Baseball season is about a quarter of the way through and we’re finally digging into a PS4 version of the MLB 14: The Show through and through. Over the last couple of weeks I have played this game a lot, there is a lot in this game that isn’t new, but pretty well done. So let’s not waste anymore time, let’s dig in.
MLB the Show has a tradition of being one of the better sports games on an annual basis and this year is no different, MLB the show is a very solid game with minor issues.
The gameplay is great until you have to field and are forced to make a throw, unlike in years past, there seems to be no forgiveness if you hold the button down too long, or too little which can lead to a lot of throwing errors if you are not sure on your timing, even on rookie difficulty on the throwing you will see a few errors. The only work around to this seems to be using the button interface.
Outside of that however the game plays very well in all aspects from pitching to defense to offense. The game with it’s fast play option in a well pitched game is roughly 3o minutes without using quick counts (randomized pitch counts) to complete the game.
Graphically the game is a bit of a miss, sure the graphics are very good, boardering great, but they are not overly impressive given games like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son have stellar visuals which take advantage of the PS4’s power.
Speaking of graphics, I want to also point out that there is a lighting issue at certain parks such as Petco, and PNC parks where the seats in the outfield are poorly lighted. It is expected to be taken care of in a future patch.
Franchise mode has improved, not because it had much added to it (more on that in a second), but mainly because the improved CPU draft logic which now takes prospects off the board unlike in MLB ’13 when it took pretty much no prospects off the board. Another thing that Franchise Mode got was improved overall ratings logic, which means no longer is 20-25% of Major League Baseball a 99 overall. In fact, most of the league is rated much better, though you still have some head scratchers such as Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez being a low 90’s overall. But as I’ve said, comparing this year to last year, the ratings are more in line with what they really should be.
Because of the ratings improvements, it makes the mode so much more fun to play knowing that you don’t have at least 10 elite talents on every team.
In terms of additions the two biggest ones are the new menu layout, and a player search feature. Other than that, the mode is pretty much the same outside of what is discussed within this section.
The mode is not without some flaws however, I’ve give an example of two. First is the trade logic, while it is improved, it is still a little too easy to trade an elite talent for 3 top prospects, which would not be so bad but unfortunately the game doesn’t really believe in busts, so all of these prospects turn out to be great players on your team down the road making the trade look like a steal.
The second issue I have is the free agent signing, in two areas in particular. First would be signing rookies to long contracts is too easy, they will most likely take 10 years for $25 Million or $2.5 Million a season throughout the length of the contract, making it easy to make insanely good teams. Once the contract is up the players are on the decline and you end up tendering them a qualifying offer and getting draft picks in return if they sign elsewhere, it is that or you let them walk because they’ve regressed so much that they are not worth the money or roster space.
The second free agent complaint is, at the end of free agency you can sign players for 30k/yr for 10 yrs, which most of the time is okay, but in my multi-player Franchise with my brother he got Hanley Ramirez to take a deal like this and Ramirez was still pretty good even towards the end of his career.
The free agent glitches have been in the game for years, and it is something I am not happy with, it makes keeping a team good way too easy, especially since most of the time I take small market teams with small budgets to make it hard on myself, and the game gives me an easy way to stay good or great without much of a struggle. And teams who are usually pretty good like the Pirates, Rays, and Royals know that they can not keep up with the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, and Dodgers when it comes to funds which means they end up losing the prospects.
Road to the Show
Road to the Show has not changed a whole lot, the biggest change comes in the form of the prospect showcase.
The prospect showcase is where you play three exhibition games for your region and you are trying to do the best that you can in order to get a higher draft stock. I had five rookie showcases, my first one was the best where I was drafted third overall by the White Sox. The other four attempts yielded bad results leading me to be taken in the late third round in my last attempt by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I made myself a closer, I wanted to try to catch Mariano Rivera’s records, so I knew I needed to be on a winning team, unfortunately none of the five selections did anything to help me, I was taken by four AL Central teams before finally ending up on the Pirates.
So after bombing my opportunities with the showcase, I had to redeem myself, which I think I did okay with putting up insane numbers in my AA experience.
When I first got to AAA I ran into some issues, but then I settled down and figured it out towards the end of my second professional season.
I made the Majors in my third professional season for a short stint before I stunk the place up and I ended up back in AAA, and I struggled a bit there, but currently as I write this I have an ERA under 2 despite being a set up man for the closer.
Overall my time with Road to the Show to this point has been really good, I did find one thing annoying and that was being drafted in “2014” despite going to college for four seasons, I should have had a later draft date than that and there was no random order to the draft, which seemed sort of cheap to me.
Overall my experience with MLB the Show has been really good, there are some frustrations in the game but they don’t kill the game in any way. In fact the game plays as well as it looks if you can overlook its issues.
The game modes are well done as usual, but I did find a lack of a fielding practice feature a bit of a pain considering the difficulty that is throwing the baseball across the diamond.
Community Challenges is also a good mode to try out, there are some good situations to try such as trying to make a diving catch to preserve a Cliff Lee no-hitter, to completing Yu Darvish’s no-hitter that was broken up in the 9th inning in a May 9th game against the Boston Red Sox.
Overall MLB the Show is an outstanding game of baseball and it should be part of any baseball fans game collection.
- Sound: 8.5
- Visuals: 8.0
- Gameplay: 9.0
- Features: 9.0
- Lasting Appeal: 8.5
- Overall: 8.7