Baseball season has finally arrived, and like clockwork, Sony has finally released its latest entry in the MLB The Show franchise, with MLB 14 The Show. While, the game was already released on the PS3 and PS Vita, the PS4 version has just dropped into stores today.
Fortunately I’ve had some time with the game over the past week and a half and what I’ve experienced, is yet another entertaining outing, though certainly not groundbreaking by any means.
All the deep mechanics, from hitting, to pitching are all there, as well as a new mode that lets players create their own scenarios and share them with other players that is quite cool. The mode is dubbed Community Challenges, and it adds a little novelty to the formula, as scenarios can be rather realistic or quite out there. As someone who enjoys pitching, I liked that Pulse Pitching, which was a feature introduced in MLB 13 The Show, is also back and makes it fun to pitch, while retaining a bit of realism.
Visually, the game looks incredible, as the PS4 easily outshines what we have already seen from the PS3 version. Players look highly detailed and realistic, with the stadiums looking spot on. Textures are crisp, the grass looks lively and crowds look legit. Simply put, the presentation is spectacular. However, there are some things that hold it back. For instance, the load times are horrendous, and at times, I found that the game would stutter a little bit during pre-game introductions or replays.
Going back to the game’s modes, Road to the Show is of course back, as expected. Gameplay is short and sweet as you only play when your created player is involved, such as when he’s at bat, and when he is making a play. You can upgrade your player to bring him a long and get him closer to being an MLB star. You’ll also come across a draft, that lets your player get picked up after playing in an amateur showcase.
Then there’s Franchise Mode, which has always been my favorite, as I do enjoy going through various seasons. The mode has online play though I came across some pretty bad choppiness in games against other players. This was rather frustrating and I hope that this gets addressed soon, as otherwise, it’s a fun way to play.
For those with a PS Vita, the game does support Cross-Play, as is also the case with the PS3 version. A feature called Quick Counts has also been added which really cuts down the amount of time you spend on a nine-inning game. What occurs, is that every batter comes up to the plate with an existing count, such as 2-1, 3-1, etc. You’ll need to turn on the option before the game begins though, as you can’t toggle it on or off once the game begins.
Overall, the game is still fun to play, albeit not without some technical issues that can hopefully be addressed in short order. Gameplay is still sharp, and it’s certainly the best simulation out there today.
Final Score: 4 out of 5