It’s that time of year again, the college basketball season is coming to the climax, the NBA Season is reaching even closer to the playoffs, and now spring training has started and baseball is just getting underway. With every baseball season we have new stories, new expectations, and you guessed it new baseball video games. Today we are checking out the portable version of Sony’s, MLB 07: The Show, which hopes to grace the PSP once again with a solid baseball outing. The big question is can they take what the PS2 version had and did so well and make that into a great baseball game? Read our full review to find out!
We just recently checked out MLB 07: The Show for the PS2, which really once again scored a huge home run in my book as being one of the most all around well made baseball games for the console. The game had great mechanics, solid modes, and just an overall enjoyment level that couldn’t be matched by other games this year. In MLB 07: The Show for the PSP, which we are checking out today, we were hoping to see the same sort of quality. But the big question is could that be brought to the PSP?
Well more than anything, a portable game is scored more heavily on its gameplay because more than anything you’re going to be playing baseball. Where on a console you will have more of a tendency to do more career work, and drafting players, its for the most part understood that the big draw for a portable game is the quick gaming fix. The gameplay in MLB 07: The Show hasn’t been altered that much from its PS2 counterpart, with almost the same game, just on a smaller screen. First off, the pitching mechanics are the exact same with a power meter similar to something in a golf game. The only difficult part on the PSP is aiming in the strike zone with the small analog stick, which does prove to be a bit more of a challenge than in the PS2 version. However for the most part the pitching is just as precise and engaging as they were on the console.
Batting in the game is for the most the same as well, giving you the ability to guess the pitch; guess the right pitch and it will show up on your batting meter, making it much easier to hit one out of the park. You also still have the option of hitting either a power shot with the square button, or a normal swing with the X button. The batting seems to work the same for the most part, however I did find that the swinging mechanics did seem a bit more on the forgiving side, as sometimes I felt my swings were way off and still made contact, but once again that is just adjustments made for the PSP version.
Fielding is a bit more difficult on the PSP version, and that is something that has been a problem for most sports games on the PSP is that have free control over a player while using the PSP’s analog stick does take time to get used to. Fielding in the game however is still extremely responsive and you can expect to see a lot of big plays along with just a good solid game of baseball. The game does allow some assistance in fielding if you so choose, but I think if you give the game time you will grow accustomed to everything.
What I think impresses me the most about MLB 07 The Show for the PSP is how comprehensive the game is. I mentioned earlier that you usually just want a game that is an easy pick up and play, which makes for a great portable title. With MLB 07 you could just make this an easy pick up and play, and yet it also has a solid franchise, career, and even extra mini-games that make for a really well rounded baseball experience. The fact that MLB 07: The Show has everything from the PS2 version packed into a portable game that is nearly as functional is just a true testament to how great of a game this is. Remember this was my second time playing through MLB 07 and I have to say that the game continued to impress me even on the PSP, which although is a bit more difficult of a platform to play baseball on, it still makes for an extremely solid PSP game.
There are a few things that really bogged down the PSP visuals from being as good as the gameplay, and that starts first with the frame rate which for whatever reason suffers quite a bit throughout the gameplay. During some of the higher impact plays or during a time where there are a few base runners the game seems to suffer from a lot of slow down, which in turn hinders the graphics in the game. I also noticed that the visuals were very jagged, which was an old Playstation trait and seems to have migrated onto the PSP. However in the case of MLB 07: The Show there is still a lot of work to be done.
The visuals of MLB 07: The Show are decent enough not to severely detract from the gameplay, which stands overall triumphant on the Playstation Portable as being not only the most complete baseball game on the platform but one over is probably the most complete sports game on the PSP. The amount of depth that this game holds, with the solid gameplay on all areas of the diamond really make MLB 07: The Show also one of the most enjoyable games to play. Whether you’re picking it up just for a quick game, or wanting to go for a long career, MLB 07: The Show for the PSP does manage to succeed.
Many may think that more needed to happen for this game to go further than what we have in the MLB 07: The Show experience on the PSP. However after playing this game for countless hours, I am here to say that MLB 07: The Show has all of the needed ingredients for a great sports game, and gives you a few delightful extras on the side. If Sony can continue this in the future, you are going to be in for one dominant baseball franchise.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.