There hasn’t been an off-season that I can remember in the past five to ten years that has been as controversial and highly talked about for baseball that I can remember, unfortunately it was all for the wrong reasons. If the media wasn’t talking about A-Roids, or the Dodgers and Manny being Manny, then they weren’t talking about baseball. Can anything save the game? Well Sony may not be able to make the real game of baseball any more or less clean but they can bring you a new baseball game for your PS3? The best baseball game of 2008 is back and hoping to continue its reign of supremacy. Does it continue? Read our full review to find out!
To me the game of baseball is a sport that really can be tough to really improve, but each year we see both Sony and 2K sports do there best to make you excited to play baseball again. Each year for 2K has been trying to revamp an area, where as Sony’s baseball game has been more of a refining and updating process. So the question is what has been updated and refined for MLB 09: The Show?
Last year we saw a really strong push from the developers for new features, this year we see a lot of refinement on these features. So for example last year we saw this amazing dynamic between the pitcher and the batter which really played out in the career mode but could be seen throughout the experience. In fact there was a little favoritism at times I thought to the batter side of the battle but they made it really interesting nonetheless. The developers haven’t adjusted to much in these mechanics but have made it a little more difficult on the batter making the scores in games to a more realistic level.
The game itself plays beautifully, a little more well rounded then last year. Base running is much better handled in this year’s game making you feel much more in control on whether you want to progress forward or stay put. Fielding seems to be pretty much the same as it was last year although I had times where the controls just seem to flip out and push me away from the meter saying where a pop fly would land, and would cause me to miss the fly ball. This happened 2-3 times and was sort of a weird piece that after the 2-3 times it happened I haven’t encountered it since. All in all the fielding is rock solid all the way around.
My only real disappointment was in the Road to the Show mode which is the games career mode. Its not that they did anything wrong with the mode its just that they really didn’t update it all that much. There are some presentation elements that have been pushed forward, a few more comments and messages that can pop up but for the most part the mode is still the same. For me that is there staple mode and I would have liked to have seen more done to continue to expand upon it and improve it. The franchise mode continues that similar path with a few minor updates but more then anything sticking with what had worked in the past.
Online play is as solid as ever, with a multitude of different options to choose from. For me I found just the ability to have all of these options at my disposal really setup for some great matches online. The online play seems to have been tightened up a bit as well which offered up a much more conducive and less sluggish experience then I saw in last years game.
What amazes me more about this game, is not the new features or new modes but instead how much refining they did with the little things. Broken bats are just perfectly executed, big home runs are coupled with big moments, pressure situations are becoming filled with more of a sense of pressure. This has a lot to do with a lot of the small caveats that the developers have improved over the years and more importantly in this version of the game which really makes this game for like a great replication of America’s past time.
Going along the same theme as in the gameplay I was really satisfied with a lot of the smaller upgrades that the developers went for in this title. One of the most noticable upgrades is in the stadiums which now more then ever feel like there real life counterpart. Living in Southern California and having gone to a lot of Angel games and a few Dodger and Padre games I have to say that all three parks were beautifully replicated in the game. You really get a sense of the real environment that these games are played in which adds to the experience. More then anything MLB 09: The Show is filled with a lot of these great touches that makes for a really beautiful game.
There is no doubt in my mind that MLB 09: The Show has the potential to be even better then what we saw in this years game but for what it is worth I truly had a great time with this game. I was constantly surprised but little things that I wouldn’t expect to be in the game to be really well done. This is a full fledged game of baseball, and for me a big fan of the sport I really enjoyed a lot of the depth that this game provides whether in the Road to the Show, the Franchise, and the online play.
Sony is truly on a roll with its baseball franchise, it is hands down the best baseball game in the land right now. This is truly another all around great outing for MLB 09: The Show whether in the gameplay department or graphically, this is what you call a great sports title. I do hope next year for a revamping of the Road to the Show mode, but outside of that, if you enjoy a good game of baseball, you will want to step up to the plate with MLB 09: The Show.
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.