Like your smokin%26rsquo; hot yet tragically bipolar ex-girlfriend, MLB 10 The Show will seduce you one minute only to kick you in the groin the next. Sony%26rsquo;s first-party hardball gem is a feast for the eyes and playground for the baseball-obsessed, yet delights in torturing you. Whether or not that translates into %26ldquo;hurts%26rdquo; or %26ldquo;hurts so good%26rdquo; depends upon your patience and dedication.
It should come as no surprise that The Show is the best-looking sports game we%26rsquo;ve ever played, since last year%26rsquo;s title held that distinction until now. The players burst to life, from spot-on faces to lifelike motions, while the baseball in play behaves exactly as you would expect one to in real life %26ndash; no small feat considering the ridiculously complicated physics it must take to make that happen.
There%26rsquo;s so much attention to detail you%26rsquo;re almost spoiled. Shadows move across the field over the course of an afternoon, changing the batting perspective ever-so-sweetly from the brilliant sun of the first inning to the twilight of the seventh inning stretch. Dynamic scoreboards at Fenway and Wrigley are a beautiful touch, even including correct out-of-town scores. There are so many lovely little moments that it%26rsquo;s jarring when the inevitable %26ldquo;hey, five people in the crowd are wearing the same shirt and doing the exact same thing%26rdquo; happens; even then, you%26rsquo;ll notice it%26rsquo;s still a heckuva cool-looking audience.
The Show is so gorgeous, so tempting, so%26hellip;..freakin%26rsquo; hot that it%26rsquo;s almost a sin how tough it is to win games consistently. Hitting doesn%26rsquo;t seem quite so punishing as last season, but it%26rsquo;s still the most intense 27 outs you%26rsquo;ve ever sweated through. To succeed at the plate, you must be disciplined and stick to your guns every at-bat; getting sloppy or impatient will get you sent back to the dugout in a hurry. Even good contact is often rewarded with a line-drive out or warning-track fly ball. In other words, it%26rsquo;s incredibly realistic %26ndash; which may be too much for some.
Pitching, fielding, and baserunning come easier, but The Show plays a mean game against you whether it%26rsquo;s an exhibition, season, franchise, or Road To The Show. In our first 10 games of a season with the Mets (yes, yes, we know, they stink) we lost each game every conceivable way. We were shut out, lost with failed late-inning rallies, and had three sure-fire victories turn into losses via blown saves. Yet the games were so good, so intense, that we kept on coming back for more. Screaming %26ldquo;WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!%26rdquo;, we wound up finally putting together a (gasp!) two-game winning streak before The Show beat us down a few more times to remind us who%26rsquo;s boss. Yet we loved every inning of it and won%26rsquo;t stop %26lsquo;til we%26rsquo;ve had our hearts broken into October.
In the spirit of your favorite old-school fighting games, MLB 10 The Show is spectacular %26ndash; and spectacularly mean. For us, it hurts so good.
Mar 15, 2010