SCEA San Diego has year after year, released a solid game of hardball on the PS3. This time, their virtual version comes to PS4 with Bryce Harper type of expectations. Did they deliver on a true next-gen experience? Or did we get a strikeout on a pitch in the dirt?!
The Show has been known in the past for its fantastic and realistic baseball experience. SCEA SD has toed the line between the hard core community and accessibility for new, more casual users. Thankfully, there’s fun to be had for both groups. Between last gen and next, the gameplay has virtually remained the same with some slight upgrades and tweaks. This isn’t a bad thing either. The Show has always had the most realistic sports experience on any console out. The bad thing, is with the game of baseball being already a hard sport to master and essentially built on who fails the least, The Show is possibly one of the hardest, but also most satisfying sports game to play. And that, is exactly why I love this series. Pitchers who dominate in real life, tend to dominate in game. Hitters who are feared, can be down right dangerous if you miss a pitch. The cat and mouse game you play makes every pitch meaningful and one false move could be what comes between a win or loss. There’s nothing like getting your first home run, turning your first double play, or throwing your first complete game. The Show can be so difficult at times, these feats become special and ever so gratifying! Control wise, the game is setup pretty nicely to allow you to customize between different pitching and hitting options. This gives gamers a variety of different ways to play, giving the game a fresh feel as well as adding some difficulty from one option to the next.
There’s also a variety of game modes to play, but the two that will take up majority of your time are Road To The Show (RTTS) and Franchise Mode. RTTS is hands down, one of the best single-player career modes in all of sports gaming. No other game comes close to the depth and satisfaction of creating your player and moving him through the minors to the show. The rewarding feeling of being able to grind it out in the minors then finally getting the call up is truly remarkable. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you have Franchise Mode which allows you to take your team of choice and lead them to the World Series. Again, The Show is about depth and Franchise mode doesn’t disappoint either. From managing Minor League teams, trades, drafts, and more, you’ll find yourself breezing through games with how addicting this game is.
Graphics and Audio
The first thing that stands out are the graphics. This game looks absolutely beautiful and really makes the atmosphere stand out from other sports games. Never have I seen details of Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium stand out like they do on the virtual diamond. Player likeness, for the most part, are spot on. Hair, facial hair, and grass have their own physics and add a layer of detail never seen in the series. Ball physics seem to be good without any real notice in warping or awkward movements you will find on the PS3, but even those are few and far between. Everything seems so polished and shiny compared to the last gen version of the game. SCEA really did a great job keeping the core gameplay intact, while making The Show a real beauty to look at. A great first step for the debut on the PS4.
The sound is another great addition to the game. With the crowd bustling, vendors soliciting food and drinks, to the sound of the crack of the bat, The Show nails it all. The only big let down is the exclusion of custom sounds to add like you can in the PS3 version.
Now here is where we hit some speed bumps. The Show is all about timing, and unfortunately, with shoddy servers, it can be hit or miss. But mostly miss! Terrible lag, untimely disconnects, and sometimes the inability to even connect to an opponent makes the online play very frustrating. What’s even worse, is the new Online Franchise mode that’s been added is a great feature and really makes the game that much better to enjoy with friends, but only when it works which is too few and far between. Sadly, this takes away from what is a great title and keeps it from being an all out masterpiece. If SCEA can remedy the connection issues plaguing The Show, then we hands down will have the sports game of the year without a doubt.
for sports fans, The Show is hands down a must have title. The excellent gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and the massive amounts of customization make this a title to last far and beyond the real life MLB season. Unfortunately, online play is lacking and sticks out like a sore thumb. If SCEA can fix their server connectivity, this could go down as one of the best sports games of all time. If you can get past the online deficiencies, then The Show is a definite must-have sports title.