Once you choose a mode and actually get on the field and play, MLB 12 The Show is by far the best baseball video game I’ve ever played. You can choose between several different control schemes for both pitching and hitting, some you will definitely be familiar with and others are more unique options. The core of what any game of baseball really is, the battle between pitcher and batter, is excellent in MLB 12. The game feels like it strikes a perfect balance between executing with your selected method of control and the players base attributes, and battles always feels fair. There are also some nice touches, like realistic umpire calls (with each umpire having specific tendencies), and even the option to turn on things like balks. In my experience playing online, the game was almost always playable, though not as smooth as I would have liked. Online games always seem to have a just a general feeling instability, though I hesitate to call it lag. I have a feeling it is simply the way the game sends information back and forth between players, but it never feels smooth. It also seems like pitching has a huge advantage online, with most online games’ scores resembling soccer scores more than baseball scores.
MLB 12 The Show is the most authentic digital game of baseball I’ve ever played. Players all have accurate mannerisms and behaviors, and the presentation is very much like what you’d see on TV. The commentary is pretty good too, and if it weren’t for the obviously unavoidable repeating dialogue, it would be pretty close to a real broadcast in terms of quality. I was especially impressed with how fluid it sounds. Only very rarely will you notice the composite nature of the play by play; most of the time it flows flawlessly from one line to the next. The game utilizes a three man booth, which is unusual for either video game baseball or actual broadcasts. This allows more specific and situational insight, and there is also quite a bit of team and player specific dialogue from the commentators. Unfortunately, the more unique a piece of commentary is, the more it stands out when it is repeated. If you play as one team primarily, you will hear the same things said about the team and its players very often. I did also occasionally encounter situations where the commentary was flat out wrong, such as an instance where one commentator stated it was a good situation for a hit and run because it was a 2-1 count, it seems he failed to notice the bases were loaded.
Graphically, MLB 12 The Show is good, though it doesn’t actually compare some of the better looking PS3 games in terms of photo realism or poly counts. Many of the actual players don’t look quite like what their real life counterparts look like, and background, especially in the minor league parks, are unimpressive. Where it does excel though, is the animation department. Even if their faces don’t look perfect, you will definitely recognize players based on their pre-pitch routines, batting stances, and pitching windups. The generic animations are top notch as well, with excellent looking fielding, throwing, and base running animations.
The audio is also very well done. I’ve already covered the commentary, but the actual sound effects are just as good. The menu music however, didn’t really do it for me. For a game on a Blu-Ray, there sure are a small number of tracks, and none of them really stand out. Luckily, the game supports custom soundtracks, and you can even set up your custom stadium music, provided you have any music on your PS3 hard drive. Speaking of hard drives, the game has a mandatory 5gb install, with an optional 10gb install. I couldn’t spare the 10gb on my lowly 80gb PS3, so I stuck with just the 5gb install, and let me tell you, the loading times are atrocious. I can’t speak to how much the bigger install helps, but it sure can’t hurt, so if you’ve got the space, got for the larger install.
I’ve played a lot of baseball video games in my life, and I can say without a doubt, that MLB 12 The Show is the best baseball video game I’ve ever played. With multiple time consuming and addicting game modes, and the best and most authentic baseball engine you’re likely to find, MLB 12 The Show is easy to recommend to baseball fans. If you’ve got a PS3, MLB 12 The Show is the only baseball game you need. Like I said, I can’t really speak to whether this is a big improvement over MLB 11, but it’s a fantastic game nonetheless.
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- Authentic Baseball Simulation
- Road to the Show is Fun and Addicting
- Robust Online Offerings
- Quality Commentary
- Online Play Doesn’t Feel Smooth
- Rough Looking Backgrounds