Like your smokin’ 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’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 “hurts” or “hurts so good” depends upon your patience and dedication.
It should come as no surprise that The Show is the best-looking sports game we’ve ever played, since last year’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 – no small feat considering the ridiculously complicated physics it must take to make that happen.
There’s so much attention to detail you’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’s jarring when the inevitable “hey, five people in the crowd are wearing the same shirt and doing the exact same thing” happens; even then, you’ll notice it’s still a heckuva cool-looking audience.
The Show is so gorgeous, so tempting, so…..freakin’ hot that it’s almost a sin how tough it is to win games consistently. Hitting doesn’t seem quite so punishing as last season, but it’s still the most intense 27 outs you’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’s incredibly realistic – which may be too much for some.
Pitching, fielding, and baserunning come easier, but The Show plays a mean game against you whether it’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 “WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!”, 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’s boss. Yet we loved every inning of it and won’t stop ‘til we’ve had our hearts broken into October.
In the spirit of your favorite old-school fighting games, MLB 10 The Show is spectacular – and spectacularly mean. For us, it hurts so good.
Mar 15, 2010