MLB 12: The Show Reviewon March 21st, 2012 at 9:18 am
It’s that time of year again when you can comfortably walk outdoors, hang up the jackets, huff on pollen, and get locked up for weeks because of your allergies. The perfect game to pass the time? Well why not America’s Pass Time, in an actual playable form, with MLB ’12: The Show. This exclusive game series to Sony has been, arguably, the best sports franchise of this generation, if not ever. The reason for this is how accurately this mimics the game of baseball in real life with the look and the feel, and the sounds.
Now a lot of people did not think MLB ’11 warranted an upgrade from ’10, however ’12 does warrant an upgrade from ’11, along with any other year. The ball physics have been reprogrammed from the ground up, so you won’t see a lot of the same hits, and even the sound of the ball hitting the bat is different. There are three control choices for pitching which are the old button interface, the analog pitching from last year, and the new pulse pitching. Personally I was not a fan of pulse pitching, but overall this is the toughest pitching experience in any baseball game I’ve ever played. If you’re pitcher give up a hit, no matter if your Roy Halladay or a minor leaguer, he gets rattled easy and will just stop hitting his spots. This seems a little overexaggerated. I’ve thrown perfect pitches just to prove this theory, using just the button meter, and they’ll miss their spot, and it won’t even be close. It’s a challenge, and there are sliders to adjust to fit your difficulty.
Hitting is tough as well, but honestly with this game it’s always been tough. There are also 3 options for hitting which are the old timing with the button, analog stick, or the new zone analog. Even with myself having played this series for a good 5 years now, you almost have to work your way up through the options of pitching and hitting to be good again. There are also sliders for this to help fit your skills that you can adjust as things become easier. The fielding is pretty simple. There are a ton of new animations involved with the fielding. Throwing can be mapped to the buttons or the right stick, and now when your player throws, there’s a ring around them that lights up as green, yellow, or red. This lets you know when you can release the ball and have it be a good throw.
Graphically, this is the best looking sports game there is. The player models have been surprisingly improved, as well as the lighting, and the details of the field. It use to bug me on the replays of a home run when you could see the buildings in the background and they would be blurry, and these are improved. The crowd still looks horrendous, especially the higher up you look, but honestly this is the crowd, and there’s no reason to gripe about this, especially how well things look on the field.
The presentation has been improved, which in essence does slow down the time of the game. There are tons and tons of camera shots in between every little play. They finally changed their theme music during the game, and that is nice. You can see the ball spin now on home run replays. The guys in the booth return and do say more interesting things, but it still comes off as stale. The one thing 2K does own this franchise on is commentating. It’s important to have an exciting voice, atleast one out of three, to keep the action going.
All the typical modes are in place including a new mode called Diamond Dynasty, which mimics all of EA’s Ultimate Team modes. This involves collecting cards and building a team. It can be a fun side thing to do, but with Road to the Show and the Franchise mode, I don’t see how this can be fit in. The online still does not function well and is still the downfall of this franchise. Bad lag and connection issues cripple the experience. RTTS and Franchise are still basically the same modes but with some improved logic. I still wish there was an option to do a shortened Franchise mode because the season mode lacks the transactions, the minor leagues, and the stadium management.
The most important addition to this game is the addition of the PS Move functionality. Last year the Home Run Derby could be used with the Move, however this year it’s fully integrated. Everything from hitting, pitching, and fielding, down to navigation through the menu. Most would think the hitting would be best, but honestly I prefer the pitching. With the pitching, you select the pitch, point to your location on the screen, and you have the option to do a full windup, or a shortened version, and release the trigger at the required position. Fielding doesn’t work like most would think. Fielding and running is auto, but throwing to bases involves just to moving the Move in the direction of that base. Hitting is flat out tough. If you try to fully extend on a fastball, chances are you’ll be behind. In essence, if you choke up and not fully extend, you will swing the bat faster and make better contact. What actually helps through the duration of a 9 inning game is the little cutscenes, as this will help the less “athletic” people.
This game is a must purchase. The game is also available for the Vita, so if you work or are away from home, you can use the cloud saves to progress your franchise or RTTS. That is a minimalized version with less cutscenes, but still basically the same core game. If you’ve held off on picking up a baseball game for a while, grab this one. If you own an Xbox, it’s time to buy a PS3. 2K12 is just a joke.
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