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MLB 12: The Show
Platform: PlayStation 3
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
Developer: SCE San Diego Studio
Synopsis: After a productive off-season, Sony's critically acclaimed baseball sim heads into spring training in the best shape of its life thanks to a focus on more realistic presentation and physics, new and improved game modes, cross-platform support, and full PlayStation Move integration in MLB 12: The Show. The new "TruBroadcast" feature makes a point of focusing on player reactions, the in-game commentary now includes more season-specific discussions, and a completely revamped baseball physics engine results in more realistic bounces and bloops than ever before. MLB 12's "Franchise" mode has been tweaked to produce more plausible trade scenarios, so rebuilding teams will be more likely to acquire prospects while contenders will seek impact veterans. Draft-eligible position players now reflect traditional baseball archetypes, such as a slugging first baseman or an all-glove shortstop, while computer-generated pitchers now have more realistic pitch repertoires -- no more power pitchers who also throw baffling knuckleballs. New minor adjustments include customized "Play Now" matches and settings that remain fixed across all modes. The biggest addition in MLB 12: The Show is the "Diamond Dynasty" mode, which allows gamers to manage their own custom online team, recruit star players, and take on other custom online teams to earn development points. PlayStation Move controls have been fully integrated in MLB 12, allowing players to pitch, run, field, and hit using their Move Motion Controller across all game modes. And gamers on the go can now cloud save their "Franchise," "Season," and "Road to the Show" data, then access it and continue playing from either their PS3 or PlayStation Vita. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 8-page Instruction Manual
Sony's MLB series has been steadily improving since its debut on PlayStation 3, which is impressive since the bar has been set rather high with its presentation and gameplay. The developers obviously are passionate about baseball, and it shows on the field with an attention to detail that few sports games are able to match. MLB 12 continues the improvements to the game on the field, though many of this year's changes to the hitting and pitching mechanics are questionably implemented. If you are still enjoying MLB 11, you might consider sitting this one out, as there aren't many new features worth the asking price for those who aren't die-hard fans. The changes to the pitching and hitting interface are quite strange. New to MLB 12 is a mechanic called pulse pitching that adds an element of variability to executing a pitch. Now instead of just selecting a pitch and aiming a cursor over the plate, allowing the pitcher's real-life abilities to determine its overall effectiveness, you have to time your pitches to a cursor that shrinks a bit before swelling up to its original size. The idea is to tap the button as the cursor reaches its smallest point, which is tricky since the size variance isn't dramatic at all; you don't, for instance, start with a giant circle and end up with a tiny one. It's a more subtle change. The constant throbbing of this cursor is also enough to make players wonder about the epilepsy warning displayed at the start of the game. The blinking is frequent enough to at least make you nervous, which is perhaps what the developers were trying to convey. Hitting has an added mechanic as well, which is also executed in bizarre fashion. Instead of using the analog stick to time the pitch as it crosses the plate, you now have to manipulate a cursor that will influence the ball's direction. It's a technique used in several previous baseball games, but here the cursor is an ugly yellow-green blob, which is distracting. It's also extremely difficult to master, but it does give you more control over where your hits end up, providing you make contact. Both the hitting and pitching changes are entirely optional, so if they aren't working out for you, you can revert back to the original control schemes. Your enjoyment of the game isn't necessarily dependent on how well you take to the changes at the plate and on the mound, either: the on-field action is much improved over previous games due to the striking changes to the visuals and ball physics. Fielders offer a staggering amount of diverse, lifelike animations, and the camera work is the closest yet to a television broadcast. The visuals are so impressive that you can view MLB 12 in demo mode and feel like you're watching a real exhibition game. The rest of the changes essentially smooth over and refine what has worked in previous games, with only one completely new online mode. The Diamond Dynasty option has you building a team out of decks of cards in a similar fashion to the Ultimate Team modes in Electronic Arts' sports titles. It's a nice change of pace, but if you could care less about online play, there's no offline equivalent. On paper, MLB 12 looks rather sketchy in terms of enhanced features. Yet once you start playing the game, the improvements to the visuals, animations, and "feel" of the action, from the first pitch to the last, make it one of the best looking and playing baseball games released to date. ~ All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.