Even so, a bevy of solid options awaits. We love the ability to choose to play a full franchise – with the dizzying array of front office decisions to make, including things well outside a typical baseball experience – or just a season, which is focused exclusively on what happens on the field. The only mode from the PS3 that didn’t make it over is the Diamond Dynasty, which isn’t something we’ve fallen all over ourselves to play anyway.
Road To The Show is always a highlight, and it’s a major part of the Vita experience. The biggest -- and only -- difference this year is the fact that you start off as a highly touted player, so you don’t have to necessarily spend as much time in the low minors proving your stuff. This is a welcome addition, especially because the rest of the mode is essentially the same as it has been for years. Each few weeks you’re given two attributes to increase via training points while being assigned two specific tasks to accomplish. While getting the skills to the needed levels is easy (all you need to do is hoard the training points just for those targets), sometimes the tasks are impossible. At one point, our AAA-level starting pitcher needed to have a .300 Slugging Percentage for 3 weeks – and he doesn’t ever take an at bat. These are rarities, of course, but serve as an aggravation when you’re trying to become a superstar.
The biggest disappointment, though, is the sloppy online play. Disconnections are rampant, and on the rare occasions when we did get in a full game, the action on the field had a tendency to chug; sometimes badly. Even when the status was “green”, lag caused every pitch and at-bat to be an adventure. It becomes more of a guessing game than anything else, which ultimately renders the entire online mode useless. For a handheld that’s so built around multiplayer experiences, that’s a big negative – and if online is a big part of what you’re looking for, think twice before picking this up.
While we were hoping to be utterly blown away by The Show -- and weren’t -- there’s still plenty to like about its debut on the Vita. The most important core aspects of the game are intact, and the ability to share the experience between Vita and PS3 is wonderful. It's impossible to overlook its shortcomings -- it looks like a slightly up-res'ed PSP game, the analog controls aren't so precise, and if you're looking for online games, curb your enthusiasm -- but it's still a sound game at its roots. For the right players in the right situation, though, The Show gives you a lot of great baseball in the palm of your hand.