It is springtime again and that means the return of America’s past time, baseball. Baseball is a sport that involves a great deal of mental strength, stamina and athleticism. Sony’s San Diego studio has been taking on the task of capturing all of these aspects of the sport and putting them into game form. For the most part, they have been extremely successful at creating a realistic game that represents the true nature of the sport. This year’s installment follows this mark of excellence and in many ways, surpasses it.
They have made some notable improvements to the graphics and character animations. The graphics are not a huge leap from the last installment, but you can definitely see a crisper, smoother look to the game. The characters are better detailed and so are the major league stadiums, but the minor league stadiums are just as generic as before, which is a bit of a disappointment.
The new animations that they added make the game so much more fluid and realistic. The characters move like their real life counterparts now. The once jerky motion of the character fielding a groundball and going through the throwing motion is now very smooth and life like. The same can be said for hitting, pitching and running. It all has a more realistic feel to it.
Not only are the animations very smooth, there are plenty of them. The developers added many new animations that add to the realism. In last years installment, the same animation while running, hitting and fielding who happen over and over, and became annoying. With MLB 12, I have played for many hours and rarely see the same animation repeated, except when running the bases where animations repeat often.
The sound design has seen a great improvement in the game. The sound of the pop of a baseball coming off of a wooden bat has never sounded so realistic in a game. They put a lot effort in making sure that the sound you hear of the ball coming off the bat depends on where the ball hits. You can really tell when you get a hold of a pitch because there will be a nice pop sound of the ball hitting the bat. When you get jammed and break the bat, you can hear the wood crack as the ball hits it. They made the sound of the ball hitting the glove better as well, which just adds to the realism of the game.
The commentators from past games return to The Show with some new and old lines. For a sports game, the commentating in this game is much better than others. They do not get as annoying as most games, but after a while, you may just feel like muting them and listening to the sounds of the game. They will begin to repeat what they say, but for the most part, the commentating is okay.
MLB 12: The Show really shines in how realistic the game plays. The game boast many different skill levels for those who have played the games before and those who are new to the series. One complaint I had from the last game was that the last skill setting still presented a challenge to people, but they have improved a lot on this, while still keeping a since of realism.
They have added a new pitching mechanic that his hit or miss. It is strange because I will feel like I timed it perfectly, but the pitch will be way off, and when I think my timing is off, the pitch will be perfect. It just did not always add up. They also made some tweaks to the hitting that made it a more enjoyable experience. You can still guess where the pitch will be and what pitch it is, but you can also use a new zone to help you make better contact with the ball. This will help you decide where you will hit the ball, on top, bottom and other areas, which gives a more accurate indicator of how well you hit the ball.
For those who love playing with the Move controller, San Diego studio has added full move support. Last year, Move support was added to the game, but you could only use it in the home run derby. It was fun and worked great, but I wanted more and this year, they have given me more. The controls work great and are perfect for the motion controller fans. They even added little touches such as the batters hands moving with yours, which add to the overall experience.
The same great modes return from previous additions along with some improvements and a new one all together. The road to the show is as addicting as ever. It never gets old taking your player from nothing to star. The most notable addition to the game is the Diamond Dynasty mode. In this mode, you are able to create your own team with its own colors and logo (which the game gives 1000 layers to create the logo). You then choose from different baseball cards, Dynasty and MLB, and each of these card types have their own positives and negatives. Dynasty cards are for players that you want to help mature and grow into a Dynasty player, and MLB players are great short term investments for your team and allow you to fill your spots where needed. It is important to balance between the two. Dynasty players are your future, but you need MLB players to help you succeed at that moment. Also, by using MLB players, you give yourself more money and resources to improve your Dynasty players. Once you are ready, you can take your team online and play against others. It is a fun and deep new mode.
Online play returns and while it is an improvement from last year, the games can still be very laggy at times. It becomes annoying when you cannot hit the ball because there is too much lag. It has been this way for the past few installments, which is kind of annoying. When the game is not laggy, it is really fun to play online.
MLB 12: The Show improves on past installments in many ways. They have worked hard at making it the most realistic and authentic baseball game on the market. Even though there are still some problems with the online and a few graphical problems, it is one of the best sports games on the market, and the best baseball game.
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