"The Dynasty Continues"
When I wrote the preview for MLB 12: The Show a few weeks ago, I wondered how you could improve the immaculate. For San Diego Studios, the team behind the critically acclaimed franchise, it's a nice problem to have. The Show is not only considered the best baseball game released every year, it's one of the highest rated games across any platform and genre. How does this year's version stack up? Read on for the full GD review.
Those who have played the recent entries in the series will immediately feel right at home with MLB 12: The Show. The gameplay has largely remained unchanged, although there are new ways that you can play the game this year. First off, full PlayStation Move support has been added, expanding on the Home Run Derby support from last year. Players can now use the motion peripheral to control every aspect of the game. The more impactful changes are tweaks to the hitting and pitching mechanics.
At the plate, Zone Plus Analog Hitting allows you to control your swing with both control sticks. As usual, you control your stride and follow through with the right stick, while the left handles the position of your bat. It's definitely more difficult at the beginning, but it does give you more control than ever over your swing. There's a certain satisfaction with clubbing your first home run using the new system, and the real time feedback you get indicates where you've gone right or wrong. Of course, if you don't like Zone Plus, you can always switch back to the other swing mechanics used in previous games.
On the mound, Pulse Pitching has been introduced, which allows you to control the accuracy of your pitches with a new interactive timing mechanic. Once you select your pitch, a meter will start to pulsate on screen. You select the location, and the goal is to press the X button when the meter is at its smallest point. Pulse speed is determined by a few things, including the difficulty level and your pitcher's talent. The system works well, but overall, I found it a little intrusive. Maybe I've just become accustomed to the old mechanic, but the original system just feels "right" to me. Thankfully, you can change it to whatever system you wish to use in MLB 12: The Show.
Overall, MLB 12: The Show feels the exact same as it has in previous years, which is a good thing. There's no doubt that San Diego Studios has perfected the way a baseball game should be played. For hardcore baseball fans, the new ball physics engine is a godsend. The ball will now realistically react to everything on the field, including the way you swing. It's a little thing that casual players may not notice, but the hardcore fans are going to love this.
On the surface, MLB 12: The Show's presentation is very similar to last year. Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell, and Eric Karros return to the broadcast booth and provide the audio. They do a commendable job, nothing incredible, but they get the job done. Visually, the game looks great, and it's been aided by the new Tru Broadcast Presentation, which gets us the closest we've ever been to a replication of a real major league broadcast. When playing the game, try not to hit the X button to advance through all the camera cuts, and you'll get a greater visual experience.
The standard game modes are back this year, with one addition: Diamond Dynasty. If you've played EA's Ultimate Team in Madden, NHL or FIFA, MLB 12: The Show's Diamond Dynasty will feel very familiar. You build a team with cards of established MLB players and generated dynasty players. You can trade and sell cards with other players online, while playing games with your team to rise up the leaderboards. The best part of the mode is the incredible level of customization with the team uniforms and logos. You can create anything from scratch to make your team look exactly the way you want them too. You can also edit everything about the dynasty players, which just adds another layer of customization to the mode. It's a lot of fun, and I'm sure that it's really only the tip of the iceberg for Diamond Dynasty.
Lastly, if you are willing to purchase the game for both your PS3 and your brand new PS Vita, you'll get a nice reward. Cross platform saves have been introduced, allowing you to take your franchise or Road to the Show with you on the go, after uploading it to the cloud. Expect many other games to take advantage of this going forward.
All told, MLB 12: The Show is a very good game. The series has only added minor tweaks this year, but with such a good base, it's tough to argue with that decision. Diamond Dynasty is a great idea that will get better as the series goes on, and the PS Vita functionality is very cool if you've got both systems. If you're a PS3 owner, MLB 12: The Show is the definitive baseball experience on the system, and a definite upgrade over last year's edition. If you're a baseball fan, make sure you go out and add it to your library.
GameDynamo's Score for MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita)
A lifelong Nintendo fan and sports junkie, Adam is from Toronto and a proud Canadian. If he's not writing or playing games, you can probably find him on the golf course.
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