit for a cycle last year, I wanted nothing more than to do so with my virtual self.
When playing both MLB 2K10 and MLB 10: The Show, it's easier to appreciate the controls of The Show and just how tight they are, especially when navigating the potential minefield of base running. The Show keeps it simple on the surface and eliminates many of the accidental "Why did I run to 3rd base!?" moments of frustration yet keeps intact the more intricate controls such as directional sliding and leaning forward to get a jump on a steal attempt. Batting can be difficult at anything above the easiest difficulty when directional swings make a difference and requires a solid investment to adequately learn for anyone new to the series. Pre-pitch mechanics of guessing the type of throw and location are back and drastically improve the chances of connecting when guessed right.