Review: MLB 10 The Show, Making The Big Play

MLB 10 The Show

MLB 09 The Show was great.  Ready for this, MLB 10 The Show is better.  Improving on what was an already “outstanding” baseball game, the realistic aspect while still keeping the game fun is blended perfectly.  Joe Mauer is your cover athlete this year after winning the AL MVP award during the ’09 season.  Many historic events took place last season, and The Show reminisces those Milestone highlights such as Gary Sheffield’s 500th homerun or Mark Buehrle’s perfect game through video and audio reels. MLB 10 The Show beefs up this years features in this PS3 exclusive baseball game; Pitcher warmups, Calling a game behind the plate or attending the All Star Game during All Star Weekend.  With the great successful of MLB 09 The Show, this year they’re improving on making the game more realistic yet fun and somehow improving the graphics.  The bread and butter of MLB 10 The Show is Road To The Show (RTTS).  Basically it’s your chance to work your way up the farm system and make it into the Major Leagues.  Will you make it?

Behind the plate. This year, the defensive aspect of RTTS has vastly improved and become more fun while catching.  If you’re looking to take on a different type of RTTS player, choose to be a catcher.  Calling pitches behind the plate really puts you into the mindset of a catcher and what pitches will work where and when you throw them.  Being a catcher myself, I can tell you this was really fun.  Since you’re calling the plays, you have to understand the pitcher just like real life.  He’ll shake you off when he’s not comfortable throwing that pitch.  And show demand when he’s not shaken up and full of confidence.  But you will feel guilty sometimes when you do call a wrong pitch that gets belted for a double or even a bases clearing triple.  Remember, you’re the player coach here, and when your pitcher looks good up there you know who got him there.

Pitching is not my cup of juice. I’ve mentioned in my MLB 2K 10 review that MLB 10 The Show lacks in the pitching department in comparison.  But it’s ok.  Same as MLB 09 so nothing new.  You’re shown all your pitches with a button to match.  After you select which pitch you want to throw, you select the location of the pitch by locating a floating baseball.  San Diego Studios decided to go with a pitching meter, so pressing “X” at the top for power and again on the yellow bar give the accuracy of the pitch.  One new feature I did enjoy was pitcher warmups before facing the batter.  Something so simple, made MLB 10 The Show more authentic since this is exactly what is done in baseball.

Hitting with a hole in your bat? Wow, I’ll have to admit that hitting is very difficult.  Depending on your level you can use the square button for power swings or X for contact.  You’re also able to guess the pitchers next pitch through guessing with R2.  The more advanced you want your hitting you’ll also be able to guess location of pitch.  Hitting in a direction (left or right field) or in the air or a grounder is easily done with the L3 analog stick.  My timing in The Show was either very early or I swung at a pitch waaaaay out of the zone.  This made any hitting situation in RTTS impossible to succeed.

Players look so reallll. I quoted Sammy Sosa’s High Heat baseball for my MLB ’09 The Show review, and this year I’ll do the same.  The graphics are by far the best for any baseball game out there.  The players are detailed and accurate.  Their animations are also depicted very well and reflect their personalities.  After an 8 pitch battle with C.C. Sabathia against Dustin Pedroia, getting a successful called strike 3 made him fist pump as a minor celebration.

Stadiums are identical. Ever been to the new Target Field in Minnesota?  No one has yet.  But now you can see it before the season starts thanks to the exact replica provided by The Show.  All the minor details that make up a real stadium are included of course.  Speaking on different stadiums, you’ll notice the Socks logo on the infield grass in Fenway Park which shows off the precise and detailed grass cutting.  The fans in the crowd for once have depth and dimension.  No more paper cut out fans.  Most have creative AI that allows them to reach into the field when a foul ball is hit down the line occasionally falling over the padded fence.  Let’s hope they’re not prosecuted.  Another cool feature I noticed were the game shadows thanks to daylight transitional lighting.  If you chose to play a day game, the shadows will change as the game progresses.  And make sure you keep the game close, cause if you’re up by a bunch of runs or losing by a bunch the crowd will start emptying the stadium all during your game.  I guess they’re trying to avoid the traffic…

Leaving the game on idle. Out of frustration (losing 12 – 1) and while typing this review, I left the game un-paused to see the reaction of some of the players.  To my surprise everyone including the umpires and other teammates on the bench displayed some form of reaction with a “Hot Foot” performed one of the bench players.  I swear I also saw them playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Jacoby Elsbury decided to lay down on the left field grass and Ryann Zimmerman demonstrated his impersonation of a rock star using his bat as a guitar.  It’s true.  Heck, even Wally the Red Sox mascot jumped ontop of the Home Field dugout to get a cheer from the crowd.  Yes, this is all here in The Show.

Comparisons to MLB 2K 10. See below how MLB 10 The Show matched up against MLB 2K 10 in our Pros / Cons.

Game commentary – adv. MLB 2K 10 – Rex Hudler, Matt Vasgersian and Dave Campbell do a “good” job but they do not compare to Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips and John Kruk fill in MLB 2K 10.  When I play a RTTS game, the color commentary can get dull and boring.

Graphics – adv. MLB 10 The Show – Stadium replicas are the best I’ve seen in any Baseball game.  The detail on players and their mannerisms show well and are very accurate.

Pitching – adv. MLB 2K 10 – By far, Total Control Pitching dominates over The Shows “sweet spot” pitching.  While I don’t “hate” meter type pitching controls, the style does not capture you.

Batting – adv. MLB 10 The Show – Although hitting was hard in The Show, it was much easier to time a pitch pressing a button (precision) than flicking the analog stick (total control hitting) as in MLB 2K 10.

Crowd/atmosphere – adv. MLB 10 The Show – Sounds of the game have to go to The Show.  Realistic enough that when hitting a foul ball, some fans will even fall into the field trying to get themselves a souvenir.

Menu navigation – adv. MLB 10 The Show – Navigating through The Show makes sense.  All the menu and sub menus are where they’re supposed to be.  In MLB 2k 10, the simple things in life are easier and I wish they followed that rule. MLB 2K 10’s right stick menu navigator is cumbersome.  Not only did I forget where things were, but I found myself stuck not knowing to hit “return” or “exit”.

RTTS Catcher or My Player Pitcher – slight adv. “RTTS”. Everything changed when I created a catcher in RTTS.  Calling pitches and feeling that responsibility for a pitch involves you.  Although I loved pitching in “My Player” where your goals are relevant to your player’s position, I felt like I was actually on the field in RTTS.  Realism goes to MLB 10 The Show.

Keeping the game on idle – adv. MLB 10 The Show – I was truly blown away with the amount of professional programming entered into The Show.  The fact that you will see something different every time you play or simply putting your controller down you’ll enjoy the rarely seen “idle” portions of the game.

Final Thought: It’s hard to keep up with Baseball fans each year because of the constant changes, but to no surprise MLB 10 The Show does it again. The online multiplayer can light your competitive fire if you’re looking for that challenge or play against the CPU on All-Star difficulty if you dare. The realism makes MLB 10 The Show feel authentic everytime you play it. There’s no denying The Show is the top selling baseball franchise in video game history. So if you’ve held out for a Baseball game and are still hung up on RBI Baseball or Ken Griffey Junior’s MLB, now is the time to jump on MLB ’10 The Show. Let’s play two…


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