Is MLB 12: The Show Too Real? [Review, Part 2]

By Rich Shivener in Reviews
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm
Sliding into reality.
Last week I raised the question about buying the PS3 or Vita editions of MLB 12: The Show, both of which are a few innings away from reality. Seriously, when I play these, I feel like I'm there, in Great American Ballpark, bringing the heat on a hot summer day and swinging for the banks of the Ohio River. The announcers, the "True Ball Physics" (mentioned last week), the batters' stances, the "True Broadcast" cameras  - these features and so much more amount to two outstanding videogames.

It's no longer a question about which edition I like more, though. The PS3 edition rules. Hands down. Still, I have a long way to go before I master its gameplay. Which is code that I once again (and again and again and again) lost to the Cubs, underperforming with the Reds. More on that in a moment.
Always the optimist, I think of the PS3 edition as the Vita edition on steroids (sorry). I can use the "Cross platform save" feature to save my Vita's Show data in a cloud, downloading it to the big guy, and from there, I can partake in the PS3's edition similar modes - Exhibition, Road to the Show, Home Run Derby, Practice, Season, Online, etc. There's also "Diamond Dynasty," a complex mode changing up how we create teams, manage players, and compete with others largely in an online environment. In other words, if you want to create your MLB-like narrative from the ground up, this is your solution.

But there are two features that really set the PS3 edition apart from that of the Vita. First is the graphics. Last week I whined about the Vita's sketchy graphics in Broadcast. Notice how sharp the crowd is in the PS3 edition?

I suppose it's a no-brainer that the PS3's graphics are superior to the Vita's, but it's still a fact worth pointing out. For a good sense of this superiority, play an entire game in Broadcast view and refrain from pressing X, which bypasses the cutscenes.

The second feature is full PlayStation Move support. I'll talk about this one in my abridged Game Log below. Remember - I was hoping to beat the Cubs. Praying.

Top of Inning 1:
Cubs batting. Cueto pitching. DeJesus grounded and deflected off shortstop Cozart for a single. Castro was hit a pitch. Byrd lined to right for a single. DeJesus scores. Castro advances to 2nd. LaHair grounded into a double play (4-6-3 DP). Byrd out. Castro advances to 3rd. Soriano struck out swinging early at a 1-2 fastball low and away, ending the inning.

That was a terrible start for the Reds, thanks to my limited (uh, very limited) experience pitching with the Move. I decided to set fielding to Auto and motion pitching to "Easy Pitch," which means you don't have to wind up to obtain full power behind a pitch. Still, accuracy (releasing the ball on the indicated line) is key, and I didn't have that until much later.

Top of Inning 2:
Cubs batting. Soto walked on a 3-0 pitch. Stewart walked on a 3-2 pitch. Barney grounded into a double play (5-4-3 DP). Stewart out. Soto advances to 3rd. Garza walked on a 3-0 pitch. DeJesus homered to right. Soto scores. Garza scores. Castro struck out chasing a 0-2 inside fastball, ending the inning.

Now this was an atrocious inning. During it, besides allowing a few runs, I had a chance to try out the pickoff motioning; it's as simple as holding the Move button and motion toward the base in question. Pretty cool, even though I haven't picked anyone off yet.

Bottom of Inning 3:
Reds batting. Stubbs doubled to center. Hannigan grounded out to LaHair (3U). Stubbs advances to 3rd. Cueto grounded out to Barney (4-3). Stubbs scores. Phillips grounded and deflected off first baseman LaHair for a single. Cozart struck out chasing a 0-2 slider low and away, ending the inning.

OK OK, not too bad, right? Throughout the game, I found motion swinging a breeze, even though most of my hits were fly balls and infield grounders. Before I started, I selected "Swing Only" instead of "Full Control," which requires a player to stride and swing like a real player. (No thanks!) I also selected "Right-handed" as my motion stance. Brave souls might consider selecting "Current Batter," swinging "exactly as the batter does." (Again, no thanks!)

Overall, MLB 12: The Show is sliding headfirst into reality. Once I master its Move controls - and actually smash Matt Garza's sliders and dig deep into the season - I might forget that it's a video game. It's that close to real baseball.

The Official Verdict: 5 out of 5

This review is based on a PS3 copy of the game provided by the publisher.  

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