Back in the day, Sony’s MLB series had some hardball competition from EA’s Triple Play franchise. To stay ahead of 2K’s MLB series, Sony has spent the last 3 years refining its long running slugger into latest effort, MLB 08 The Show. While Sony is sticking to its formula of great-playing baseball and further deepening its innovative Road to the Show mode, the preview build looks like it may have what it takes to get the call up to the Bigs.
As sure as ARod loves blonde strippers, MLB 08 has a ton of the expected updates, gameplay tweaks and depth, but there’s more to the new content than your typical obligatory sports game roster revision. The MLB team has fine-tuned the Road to the Show mode again, this time giving your created player the ability to play a more dynamic defensive game (you have more pre-play movement based on the hitter you’re facing). Also, the new Progressive Batting Performance feature gives rewards and dings for your batting performance similar to the way last year’s Pitch Command System tweak rewarded your pitch picks.
After taking several rooks up to triple A, it’s obvious the pitcher/batter duel has received more elbow grease as we immediately noticed the AI changing up their attack based on count and what kind of pitches we took a swing at. Speaking of batting, it looks like the Sony team has been fiddling with MoCap; there’s a ton of new subtle but noticeable pre-batting rituals and character animations that stand out from last year’s somewhat lackluster-looking game (we just hope Nomar Garciaparra’s protracted pre-slugging ceremony is condensed for times sake).
There’s also a reinvigorated stat system that will have the sabermetric fans in the crowd sharpening their virtual pencils. There’s a scorebook in the Career modes that stores a ton of data in box scores dating back to your first game that you can use to see how you fared against a particular pitcher or team in preparation for a big game.