MLB 15 The Show (PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

MLB15TheShow coverEvery sport has its annual videogame installment, typically by several different companies.  In baseball, Sony has MLB The Show 15 – the newest incarnation of the series that started back in 2006.  Once a franchise has been established for a few years, it is difficult for it to delve into new territory, at the risk of alienating their fan base.  MLB The Show 15 is just such a title, with some incremental improvements to an already solid line of games.  Gamers into baseball already know they need to get the newest season, but those who haven’t dipped into MLB The Show in the past few years may find it may be time to check it out again.

The game is baseball, so you go up at bat, you field the ball, and you try to score runs.  However, any baseball fan will tell you that the game is all about statistics.  MLB The Show 15 allows fans of the game to do just that, managing players and teams through seasons and beyond.  There are several main gameplay modes.  One can play through a season (or more) with a team, manage a franchise from the managerial level, or play “Road to the Show” where you take a single player up through the leagues.

The almost role-playing experience of the single player career mode is my favorite part of the game, allowing me to manage my own career along a preferred path.  It brings to mind other role playing games as MLB The Show lets one pick out preferred equipment and other little customization options.

MLB The Show 14, released last year, was a larger change from previous seasons (primarily shortening up the length of of most games, and this year’s improvements are much more incremental.  There is a new sort of intermediate level of batting (between a simplistic swing timing and full control of the bat) and clearer feedback for the pitcher when deciding where and how to pitch.  Fielding is a tad more difficult, making it less of an automatic success of last year.

One final game mode of mention is a somewhat eclectic  mix of collecting “cards” and playing games.  Special player cards can be obtained in the game (through play or spending the currency earned within the game) and then used to form up teams to compete in this mode (which then presents players with more cards to use.)  It is yet a different way to play that adds some variety and may appeal to another style of gamer.

On the whole, MLB The Show 15 is a great choice for a gamer looking for a solid, deep, enjoyable baseball game.  Hardcore sports gamers will probably want to pick up this season due to its improvements over last years game, but hardcore players probably knew that already.


Kid Factor:

Nothing much to complain about here, the language and general theme of the game is pretty vanilla.  With the control settings and game AI set at their lowest settings the game is playable by younger gamers, but the depth of the game will probably be lost on younger gamers.  Of note, the newest version has a bit of sponsorship and product placement that can be incorperated (vis the franchise mode, etc…) but it is the expected sports-related advertising like Nike, etc…  As always, online play should be monitored by parents.


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