Saturday, August 30, 2014

Games Thirst Review: MLB 11: The Show

For as long as I can remember, baseball has been a big part of my life.  I have played and studied the game, and this has caused me to become a little more critical when it comes to Baseball games. They have extremely improved over the years, but have not been able to capture that amazing feeling of playing the game. They just have not captured the atmosphere of a real baseball game, but MLB 11: The Show has sought to fix this problem.

What Quenched My Thirst

Building off of an already amazing foundation, MLB 11: The Show has made some vast improvements over the past installments of the franchise. To begin with, the new analog pitching controls makes for a great experience. For once, I knew whom to blame when I left a pitch over the plate or my location was way off. It creates a new challenge for the game. You can’t jump into the game and expect to be great at it to begin with, but if you really work at it, it becomes a very satisfying experience.

The game is also centered around analog play now. When you choose the higher difficulty settings, it automatically chooses analog controls. It is a much more intuitive system, but takes a lot of practice to master. It is a great feeling when you hit a homerun using the analog controls because you know you had the perfect timing down.

They complemented these game improvements with some new camera angles, graphical improvements and new animations. If you have ever watched a broadcast of a MLB game, you will notice that the camera is angled from the outfield, behind the pitcher. Each park has its own camera angle they use when broadcasting from their stadium, and all of these camera angles have been added to MLB 11: The Show. When I first saw that this feature was going to be apart of the game, I was very excited. I found that it gives a great since of realism, and authenticity to the game. It feels like I am actually watching a game.  They have also added a new camera-editing feature. This allows you to edit the pitching and hitting camera angles to fit how you want them. This is a really great feature that adds some nice personal customization to the game.

Though the camera angles are very impressive, the thing that impressed me the most was the player animations. I have played this game a lot, and I am still seeing new player animations. There are such a variety of them, and it really astounds me that I still see new animations each time I play game.

The other improvement that really made me happy was the added detail in the graphics. The franchise has always presented the best looking graphics when it comes to baseball games, but this year they have really pushed it further. The overall look might not seem much different, but when you look at the small detail in the game, it really looks amazing. The character models look more detailed, and they really did a great job of making the parks look like their real life counterparts. Whether it is a minor league park or a major league park, they are all very detailed and engrossing.

This installment of the franchise brings back the most addicting aspect of a sports game I have ever played, Road To The Show (RTTS). In RTTS, you create your own character and start in the minors and work your way up, but what makes this mode different from any other sports game is the RPG style play to it. As you play, you get rewarded for doing good, and the points you get go towards upgrading different aspects of your player. There are also certain goals that you need to reach in a certain period of time. To help improve your player and reach these goals, you can take part in training sessions. These sessions help improve the stats of your character, and can really help you with your playing. It is like going to practice in real life.

Another great aspect about this mode is the possibility of being benched or traded. If you do not perform well, you will be benched, but if you perform well, you will play almost every game. While I was playing, I started off really bad, and was benched for a lot of games, but then I hit a hot streak and got a lot of playing time. I was traded once as well. Even though I did not want to be traded, I really liked the idea of being traded because it made me feel like a real player.

RTTS mode is one of the most addicting experiences I have had with a sports game. I always just want to play one more game to see if I can get my batting average up, or to see if I will get called up. It is a very satisfying experience.

They have also added some really great features to the online experience. The best feature is being able to play co-op with your friends. No longer do you have to play against your friends to be able to play online, but rather team up with them. You and your friend can play against the computer, against two other people, or against one other person. It is one of my favorite features in the game.

They now added a challenge of the week as well, which can score you some great prizes. You are given different challenges that you do online, and each challenge has a leaderboard. When the challenge is over and if you are the winner, you will receive signed MLB gear and many other great prizes. This makes for a very enticing feature to the franchise.

Another great feature they added was Move support to the Home Run Derby. The move works flawlessly with MLB 11: The Show. It is extremely responsive, and makes the derby even more fun to play. They have also added 3D support, which really puts you in the middle of the experience.

What Left A Bitter Taste

There is really nothing that I absolutely hated about this game, but there are a few things that disappointed me. The biggest disappointment for me was the franchise mode. I have sunk hours into the franchise mode, but it is starting to feel a little dated. I still have a great time with it, but it needs a face-lift. I also wish they added some more features to RTTS, but it is still an extremely addicting mode. There is also a bit of a learning curve with the controls, but after a little practice you will be fine.

Water Scale

MLB 11: The Show makes some nice improvements over its earlier installments, and continues to expand on its great roots. It not only has the great new features I mentioned earlier, but it also has some other improved and new features such as great weather effects, good commentating and an online XP feature. It is the best MLB game I have ever played, and if you love baseball, or sports games in general, then you need to get this game. MLB 11: The Show is the most solid and enjoyable baseball experience that can be found on consoles.

9.5/10

Publisher: Sony

Developer: San Diego Studios

Platform: Playstaton 3

Release Date: March 8, 2011

About Joshua Tompkins

  • nick

    wanted to get this, but too many games and not enough time!
    maybe in the drought season, but by the looks of it were not even going to get one of those this year!
    im gonna need a warehouse to store all my games!

  • http://www.gamesthirst.com Ernice Gilbert

    True. And by Josh’s review, it’s a must buy… I”m not into BB that much but darn it, I might get this.

  • nick

    i am, played it for 12 years as a kid.

  • http://www.gamesthirst.com Ernice Gilbert

    Oh wow. Nice.