Sammy Sosa said it best, “It’s Soo Realllll!”
What better way to start the Baseball season than to play a game that looks just like the real thing and also includes every MLB mascot. Wow. Although I don’t consider the Rally Monkey as a real mascot! I must say, the graphics in MLB ’09 The Show are the best I’ve seen in any MLB game. The player’s mannerisms and behaviors are displayed identically to their real life counterpart. Derek Jeter fixes his gloves during at-bats, Kevin Youkilis holds the bat with one hand on the handle while the other hand rest on the neck and Alex Rodriguez is still a Jerk! I’m a huge baseball fan, so it’s no surprise that I’m reviewing this game. With that in mind, know that I’ll be very meticulous since I know almost everything that is real Baseball. I said almost, OK?!
MLB ’09 The Show has something for everyone. You can manage your team to the World Series, create a player from scratch and audition through Spring Training in an attempt to make the pros or play through a full 162 game season in Franchise mode. It’s all there for the taking.
Pitching meter relieves stress. Pitching is finally a simple motion. Though your timing is critical, the meter is self explanatory. You first select one of your different pitches; 4 seam Fastball, Change up, Curve etc. When your pitcher is in the wind-up, your next move will be to press the “x” button for the power of your pitch (upper part of meter), then press “x” again along the sweet spot area of the meter represented by a yellow line. While in the wind-up, you will select your pitch, then attempt to pick off a runner on any base by pressing the appropriate button. (O = 1st, triangle = 2nd, square = 3rd) I found the most fun was pitching. Deciding where to throw the next pitch or holding the runner on felt as real as being there.
Playing a little pepper. Batting, the mecca for any offensive player, and the most thrilling aspect of baseball. If you think you’ll be able to pick up your DualShock SIXAXIS PS3 controller and swing your way through doubles and frozen rope singles, think again. Hitting is tough. Your given an extensive amount of hitting instructions which can have you; hit the ball in the air, on the ground, to left field or right. But beware of defensive positioning. Against David “Big Papi” Ortiz, I noticed the defense had a heavy shift to the right. So unlike the Real Papi, I laid down a bunt down third base, to which I was thrown out by a mile, but at least I attempted it! Unless it’s a situational at-bat, I tend to stick with “X” (contact hitting) or “square” which is a power swing but more susceptible with easier outs. Having a great eye and patience is the key to getting hits.
Intelligent AI. I’m sure MLB ’09 The Show has thousands of algorithmic equations that allow for a more realistic gaming experience, but I’m surprised how accurate the AI is. While in practice mode, I was working on my steal attempts. Several times, I tried extending my lead into “dangerous” territory. The CPU did not allow me to attempt the steal, even after 15 straight times of attempting it. Heck, even the announcers are up to date with facts about the player or the situation at hand. For example, the in-game Mets announcers STILL haven’t gotten over the fact that Scott Kazmir was a Met and traded to Tampa Bay Rays. But who has…
Who says Wiffle Ball is more fun? Online gameplay, although choppy at some points, is a lot of fun. There are many features of online gameplay that I thought were key to making MLB ’09 enjoyable. For one, you’re given a maximum of 5 minutes pause time. What that means, is that any pitcher changes, lineup changes or defense positioning has to be done within your maximum time limit. For example, it took me 30 seconds to put Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen to warm up. At some points, I did notice several choppy experiences during the game. To me, that was the biggest issue throughout the entire gameplay.
Frankfurters? Check. Cracker Jacks? Check. Sweaty knees touching on a hot Saturday afternoon game? Nope! Sure visiting a ballpark is one of the best parts of going to a baseball game. But if you can’t visit them all, MLB ’09 The Show brings the ball park to you. I’ve gone to EVERY ballpark on the east coast prior to the 2009 season, so the fact that I was able to see both Citi Park Field (Mets Stadium) and the New Yankee Stadium was amazing The in-game crowd at Citi Park heckles when the Braves come to town, and let me not mention what Yankee fans say to the Red Sox during their visit. The scrolling banners on the facades or the gigantic Jumbotron scoreboards are great representations of the stadiums. Another stadium worth of note was Fenway Park and The Green Monstah. Being that I’ve been to Fenway several times, I can say the real stadium is a bit better than the in-game one. Reason? Nothing’s like listening to Red Sox faithfuls talk history DURING the game. Thank you, I know Nomaaah was loved Ted Williams!
Save and load game, anytime
Create a player, Road To The Show
Rumble during critical situations
Online multi-player choppiness
Load times too long
Too many save options
MLB ’09 The Show is a fun, realistic and updated baseball game for the PS3. With several “cool” features such as in-game MLB Live scores or SportsConnect Headline News you’ll be able to stay up-to-date with everything that is MLB. I’m looking forward to playing during the MLB season as trades and injuries occur and to see if I can hock up as much spit as David Ortiz and slap my gloves together.