‘MLB 13: The Show’ knocks it out of the park

4.5 out of 5 stars MLB 13: The Show PS3 (reviewed), PS Vita SCE San Diego Studio Rating: Everyone
4.5 out of 5 stars
MLB 13: The Show
PS3 (reviewed), PS Vita
SCE San Diego Studio
Rating: Everyone

For the baseball fans out there, MLB 13: The Show has everything but the performance-enhancing drugs.

I’m sure in a few years the game will introduce random suspensions during the season due to players getting caught using human growth hormones. But until that time, the eighth instalment of The Show series pulls no squeeze plays on quality and realism when it comes to the game of baseball.

For Canadian fans, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista makes the cover again, while south of the border the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen gets the nod.

But that’s just the cover. This year’s model introduces a beginner-friendly system, letting newcomers to the game slowly work their way up the skill levels without being given unnecessary frustration.

This adaptation of MLB 13 to the modern gamer is the real gem. The developers at Sony Computer Entertainment’s San Diego Studio want players to “learn the fundamentals of the game and develop the tools for success.” They sound like little league coaches.

The batting mechanics have been given a much-needed boost, making it easier to control and plan your attack at the plate. Which is good, because I’m a bit trigger-happy and just want to hit the ball. I don’t like taking walks, which explains why I smacked three dingers in one game with Ryan Ludwick of the Cincinnati Reds.

As you progress, though, the AI graduates with you, adapting to your style and adding different pitches into the mix to lock you up, brush you back or even throw you the chair.

In addition to upping the batting, the online play has been given a complete overhaul, allowing league commissioners to set their own league’s pace.

Whatever mode you’re in, experience points go into a universal profile, which can be used online to let other players see just how seasoned a veteran you are, whether you’re a Cal Ripken, Jr. or just a bush leaguer trying to cut your teeth in AA ball.

Not only that, but if you dig deeper into the game’s menus, gamers can follow their favourite players on Twitter without having the need for a Twitter account.

It’s great to see a sports game fully immersed in the culture of the sport, right down to every single statistical detail. And the replay value, given that I spent three hours on one game, is still up there.

Like a steroids-abusing major leaguer, this game is jacked. But for all the good reasons.

Originally posted March 19, 2013 on Toronto Sun and Canoe

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