By Ryan Tipper
If you’re like me, then when the warm spring air is filled with the smell of fresh cut grass and burgers sizzling on the grill, that means only one thing: baseball. With the 2013 Major League Baseball season just getting its cleats dirty, gamers have had a whole extra month to take themselves out to the ball game with the March 5 release of MLB ‘13 The Show.
A PlayStation 3 exclusive since its first rendition in 2006, “The Show” has been the dominant baseball sim on the video game market since that time. Its only relevant competitor, the MLB 2k series, has always struggled to gain success and keep up the innovations that “The Show” offers every year. From far better looking graphics, easier to use interfaces, higher levels of player customization, and a superior amount of game modes, “The Show” continues to be the favorite choice of baseball fans and gamers alike.
With an annual release at the beginning of March, “The Show” has a lot to live up to with each new version that is produced. Many of the game modes and presentation factors are the same, with small yet substantial tweaks that make each new rendition better than before. From the on-field camera angles to the sounds of a jeering crowd, “The Show” has near perfected the feel of playing the real game. While some argue that these kinds of games represent “beating a dead horse” (just the same game over and over), sports games are able to produce very similar games each year with high sell percentages because it’s what the gamers and sports fans want and expect.
Right off the bat (no pun intended), those who see “The Show” in action will realize just how beautiful it looks. The vibrant color palette and attention to detail makes you feel like you’re right there watching a real game. Animations are as smooth as ever and every player is looking more and more like their actual self with their actual tendencies as seen on the real field. Batting stances, home run trots and reactions for each MLB player is spot on.
Each team has their most up-to-date uniforms and alternate tops as well as old school throw back versions. All the professional fields are included along with a heavy amount of minor league and spring training fields with a few very old ones thrown into the mix.
Character customization is excellent and fun. Each player you make can have almost every aspect of themselves customized from nose shape to walk-up music. This is also the same when making your own player in the Road to the Show mode that watches you grow from a simple Double-A prospect all the way up to the Major leagues.
Being a gamer who loves the ability to customize their own characters, I was disappointed in some of the hair and facial hair options available as they felt rather limited in scope.
The game modes are where “The Show” really shines. Many of the standard ones from past versions of the game are present such as Beginner, Exhibition, Season, Franchise and the Road to the Show. Each has seen a small amount of changes while all new modes have been introduced.
Franchise mode has had its budget system revamped this time round. Before, the player would have to manage expenses such as advertising, ticket prices, seating etc. while managing the actual team. This caused teams who had a lower budget to suffer. Now, all the expense results come from the team’s performance on the field. So if you take a team that has a lower budget, such as the Pittsburg Pirates, you have a much better chance to increase revenue by simply playing the game. This helps level the playing field between the high budget teams such as the Yankees and the Phillies when compared to low budget teams like the Pirates and Indians.
The newer modes help add more content to an already boisterous amount offered. Diamond Dynasty, which was present in the past version of The Show, is back with full force. A card based game mode that allows you to create and compete with your very own team of custom, auto created, players. This mode allows you to compete online as well as against artificial intelligence teams. As you play games, you earn in-game currency that you can then use to improve your team. It’s a very different spin for sport simulation games.
The final new mode is the Post Season Mode. This allows the player to pick a team and play just through the post season in hopes of clenching the World Series trophy.
Online play is also present as well as updating rosters that mirror the actual MLB ones. The inclusion of connection options to MLB.com and MLB.tv are a nice touch, if you’re one of the diehard baseball fans that shell out $130 every year for an MLB.tv subscription fee. Also, a twitter feature linked to MLB is present.
MLB 13 “The Show” has everything going for it. Baseball fans and gamers alike won’t find a better baseball sim on the market to lose themselves in. From all the content available, gamers are given multiple ways to play the game while it still holds its own, glorious identity. I give this game a 9 out of 10. While no game can be flawless, MLB 13 “The Show” is as close it comes. If you were like me, stuck playing the newest version of the 2k series every season, go and get a PlayStation 3 right now and see what all the hype is really about.
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