|Image courtesy of GameRant.com|
Next to the Home Opener, the release of MLB 12 The Show is probably the second most anticipated day on the 2012 calendar for Blue Jays fans such as myself.
Truth be told that I played a lot of MLB 11 The Show last year. So much so that I wore out the right analog stick on my PS3 controller. That’s how many virtual at bats I took last year, so having this year’s edition of the game is just feeding my addiction for baseball even further.
Now that I’ve had a little time to play the game and comb through most of the new features, I’ve compiled all my thoughts into one cohesive review of the game. I haven’t had a chance to explore all parts of the game quite yet, but here’s my take on what I have played.
The operative word when it comes to hitting in MLB 12 The Show is “control”. There is a multitude of options when you step into the box; you can have complete control with the new zone analog batting, or you can just stick with the traditional one-button batting mode.
I actually really enjoy the new zone analog batting feature because it forces your eyes to follow the path of the baseball as it travels from the mound to the plate. If you’ve ever played any of the Ken Griffey Jr. baseball games for N64, you’ll be very familiar with this style.
I kept switching back and forth between pure analog batting and the zone analog batting simply because I was so used to pure analog from last year, but I really enjoyed the new style for MLB 12 The Show.
With so many options (zone, zone plus analog, timing, or pure analog), the control is completely in our hands when it comes to hitting. I think even the biggest baseball enthusiasts and casual gamers alike will enjoy the selection.
Another new thing you’ll notice about the hitting is there is real-time feedback after every swing. So you no longer have to tap the L3 button to see if you were early or late on your swing, and how far off your swing was.
All that information is all displayed automatically for you in a on-screen hud either to the left or the right of the batter after every single pitch. It’s a very useful feature that is a welcome addition to MLB 12 The Show.
Much like the hitting side of the game, pitching in MLB 12 The Show received a little bit of tweaking as well. Pulse pitching is the brand new feature this time around, and I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of it.
Maybe it’s because I couldn’t quite master the timing of it, but it just seemed to have a mind of its own. You need to be extremely precise with pulse pitching, as I found myself missing my spots by huge margins.
I personally much prefer the meter pitching or pure analog method of pitching simply because it feels like you have a lot more control of your pitcher as opposed to using pulse pitching.
A few little things I noticed is that you can actually have your starting pitcher take warm-up tosses before the game. This is a good way to get a quick feel for your pitcher’s repertoire before the game actually starts.
You can also have your relievers take long toss rather than warm up in the bullpen. Since you can only warm up two pitchers at a time, this allows you to get some of your other pitchers warmed up as the game progresses into the later innings.
Road to the Show
This is where I spend the bulk of my time with this game, and Road to the Show is just as great if not a little better than last year’s version.
This time though, you start off as a starter in your organization’s AA team. I think this gives you a much better semblance of where you need to go and how you need to progress to make it to The Show.
I only have about 4 series under my belt in my player’s journey in Road to the Show, so it’s hard to fully evaluate this aspect of the game at this point. So far I don’t have any qualms and my coach hasn’t asked me to put on a hit-and-run yet … one thing that really bugged me in MLB 11 the Show.
It also seems like stealing bases in Road to the Show (and in general) is much easier this year. In previous versions, I struggled greatly with swiping bags in training sessions. Now it seems like a much more fair fight against opposing backstops.
Jose Bautista’s Beard
Now that Jose Bautista is the cover athlete of MLB 12 The Show, it’s nice to see the programmers paid extra special attention to one very important aspect of his character … his beard.
No longer does Jose look like he’s sporting a five o’clock shadow, he now has a full-on beard … which is undoubtedly the source of all his home run-hitting power.
I’ve had a few people ask me if the upgrades to this year’s edition of the game warrants a purchase of MLB 12 The Show. As silly as it sounds, I would’ve bought the game just for the new Blue Jays uniforms and Jose Bautista on the cover alone.
If you’re a Blue Jays fan, then this one is a no-brainer; go out and buy this game and play it to death until Opening Day, and then maybe play it a tiny bit less as the Blue Jays season gets into full swing.
However, if you already own a copy of MLB 11 The Show and aren’t concerned about Jose Bautista or the new Blue Jays uniforms, then you might be less inclined to purchase MLB 12. I’m not sure if the new features this time around warrant a purchase if MLB 11 is in your PS3 library already.
Last year’s version definitely did because of the introduction of the pure analog control scheme. This time, it was more of just a tweaking of the controls rather than an a complete overhaul.
By no means is that a knock on MLB 12 The Show. It’s just that it’s
tough to improve upon a model in MLB 11 The Show which was very good in
the first place. Why reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to, right?
Overall though, MLB 12 The Show is a much more polished version of its predecessor and The Show remains the preeminent baseball
game out there. I’ve played the MLB 2K12 demo and I don’t think
it comes anywhere close to The Show.
MLB 12 The Show is simulation baseball at its finest. As you can tell by the screenshots, the graphics are ultra-realistic and the brand new ball physics add an entirely new level of realism to the game.
That being said, The Show is not one of those games you can just pick up and start mashing home runs from the get-go. There is a bit of a learning curve especially when it comes to hitting, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, that just makes hitting those home runs all that more rewarding.
The presentation of MLB 12 The Show is solid, the controls are great, and Blue Jays fans are going to love seeing the new uniforms and finally having one of their own on the cover of the game. Happy gaming, everyone!
Overall rating from MLB 12 The Show: 9 out of 10