Well the day is officially upon us and MLB 12: The Show is available on Playstation 3 and PS Vita. I’ll be talking solely about the PS3 version of course.
Upon inserting the Blu-Ray, I was asked if I would like to install 10 GB of the game to the PS3 hard drive. It would significantly reduce loading times I was told. Thankfully I had other chores and activities to tend to because it took roughly 20 minutes to install. If you played MLB 11, you know that the loading times were abysmal and possibly worse than any game I’ve ever seen. While I didn’t play prior to installing, a few menus and a quick RTTS game showed exactly how much better it was in comparison to last year’s game.
The Show has always had great audio clips and opening videos featuring key moments from the previous season of Major League Baseball. I was treated to a 2-3 minute video of the sequence of events that led up to what many consider the greatest night in regular season history. I’m of course speaking of the wild card races in the AL and NL. Watch it, it is spectacular and a pleasant reminder of how great this sport can be.
Any time I pick up a new game, I go into the options menu. I like to see everything that is available so I know what I can and cannot tweak. I immediately notice how familiar everything is and I adjusted a majority of settings to what I had last year.
MLB 12 features a new way to pitch and hit (to a lesser extent). I tried the new pulse pitching in practice mode. I feel like I gave it a good chance and I’ve come to the conclusion that I would get a massive headache if I had to endure pulse pitching over the course of an entire game. I’m sure someone will enjoy it, however I am not one of them. I’ll stick to last year’s analog pitching that I liked.
As for the change in hitting, it’s a combination of pure analog controls (introduced last year) and zone hitting, which utilizes the left thumb stick. This was asked about a lot from the community and SCEA delivered. If you enjoy analog hitting, this gives you full control of where the bat goes. Turn the PCI on and you can see exactly where the bat enters the zone. This is a lot to try and do and with a little practice, I hope to be able to use this mode.
Next, I jumped into Road to the Show. RTTS is what all other sports games now have a version of. You control one player, start him in the minors, and try to reach the big leagues. I’ll admit, I become less and less interested in this mode every year. There simply isn’t enough to keep me coming back.
The one RTTS feature I’ve been clamoring for is the ability to see every pitch in the field. SCORE! You can now see and attempt ONLY your at-bats, and play every pitch in the field. After playing this way a couple of times, I felt the games took too long.
I then tried a game with “Result pitch only.” This showed every single at bat in the game, but only the final pitch of each at bat. Unfortunately, it meant I had to sit in the dugout and watch my teammates make out after out. The fielding was great because it went by faster than seeing every pitch, but still kept you on your toes not knowing if you were getting the ball.
My ideal RTTS setup would be seeing the “result pitch” in the field and just my at bats on offense. SCEA, make it happen next year.
As a former Challenge of the Week winner, I had to jump into this mode and give it a go. This year it is now completely free so everyone has the same chance to win. This week features Adrian Gonzales at Fenway, versus C.C. Sabathia. I immediately noticed the very low scores on the leader board and groaned. The bonuses are extremely difficult to obtain and the pitcher is filthy. This is a lethal combination.
Last year’s game had noticeable lag spikes and times while playing CotW. It has been smooth sailing this year (a great sign for online play). I already have a huge complaint and it is a complete lack of feedback after each pitch. I have tried every button combination and am unable to pull up the feedback window. This is essential to me as it shows me the pitch thrown, my exact timing, and it shows me precisely how I can adjust. Because of this, I felt like I had no patience at the plate. I struggled mightily and never felt like I had a chance to compete. Everything else looked and felt the same, but the fact that I was terrible leads me to believe that I’m extremely rusty, or the lack of feedback is killing my confidence.
So it was on to attempt Diamond Dynasty. You are told to create the home town of your team, its nickname, abbreviation, and colors. I went with what I typically go with it games like this, the Fort Wayne Vipers. However, after clicking ok, I was told this name was already taken. WHAT? Someone actually used Fort Wayne Vipers? So I went with Indiana Vipers and sure enough that was taken as well. First off, I’m curious as to why you aren’t allowed to use the same name as someone else.
Turns out the nickname must be unique. That is the most ridiculous thing ever. Essentially what that means is after the first hour or two, all the common names like Bears, Lions, and Vipers are gone. At the very least they could have not allowed common city plus nickname. After about 10 minutes of self debate, I went with Fort Wayne Green Vipers. I used a lot of green in the colors.
After finally getting to the team lineups page, I realized how complicated the setup appears. You are given a handful of majors players, none of who are actually in your lineup, and a bunch of scrubs who you can train with earned money. It took another 15-20 minutes just to get a lineup set with a mix of these players. I never actually started a game for fear of not being able to finish and not knowing if I can actually quit the game and return later in this mode (something you can do in franchise or exhibition).
My wife is a graphic designer and wanted to design my logo, jersey, and that jazz. Even she was amazed by the amount of detail you are afforded. Seriously, for someone with no design experience, even basic setup is entirely overwhelming.
As for the game play itself, this is MLB: The Show. Not a lot has changed honestly. That’s not a bad thing either. The game is solid and there is little to complain about. Many of the fielding woes from the past are fixed. The ball physics are a minor improvement but it is very noticeable.
I won’t get started on a franchise until the Full Minors roster from Operationsports.com is released. The guys over there do an amazing job with every single minor league player as well as tweaking every Major League player.