Saturday, April 23, 2011

MLB 11: The Show Impression

How does PlayStation Move spice up the best baseball title on PS3?

The baseball season is still early but already contenders are rounding into shape and early surprises are starting to fall back to earth. So many games left to play but with MLB 11: The Show on PlayStation 3 gamers can speed up the end results a bit sooner and even have the Royals and Nationals in contention deep into the season. What’s to love in this spring’s latest hardball offering as the boys of summer take to the virtual PS3 field? Let’s take a look.

Gameplay – Video game baseball where gamers take their turn pitching, fielding and hitting. Controls get an upgrade with a series of ‘Pure’ modes, pitching, hitting, and fielding. The ‘Pure’ controls take advantage of the analog sticks and offer a new take on getting into the game. They actually make the games more interactive in not only movement but making the gamer want to stand the entire time, so get a bit of a calorie burn while playing (or turn it off and sit on your duff). Jump in and play or take on the Road to the Show mode, Franchise, Season, Rivalry, Practice Mode, Home Run Derby and Challenge of the Week. Most are standard modes in a sports game, heck names pulled from instruction book and start screen. It boils down to gamers having the chance to play a game, a season, run a franchise or go at it online while playing with set teams or creating their own, upgradeable, player. It’s deep, its fun and its pure baseball. 3D support is included.

Graphics – The biggest difference for 11 compared to the real thing? The eyes; the eyes in 11 look deathly off, scary at times but every other aspect of the players down to the stitching in their gloves is detailed and amazing. The crows sports non-cookie cutter looks, feels like a real crowd. The stadiums sport amazing detail and weather changes gameplay and lighting so must be accounted for. A truly great looking game that shows off the power of the PlayStation 3 and HD sets … but those eyes are so creepy.

Sound – Even on a large Blu-ray disc there is only so much a commentator can say during a single or multiple seasons. They sound good but really get lost in the mix as gamers will concentrate on pitching and batting options. The in-game sounds replicate reality as does the crowd. It sounds like baseball.

Design – Two aspects really stand out in 11. The first is the depth of creativity in Road to the Show where gamers can create their ideal player and second is how fluid the analog ‘Pure’ controls work and feel. It’s no longer picking a location and pressing a button, the game now feels very interactive. It’s deep on so many levels and the design is plain solid across the board.

Miscellaneous – The analog controls really up the gameplay, the level a gamer can reach. Mastering the pitching, hitting and fielding not only on sensitivity but from player to player will truly test the hardcore MLB gamer. Great addition that’s been tested in the past in bits and pieces but nailed here.

Overall this is the one fine example of baseball video gaming. Fans of the genre, of the series should be thrilled with the latest iteration and with the amount of downloadable content assumed to be coming, roster updates, etc, then what’s not to love. Get online or play solo there is so much to do (and this is only talking about the single player experience folks, not even the franchise mode).

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