Following up a smashing success is a tall task – just ask an Oscar or Grammy winner. Fans will demand the impossible, clamoring for innovation and fresh perspective without straying too far from the successful formula. The makers of MLB 09 The Show surely feel similar pressure, having achieved a spectacular success with last season’s edition. Is it possible to top a seminal touchstone without trying to do too much or, even worse, overreach and take a step (or two) backwards?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.” MLB 09 The Show is baseball poetry in motion, a gorgeous ode to America’s pastime that celebrates the game at a time when baseball fans need it the most. We savored just about everything from first pitch to last out, including the riotously smooth visuals and rock-solid gameplay. While there’s an admittedly substantial learning curve, we’re more than willing to spend lots of time inside The Show’s world. It’s just that good.
One thing’s for sure – hitting the ball consistently is a serious challenge. Mastering the mechanics around timing and location will take time on all but the easiest level, but the payoff is worth it.
Pitching is also tricky, as the three-tap meter seems more sensitive this season. We found ourselves missing the strike zone a lot more than we used to, which adds significantly to the realism but can be confounding at times.