Hm. Well, as your resident number nerd, it shouldn't be surprising that I have an addiction to the gaming world as well. So first, a lowdown on what in the world this game is (and where you can get it!).
Hopefully you know this is a game across the PLAYSTATION brand (Psst, that's the PSP, PS2, and PS3). Unfortunately, I'm not endowed with a boatload of money, so a PS3 is not in my collection. However, I do own a PSP, and that's what this review is going to be based on.
This game is the "best-selling" and "most realistic" baseball simulation available! AND that it gives you the "closest experience possible next to actually playing in the Majors", awesome. AND most importantly, keep in mind that this game has been out for about a month now, so... should you want it you can most certainly get it.
Alrighty. Now that the introduction is out of the way, hit the jump to read the entirety of this article. I promise it'll be awesome. (Well, that and you'll have to read a sizable amount of text...)
Welcome... to the inside. This is where I actually talk about the game play itself, and how much it (possibly...) impressed me and my recommendation about it.
Sooo... lets begin. Wait. First, let me warn you that I have not played any of the previous MLB '0x series so... I'm going into this fresh and cannot comment on "improvements from 07 to 08, so... keep that in mind while I truck along.
First let’s address the pitching. It's a pretty interesting system. Instead of the general, pick your pitch then have a cursor point at the location and twiddle some buttons to change it slightly (from what I remember last of how pitching worked...). There's a power-gauge that comes up. First to gauge the power, then swinging back for the accuracy. Pretty nicely done I must say. I was also impressed how when a pitcher got progressively in a jam that the gauge would go at a much faster pace. Mimicking what must be panic / frustration that would normally be building up in an actual pitcher. [You can revert to the old school point and release version though! So for those who fear change, you are saved. But really do try this version out, it's pretty nicely done]
The "assist location" feature (which is stated as being your 'own personal catcher' for you) is helpful... though usually ended up botching it (as not hitting perfectly on the gauge causes the ball to veer off in undesirable, hittable areas... I’m still not that good at it...)
Batting is real nice too. You have the classic guess pitch and guess location option. Pick right and you get a nice satisfying red pulse to show you that you've got a leg up (and you better not mess it up!!). Then comes the eventual base running. I'll be honest. I absolutely stink at it. I can't leadoff for the life of me (I've gotten picked off so many times it's not even funny). But whatever, always takes me an age and a half to finally get the base running down...
Now for THE most fun part of the game, the "ROAD TO THE SHOW" (RTTS) Mode. Which as I stated earlier was described as giving you the "closest experience possible next to actually playing in the Majors". It's pretty sweet. You create your own character (5'6" 185 pounder Asian LF/C (what?) combo!) and then get a spring-training invite and work your way through the system! You only play when *you* are part of the action [Though, it gets annoying when the only part of the action is you watching a HR ball sail over your head. Or you make it on base and wait around only to have the batter K] There are specific goals that you may need to achieve on an at bat (drive the run in, reach safely, don't strike out...) and you get ability points in return. Fail and you'll lose points. (Though at the end of the game you won't end up with a negative score). Use these points to enhance your abilities and become a better player! Right now I'm in the AAs slowly trudging through... but it's a damn good time! [It's the reason this wasn't up earlier, just wanted to keep playing mooooore]
There are also nifty side features like the Home run
Oh, but it's not without flaws, I'm sure if I had the power that I'd be half bald by now because of the load-times. Ohhh man, those load times are killer. I understand that there must be a whole bunch to load but I'm still complaining. It takes a while to looooad. If it weren't for my multitasking nature of having the TV going and the laptop fired up... well. Yeah. Maybe I wouldn't be as enthusiastic. Perhaps if you're a graphic-connoisseur (I could use another word, but I guess I’ll pass), you may have some complaints, but it's not eye-killing. Meh meh.
So... if you just want the gist here is... The Bottom Line
This is a pretty darn good game. And if you're an avid baseball fan and need a game this seems like the game of choice. I haven't seen the opposition, but popular opinion from my group of gaming buddies point to this game. It's been a while since I've had a baseball game capture my attention like this... not since MLB Power Pros (PS2/Wii). So it's an impressive feat to have caught my attention for so long! If you don't like baseball games... uhhh. 1) Why are you reading this, 2) If the answer is 'because you're so cool' then get bust a friend to get it for you and try it out. Because it's worth at least a try. The fact you can pause/save on-the-go makes this game playable in chunks (cause a single game isn't a quick task).
Rejoice that there is a quality game for the handhelds (or console if you have the dinero) and you can play endless hours, only to realize, aw damnit is it really 11?! [Just, be able to deal with the load times...]
FANS: BUY IT! It's the baseball game to have
NONFANS: RENT & TRY! Worth it to play around with the buddies!
(Did you really read all this? I thank you... for having to deal with this. I'm an EECS Major, I'm not used to this 'coherent writing' thing.)