Blog Archives

MLB ’14 the Show Review (PS4)

mlb the show reviewBaseball season is about a quarter of the way through and we’re finally digging into a PS4 version of the MLB 14: The Show through and through. Over the last couple of weeks I have played this game a lot, there is a lot in this game that isn’t new, but pretty well done. So let’s not waste anymore time, let’s dig in.

 

MLB the Show has a tradition of being one of the better sports games on an annual basis and this year is no different, MLB the show is a very solid game with minor issues.

MLB® 14 The Show™_20140508133345

Gameplay

The gameplay is great until you have to field and are forced to make a throw, unlike in years past, there seems to be no forgiveness if you hold the button down too long, or too little which can lead to a lot of throwing errors if you are not sure on your timing, even on rookie difficulty on the throwing you will see a few errors. The only work around to this seems to be using the button interface.

Outside of that however the game plays very well in all aspects from pitching to defense to offense. The game with it’s fast play option in a well pitched game is roughly 3o minutes without using quick counts (randomized pitch counts) to complete the game.

Graphically the game is a bit of a miss, sure the graphics are very good, boardering great, but they are not overly impressive given games like Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son have stellar visuals which take advantage of the PS4′s power.

Speaking of graphics, I want to also point out that there is a lighting issue at certain parks such as Petco, and PNC parks where the seats in the outfield are poorly lighted. It is expected to be taken care of in a future patch.

MLB® 14 The Show™_20140510113405

Franchise Mode

Franchise mode has improved, not because it had much added to it (more on that in a second), but mainly because the improved CPU draft logic which now takes prospects off the board unlike in MLB ’13 when it took pretty much no prospects off the board. Another thing that Franchise Mode got was improved overall ratings logic, which means no longer is 20-25% of Major League Baseball a 99 overall. In fact, most of the league is rated much better, though you still have some head scratchers such as Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez being a low 90′s overall. But as I’ve said, comparing this year to last year, the ratings are more in line with what they really should be.

Because of the ratings improvements, it makes the mode so much more fun to play knowing that you don’t have at least 10 elite talents on every team.

In terms of additions the two biggest ones are the new menu layout, and a player search feature. Other than that, the mode is pretty much the same outside of what is discussed within this section.

The mode is not without some flaws however, I’ve give an example of two. First is the trade logic, while it is improved, it is still a little too easy to trade an elite talent for 3 top prospects, which would not be so bad but unfortunately the game doesn’t really believe in busts, so all of these prospects turn out to be great players on your team down the road making the trade look like a steal.

The second issue I have is the free agent signing, in two areas in particular. First would be signing rookies to long contracts is too easy, they will most likely take 10 years for $25 Million or $2.5 Million a season throughout the length of the contract, making it easy to make insanely good teams. Once the contract is up the players are on the decline and you end up tendering them a qualifying offer and getting draft picks in return if they sign elsewhere, it is that or you let them walk because they’ve regressed so much that they are not worth the money or roster space.

The second free agent complaint is, at the end of free agency you can sign players for 30k/yr for 10 yrs, which most of the time is okay, but in my multi-player Franchise with my brother he got Hanley Ramirez to take a deal like this and Ramirez was still pretty good even towards the end of his career.

The free agent glitches have been in the game for years, and it is something I am not happy with, it makes keeping a team good way too easy, especially since most of the time I take small market teams with small budgets to make it hard on myself, and the game gives me an easy way to stay good or great without much of a struggle. And teams who are usually pretty good like the Pirates, Rays, and Royals know that they can not keep up with the Yankees, Angels,  Red Sox, and Dodgers when it comes to funds which means they end up losing the prospects.

MLB® 14 The Show™_20140525002216

Road to the Show

Road to the Show has not changed a whole lot, the biggest change comes in the form of the prospect showcase.

The prospect showcase is where you play three exhibition games for your region and you are trying to do the best that you can in order to get a higher draft stock. I had five rookie showcases, my first one was the best where I was drafted third overall by the White Sox. The other four attempts yielded bad results leading me to be taken in the late third round in my last attempt by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I made myself a closer, I wanted to try to catch Mariano Rivera’s records, so I knew I needed to be on a winning team, unfortunately none of the five selections did anything to help me, I was taken by four AL Central teams before finally ending up on the Pirates.

So after bombing my opportunities with the showcase, I had to redeem myself, which I think I did okay with putting up insane numbers in my AA experience.

When I first got to AAA I ran into some issues, but then I settled down and figured it out towards the end of my second professional season.

I made the Majors in my third professional season for a short stint before I stunk the place up and I ended up back in AAA, and I struggled a bit there, but currently as I write this I have an ERA under 2 despite being a set up man for the closer.

Overall my time with Road to the Show to this point has been really good, I did find one thing annoying and that was being drafted in “2014″ despite going to college for four seasons, I should have had a later draft date than that and there was no random order to the draft, which seemed sort of cheap to me.

Conclusion

Overall my experience with MLB the Show has been really good, there are some frustrations in the game but they don’t kill the game in any way. In fact the game plays as well as it looks if you can overlook its issues.

The game modes are well done as usual, but I did find a lack of a fielding practice feature a bit of a pain considering the difficulty that is throwing the baseball across the diamond.

Community Challenges is also a good mode to try out, there are some good situations to try such as trying to make a diving catch to preserve a Cliff Lee no-hitter, to completing Yu Darvish’s no-hitter that was broken up in the 9th inning in a May 9th game against the Boston Red Sox.

Overall MLB the Show is an outstanding game of baseball and it should be part of any baseball fans game collection.

Scores

  • Sound: 8.5
  • Visuals: 8.0
  • Gameplay: 9.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Lasting Appeal: 8.5
  • Overall: 8.7
Advertisements

MLB ’14 the Show PS4 release date announced, May 6th

1796985_756791341000793_1450516239_o

This afternoon Sony Computer Entertainment America revealed that their hit baseball simulation game will be released on PS4 on May 6th. The game will be available on April 1st for PS Vita and PS3.

This picture was taken from the MLB the Show Facebook page.

Video Game News; March 5th

Video Game News

  • There is an expectation that there will be new Watch Dogs material coming out this week, according to a report from Gamespot it might feature a trailer along with the release date on the “new” game. I am interested to see if they improved the visuals, if anything that was the weakest point of the game. Well that and to this point we really do not know a whole bunch about the game as a whole outside of Aiden Pierce is out to do damage to those who somehow harmed his family. The game looked and sounded fantastic before the delay, but if there was one weakness that Ubisoft had, it was the lack of real info on the game.
  • On Tuesday Rockstar Games released its “The Business Update” for GTA Online. The release offers 3 more new cars, a couple more weapons, a new jet, and a collection of new clothes.
  • SCEA has put out a couple of new blogs on Operation Sports this week, the first one dug into your Universal Profile and Stubs which is virtual currency but not used like it was in NBA 2k14, you can read that here, and the second one released today goes into Online Franchise which can be read here.
  • A notable release this week was South Park: The Stick of Truth was has released to some good fan fare, it was released on Ps3, Xbox 360, and PC.

MLB ’14 the Show Developer Blog: Quick Counts and Player Lock

SCEA has released its first developer blog for the upcoming MLB the Show game which is scheduled to be released on April 1st on PS3 and PS Vita and sometime in May on PS4. This blog covers two new features, Quick Counts and Player Lock.

Quick Counts is in essence a random batting count generator, you come up with a randomly selected situation when you come to the plate or pitching, it is intended to make the game go by faster.

Player Lock is what it sounds like, you can set yourself to be any player on the field as long as you set yourself to be that particular player, for example, if you want to play the entire game as David Ortiz as the DH, you can and you will only have to play the parts of the game he is involved in, which most of the time will mean anywhere from 3-4 at bats per game.  If you need a better idea of what this is, you can take RTTS as an example since it is the same thing except you get to use another real life player as opposed to using your created player, which could be interesting because since you can do it in any game mode, you could kind of do a form of RTTS in dynasty mode as your favorite player if you were so inclined to do so.

Another feature discussed in the video is a presentation setting called Fast Play, which is striping the broadcast settings to the bare minimum so that you can get through the games faster.

SCEA has said it will have weekly developer blogs over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for info.

MLB ’14 the Show Fact Sheet

12500019525_9fd95dd107_o

Sony has released the fact sheet for MLB ’14: the Show today. The list is below, and I have bold and changed the color of the ones I like the most. The list can be seen here.

In the coming weeks, we will start releasing developer blogs that thoroughly explain the ins and outs of our major new features and improvements this year. We can’t wait to share more details about MLB 14 The Show’s feature set. Until then scroll down for a comprehensive summary of everything planned for this year’s game.

KEY FEATURES

  • Next Generation Baseball Has Arrived – MLB 14 The Show makes its next-gen debut on the PS4 system, utilizing the system’s vast resources to deliver exceptionally detailed and fluid gameplay. With improvements to presentation, a wealth of added animations, and a dramatic increase in environment and player detail, we are setting out to create the best-looking and best-playing baseball sim ever created.
  • The Evolution of Road to The Show continues (All platforms) – First among the major improvements is a completely revamped advancement system, complete with improved logic and the removal of advancement goals. Also being introduced is a new beginning to a player’s RTTS career with the Topps Amateur Showcase, a series of games against other draft prospects. Additionally, the training system, logic, screens and modes have all been revamped to provide users with a more engaging experience.

    – Other changes include a new player-creation process, the reintroduction of the “broadcast” presentation perspective as an option, and a re-envisioned Catcher Mode, to name a few (PS3 & PS4 Only).

  • Year-to-Year Saves (All platforms) – For the first time in franchise history, saves can be carried over from MLB 14 to future releases of The Show, meaning that gamers won’t have to worry about starting their Franchise or Road to the Show seasons over in years to come.
  • Player Lock (All platforms) – The new Player Lock feature (a.k.a RTTS anywhere) gives users the ability to lock-on to any single player and enter games using the Road to the Show gameplay mechanic, allowing for faster games and more focused on-field action.
  • Quick Counts (All platforms) – Users will now be able to play a full nine-inning game in less than 30 minutes, half the time it takes in previous iterations of The Show. Despite the shortened game durations, realistic stats will not be compromised.
  • Community Challenges (PS3 & PS4) – Players will be able to freely toy and tinker with game situations and scenarios on the fly, whether that’s the inning, score, who’s on base, or where the ball is hit. These custom situations can be bundled with a creative set of goals and put forth as a challenge to the community, whether it’s to relive the past, change history, or dream of new possibilities.
  • Universal Profile (PS3 & PS4) – A new tendency-tracking system monitors and records gamers’ unique playing styles. Those patterns are stored in the Universal Profile, which can be viewed by anyone looking to get a quick scouting report on the player. The Universal Profile can also be subbed in in place of a CPU opponent in Diamond Dynasty and Online Franchise, making for more realistic head-to-head matchups when schedules prevent synchronous play.
  • Online Franchise (PS3 & PS4) – Finally, Franchise mode can be shared with friends online, with most of the features from the offline version making the transition, including Scouting, the Amateur Draft, Free Agency and CPU Trades. The mode will remain highly customizable as scheduling, divisions, postseason spots and more are all commissioner options.
  • Stubs (All platforms) – Playing games in MLB 14 The Show rewards players with Stubs. Stubs can be used to purchase additional in-game content – like Road to the Show training points – or used in our new mode, Community Challenges. Stubs can be earned in any mode, and they are not required to progress through a mode. You can still purchase additional in-game content through the PlayStation Store.
  • Diamond Dynasty Extra Innings (PS3 & PS4) – In this mode, a player’s team is always looking for opportunities to challenge other users in an offline setting, which allows the user to earn bonus rewards the next time they log in. When online, the player has the opportunity to challenge other user-created teams in an offline game where the CPU controls their team. Players can only benefit positively in this mode even if their team does not perform up to their normal standards.
  • Dynamic Difficulty (All platforms) – Baseball is a sport the dedicated love to master, but also one that can intimidate newcomers. In this year’s version of The Show, players who don’t feel like veterans yet can opt to start on a lower difficulty level and jump right in. An advanced logic system will then grade the user’s skill and adjust the challenge level up or down based on their overall performance. Batting and pitching are evaluated separately, so it’s possible for one to increase in difficulty while the other doesn’t, or even reduces. On-screen notifications will advise when the difficulty setting has been adjusted.
  • Franchise Improvements (PS3 & PS4 Only) – Efforts continue to improve the accessibility of Franchise mode. A new notification system, which keeps the user more connected to their organization and the league, serves as an “Assistant GM” and will make sure critical information is more immediately provided and more readily accessible. Also refined is the logic that helps the multi-season cycle of Franchise mode and all of the stats and developments therein resemble real life as closely as possible. Other additions include a player search and the ability to hire and fire coaches during the regular season.
  • True Broadcast Presentations (PS3 & PS4 Only) – The Show’s presentation crew has taken on a tall task for MLB 14: streamlining the game while enhancing the reality and increasing the variety of the experience. Pace of play is a focal point for the team as we strive to immerse the user in an even more engaging simulation. Heavy emphasis has also been placed on the stadium environment to feature the upgraded crowd actors, jumbotrons, LED boards, dugouts, specific stadium audio and a more engaged, responsive and unique crowd.

    -On the commentary side, the three-man booth of Matt Vasgersian, Eric Karros and Steve Lyons return for their second season together. This year’s title will emphasize the three announcers in a more interactive, conversational style, yet will also continue to mine the world of baseball to find intelligent, timely and compelling commentary concerning today’s teams and players. The overall goal is for the game to get deeper, and for the announcers to better adapt to changing game conditions — including rising the enthusiasm level when the situation dictates.

MLB 14 The Show includes over 40 more enhancements, new features, and improvements!

  • New dynamic gameplay cameras for batting and fielding
  • New dynamic catch position indicator for fielding
  • New baserunning paradigm (New animation core and logic)
  • Completely re-done catcher animations suite (over 150 all-new catcher animations)
  • More than 90 new batting stances
  • More than 160 batting stance re-captures for players who changed their stances
  • More than 50 new fielding animations
  • More than 30 new pitching motions
  • 20 new signature HR swings
  • Intro Fly-Ins (PS4 Only)
  • New bat boy and ball boy presentations (PS4 Only)
  • All-new high-resolution crowd reactions, ambient noise, cheers, etc…. (PS4 Only)
  • Japan League-style and slap-hitter swing types (PS4 Only)
  • Over 350 new fielding and batting animations (PS4 Only)
  • Team specific, player specific, team generic crowd signs (PS4 Only)
  • New RTTS Player Creation options, including the ability to model your skills, appearance, and signature animations after a real MLB player
  • New and improved training modes, along with the addition of a new bronze/gold medal system.
  • Easier trade requests (RTTS)
  • Easier position changes (RTTS)
  • Dynamic Potential for RTTS Player
  • New injury presentations
  • New Player Search feature
  • Ability to hire/fire coaches in mid-season
  • Notification system that keeps you connected to your team and league.
  • New player contract logic that mimics real life
  • New overall and potential formula
  • Editable potential
  • Refined player generation, with more position-specific attribute ranges (Online Franchise)
  • New contract decision logic, which factors in contract renewable and arbitration status more heavily (Online Franchise)
  • New lineup logic that takes into account secondary positions (Online Franchise)
  • Refined trade logic (Online Franchise)
  • Retired players stored for every season (Online Franchise)
  • More player stats stored for every season (Online Franchise)
  • New user management functionality at TheShowNation.com (Online Franchise)
  • Make, accept, and vote on trades through TheShowNation.com (Online Franchise)
  • Resolve and simulate games on TheShowNation.com (Online Franchise)
  • League members can now manage games on TheShowNation.com (Online Franchise)
  • New pitcher/batter status screen
  • New pitcher/batter breakdown pop-up graphics
  • Cycling help text
  • Left-handed infielders
  • CPU plate discipline logic has been re-written
  • Pitcher can now bring up pitch history using L3 (same effect as R2 for the batter)
  • New pickoff cameras
  • New assortment of organ recordings
  • Completely re-worked Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI)

<

p>That is the list of improvements SCEA has made to MLB ’14 the Show, and expect to hear more in the coming weeks as the game nears the PS3 and PS Vita release on April 1st and the PS4 release sometime in May. 

Sony releases info on MLB ’14 the Show and Announces Cover Athlete (Includes Blog from Sony, Screen Shots and a Trailer)

10617888416_6232d70d9c_z

The 2013 baseball season may have just ended, but we’re not ready to stop talking baseball here at PlayStation. We’re proud to announce the award-winning MLB The Show series will be coming to the PS4 system next spring with MLB 14 The Show. The beloved franchise will also launch on the PS3 and PS Vita systems, making PlayStation your home for baseball.

With a new generation of consoles comes a new face for MLB The Show. Last year, you — the fan — voted on which superstar should be on the cover, and chose superstar Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. With this year’s iteration of The Show, we did something that’s never been done in video game history — we let the ball players vote.

Our cover athlete was chosen by his fellow players, by the opponents who compete against him day in and day out. Every player in the big leagues had the opportunity to nominate one player for this year’s cover, and earlier tonight at the 2013 Player’s Choice Awards on the MLB Network, the winner was revealed. We’re proud to announce that eight-time All-Star, 2012 American League Most Valuable Player, 2012 American League Triple-Crown Award winner, two-time Sporting News Player of the Year (2012, 2013), and the two-time Hank Aaron Award winner (2012, 2013), Detroit Tigers third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, will grace the cover of MLB 14 The Show.

MLB 14 The Show on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita

Cabrera’s on-the-field accolades, and off-the-field work ethic, make him the perfect cover athlete to lead our franchise into the next generation of baseball on PS4.

Speaking of PS4, the crew over at San Diego Studios is hard at work creating our best baseball product ever. Here’s a sneak peek at their plans.

Without revealing too much, we did want to give you a taste of some of the many advancements we’re making to the product for 2014. Here are just a few:

  • We know how much time and effort our fans put into their Seasons, Franchises, and Road To The Show players. So beginning with MLB 14 The Show, you can now carry over your saves to future versions of MLB The Show. MLB 14 The Show lays the foundation for year-to-year saves, meaning you never have to worry about starting your Franchise or Road to the Show seasons over!
  • Thanks to the power of PS4, MLB 14 The Show is going to be the most beautiful baseball product we’ve ever created.
  • For some of you, full 9-inning baseball games may be too long for your liking, so we’ve created an all-new Quick Counts option, which utilizes generated pitch counts allowing gamers to play through full games faster than ever. Realistic statistics in this shortened gameplay experience have not been compromised. Users will now be able to play a full 9 inning game in less than 30 minutes, essentially cutting traditional game times in half.
  • We think Road To The Show is the deepest, most realistic single-player experience in sports video games, and we’re making it even better. A few of the new features include a new advancement system, new intuitive player creation process, and all new pre-draft prospect showcase.
  • And finally, what makes baseball great are those “big moments.” The power of PS4 will allow gamers to share those moments using the new “share feature” by capturing and publishing their most thrilling baseball moments, from hitting a game-winning grand slam, to picking off a runner at first for a crucial win in a World Series game.

We also wanted to give you a quick glimpse of some of the graphical leaps we’ll be able to make via the power of the PS4 hardware. Below are some comparison screens of a “work in progress” version of Fenway’s Green Monster for PS4, and a current version of the same famous wall in the PS3.

 

In the PS4 picture of the Fenway Park “Out of Town Scoreboard,” you’ll notice how different types of materials such as metal, wood, and steel properly reflect the sun. The shinier materials such as metal will give you more of a direct or tighter reflection. This is immediately noticeable on the team name plates. In contrast, the more matte surfaces such as the wall above the scoreboard won’t reflect as much direct light as seen in the photo. Contrast this with the PS3 version, where you see a consistent lighting reflection profile across the entire scoreboard.

 

Our lighting engine in PS3, while powerful, was limited in the way in which the lighting interacted with our models. Moving to PS4, which boasts 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM, we are able to properly represent the true nature of the surfaces. In the PS4 screenshot, you’ll notice the game scoreboard has actual geometry to it and not just a flat plane, compared to the contrasting PS3 screenshot. With the added horsepower of PS4, we can create more detailed representation of elements within the stadium. With the added memory, we can increase the texture size, and use higher resolution normal maps to push the illusion of reality.

 

In the final comparison, you get the complete composition of all the new technology we can use in the stadiums. Here we have an excellent example of the increased polygon count which is immediately noticeable in the depth and shadow projection in the small elements. In this angle you can see the specular highlight from the advanced PS4 materials interacting correctly with the new lighting engine.

These are just a handful of the improvements you’ll see in MLB The Show as we continue to develop and harness the power of PS4. We can’t wait to share more information about the game’s visuals and new modes in the coming months.

Lastly, to our loyal Canadian fans, you’ll have a hand in deciding who will grace the cover of MLB 14 The Show in Canada. And also, EB Games will have the same pre-order exclusive as GameStop. Stay tuned for more info on both.

%d bloggers like this: