Sony’s baseball franchise has been rocking our socks for years now, lighting up our old reliable PS2 season after season. The development team has squeezed just about everything imaginable out of the venerable hardware, and the result has been a steady stream of hardball awesomeness. This go-round, The Show bears a striking resemblance to seasons past – and we’re OK with that. After all, breaking up a championship team can lead to disastrous results.
If you’re a PS2 owner who hasn’t experienced The Show before, you’re in for a treat (and what the heck have you been doing all this time, anyway?). Sporting smooth and vibrant visuals, rock-solid gameplay, and an impressive arsenal of offline and online options, it’s a complete package. Whether you’re down for a 162-game season, pursuing dreams of individual greatness in Road To The Show, or participating in an online league, The Show has you covered. It’s challenging, too – even on the default settings – and demands patience and practice in order to be successful.
As Show veterans know, the pitcher-batter battle is based on successfully guessing pitches. When you’re at the plate, inputting the right location and pitch combination lets you know beforehand what’s coming your way. Even if you’re off, you’re at least aware of what’s not being thrown, which still tilts the advantage in your favor. It’s a good thing, too, since hitting the ball consistently is one of the toughest things we’ve had to do in a long time.
Pitching isn’t easy, either, especially for your poor young rookie in Road To The Show, who’ll get lit up like a Christmas tree in his first spring training. Rest assured, there’ll be plenty of time to hone his craft in the low minors. If you start a RTTS career as more of a grizzled veteran (say, age 24 instead of 18), then chances are he won’t get totally demolished right away, but you’re also costing yourself years of Hall of Fame eligibility. We’ll sacrifice early bumps and bruises for more years of greatness any day – especially since you’ll be sent down to the bush leagues no matter how impressive your spring stats are.
Our complaints are relatively minor. Players, umps, and coaches all glide through each other pretty often, a holdover from past years that still hasn’t been addressed. Box score stats are occasionally wonky, leaving important pitching statistics off the board. We also loathe how the fielding controls vary in Road To The Show versus standard games; it screws us up on a regular basis.
Even so, MLB 09 The Show remains the definitive baseball experience, a startlingly deep and expansive take on America’s Pastime that offers more hardball than most of us could likely get to in a full season. There aren’t many noticeable improvements this year, though, which may bring pause to those who’ve already got a few seasons under their belts.
Mar 16, 2009