A whole new ball game
Sony has been quietly dominating the baseball gaming for more than a decade with the MLB The Show series. And now that 2K Sports has ended its MLB franchise, MLB 14 The Show will go unchallenged as the digital purveyor of baseball. But that doesn't mean its developers are taking it easy this season. Instead the Sony-exclusive is expanding to the next generation.
We recently got to see MLB 14 The Show in action on both the PS4 and PS3. Maybe it was seeing them side-by-side, but the game was one of the best looking PS4 titles weve seen to date. Even if you dont care about playing as pitcher or catcher, you have to give the game credit for its incredible facial hair.
It almost looks better than real baseball
The Show has always had a reputation for looking good, but seeing the PS3 and PS4 versions together showcased just how advanced the game is on Sonys next system. You can count the hairs on the scraggly pitchers face, or you can stare at the realistic wood panelling on the scoreboard. The grass on the field has its own physics, and the people in the crowd are more varied than ever, with a polygon count equivalent to that of the PS3 version's actual player models. And it all runs in a glorious 1080p. From a visual standpoint the team is really pushing the game forward, but hows it all play?
Games play out in a much faster pace
The big emphasis on this year's ball game: significantly faster pacing. The developers recognize that playing a single game of The Show sometimes took as long as an hour, thanks to its emphasis on simulation, which is far longer than similar football and basketball games take. MLB 14 adds the ability to enable quick counts for all of its game modes, meaning you might start a batting session with a simulated number of balls and strikes so you don't have to wait through an entire pitching sessions. A lot of unnecessary presentational, like random scenes of players stretching in the field, has also been trimmed to speed things along. Looking for a super quick game? Just use the altered Road to the Show mode, where you play as a single team member for an exhibition game, which is said to make a game last around 10 minutes--a breakneck pace for the often leisurely sport.
Version equality is their goal
Even if they look so very different, the PS3 and PS4 versions share all the same features and modes. Without naming names, the devs brought up that many next-gen sports games lack some of the content included in last-gen counterparts. MLB 14 The Show aims to have feature parity across all versions, meaning players wont have to choose between graphics and features. Its a nice ideal to aim for, but it should be noted that the PS4 version is coming out in May while the PS3 and Vita versions are in April, so the similarities come at some cost.
Saves will carry over to future additions to the series
Speaking of how The Show stands out from other official sports titles, the devs were pretty open about MLB 14 working with future annual releases for the series. Saves from the PS4 version of this entry will transfer over to 2015's update, bringing over your season mode info and similar data to 14s successor. The PS4 edition also aims to use the touch pad, controller speaker, and Vita cross saves abilities in special ways, but they arent exactly sure how just yet.
They arent talking about everything yet
The game wont be entering the batters box for a few months, and it looks like the devs are working down to the wire on getting it out on time. So theyre keeping a few details secret, including what appeared to be microtransactions within the game. While the developers wouldnt say exactly what players could buy within the game, they assured us that fans will be able to play 14 just the same as they played 13. The in-game spending has to do with some secret feature they arent ready to talk about yet, but in the current gaming climate, its hard not to treat microtransactions with some amount of trepidation.
Its hard to deny the game looks good, but with baseball fans be able to resist picking up the game when it launches first on current gen? And will PS4 owners pick this up just to see the righteous beards in 1080p action? Let us know what you think in the comments!