Review: `The Show' still swinging for the fences

Mar 15, 2012 By LOU KESTEN , Associated Press
In this video game image released by Sony, an animated rendering of New York Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia is shown pitching in Boston's Fenway Park in "MLB 12: The Show." (AP Photo/Sony)

(AP) -- No video game can duplicate the drama of the end of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. You remember: The historic collapse of the Red Sox. The Rays' late-inning recovery from a seven-run deficit on the last day of the season. The Cardinals coming back twice in game six of the World Series and eventually winning the trophy.

It's still early in the 2012 season I'm simulating on "MLB 12: The Show" (Sony, for the , $59.99; for the Vita, $39.99), so I don't know if I'll see those sort of September-October heroics again. But I've already witnessed plenty of stirring offensive explosions, nerve-racking extra-inning duels and an Opening Day, two-pitch shutout by the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, each made all the more exciting because I was controlling them.

"The Show," perhaps more than any baseball before it, delivers the feeling that you're in the middle of a high-pressure major league contest. Sony does a fine job recreating ballpark atmosphere, but the real trick comes from the precision and intuitiveness of its controls. You never feel like you're wrestling with the controller just to, say, make a runner try to score from second on a single.

My favorite feature remains the Road to the Show, in which you create a player from scratch and try to work your way up from AA ball. Almost as addictive is the new Diamond Dynasty, in which you build an entire team, mixing real and fictional players. To improve your players' skills, you need to earn cash by competing in games against the computer or other humans online.

But the most groundbreaking element of "The Show" is the integration between its and Vita versions. If you're going to be away from your home console for a while, you can save your season to the "cloud," then download it to your Vita from on the road. It's a terrific feature that I hope will be added to more PS3/Vita games. Three-and-a-half stars out of four.

While "The Show" continues its championship reign, " 2K12" (2K Sports, for the Xbox 360, PS3, $59.99; Wii, $39.99; PC, $29.99; Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, $19.99) feels like it's playing out the string. It's an adequate simulation - and, if you don't own a Sony console, it's your only choice.

The hitting and pitching mechanics are fine, but the sluggishness of the base runners and fielders is irritating. And when an infielder does catch up to a ground ball, you have to contend with a "throw meter" - misjudge your timing and that easy toss to first will end up in the dugout. It's an attempt to make fielding just a bit more interactive, but it feels like one gimmick too many.

The most promising addition to "2K12," called MLB Today, invites you to play as your favorite team, day-by-day, as the real season unfolds. Since Opening Day hasn't arrived yet, I couldn't check it out - but it may be just the thing to make the 2012 season bearable for disgruntled Mets or Orioles fans. Two stars.

Explore further: Technology to help people with disabilities to learn and communicate

More information: us.playstation.com/games-and-m… 12-the-show-ps3.html
2ksports.com/games/mlb2k12/

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

PlayStation Vita game gadgets debut outside Asia

Feb 22, 2012

Sony's slick PlayStation Vita handheld videogame gadget hit major markets around the world on Wednesday as the Japanese entertainment titan bucked a trend towards play on smartphones.

Sony gears up for PlayStation Vita's Japan launch

Dec 15, 2011

Sony's long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine hits stores in Japan on Saturday, with the company predicting brisk sales even though the launch has missed much of the holiday shopping season.

Nintendo seeks to rev up 3DS with holiday games

Sep 13, 2011

Nintendo is readying an array of video games for the holidays in an aggressive attempt at catch-up for lost time from the sales delay of the 3DS portable machine last year.

Recommended for you

BPG image format judged awesome versus JPEG

Dec 17, 2014

If these three letters could talk, BPG, they would say something like "Farewell, JPEG." Better Portable Graphics (BPG) is a new image format based on HEVC and supported by browsers with a small Javascript ...

Atari's 'E.T.' game joins Smithsonian collection

Dec 15, 2014

One of the "E.T." Atari game cartridges unearthed this year from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert has been added to the video game history collection at the Smithsonian.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.