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MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita) Review

/ Jun 13th, 2012 No Comments

MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita)

MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita)

MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita)

MLB 12: The Show is the latest addition to Sony’s classic, long-running MLB franchise. Though the console versions have had handheld counterparts since the series began in ’06, MLB 12: The Show is the first to utilize the PS Vita‘s highly touted cross-platform functionality. It’s an absolute must-have for die hard baseball gamers on the go.

Gameplay

The beauty of MLB: The Show’s gameplay throughout the years has been its appeal to both the casual baseball sim fan and the dedicated aficionados. No matter which of the 3 modes you play in (beginner, experienced, expert), the physics are great and the AI is nearly flawless. Newly introduced pulse pitching and zone analog batting systems add a bit more depth to the standard timed button-presses. Pulse pitching replaces the pitching meter of yore with a circular pulse, where stopping the pulse at its smallest ensures a most accurate throw. Touch controls are enabled for the pulse pitching system on the Vita, which makes it decidedly easier to time than its PS3 counterpart. Zone batting allows you to specify a zone in which to focus your swing based on your observations of the pitcher. This is definitely a feature that will cater to the more dedicated player, and it’s standard fare in expert mode. Sony did a fairly good job in integrating touch controls with MLB 12: The Show. Menu navigation and pitch selection can be done via the Vita’s touch screen, while the rear touch pad can be used for fielding and baserunning (when enabled). However, touch isn’t a critical feature of the game and it still feels a bit gimmicky.

Graphics and Visuals

MLB 12 for PS Vita

MLB 12 for PS Vita

It’s probably not a stretch to say that MLB 12: The Show is the best looking portable baseball sim to date. It’s also probably not that much of a surprise, given the Vita is the most capable (hardware-wise) portable gaming device… for now. While it doesn’t quite match up to its PS3 equivalent, the Vita variant holds its own very nicely. The animations are fluid and look great, but some can lack the finer details seen on the PS3 version. While TruBroadcast presentations are absent from the Vita release, changing all camera selections to “broadcast” definitely adds to the feel of watching a live sportscast.

Sound

MLB 12: The Show’s title screen soundtrack is pretty excellent with songs from Atmosphere, The Black Keys, The Mars Volta and more. Additionally, a lot of care was taken with crafting the in-game commentary. While it can get repetitive after multiple playthroughs, the play-by-play is pretty spot on and entertaining. I even went so far as to test how high the commentator would count hit-by-pitches (in the midst of a frustrating game vs. the Blue Jays). That number is seven in a row. Even pretty minor things like dynamic crowd cheers add a great amount of drama to the game. I was down 2-4 in the bottom of the ninth and I doubled down on my home run ambitions. By my 2nd home run of the inning, and the 1st out, the crowd was going wild. It actually pumped me up, even though I subsequently tied the inning. Took it home in the 10th, 5-4, in case you were wondering. The game’s soundtrack, commentary, and sound effects all come together to create the perfect atmosphere that’s just one step away from actually being at the ballpark.

Multiplayer

MLB for Vita - Screenshot

MLB for Vita - Screenshot

Online play is one area in which MLB 12: The Show is lacking. The touch controls are disabled for online play, which I assume is to require less data to travel over the internet. However, that doesn’t seem to help much as the game tends to stutter and be pretty choppy overall. It’s not so bad that its unplayable, and a patch down the road could likely fix the issues.

Overall

Unlike a lot of the previous console-to-handheld ports, MLB 12: The Show for PS Vita retains many of the great new features of its PS3 brethren. While the TruBroadcast and Dynamic Dynasty modes of the PS3 didn’t make their way over to the PS Vita, pretty much everything else stays in-tact. The graphics and sound combine to create the perfect atmosphere for one of the most exciting baseball experiences you can have on-the-go. Cross-platform functionality with the PS3 is a great feature that allows you to take your season, franchise, or road to the show campaigns with you wherever you travel. However, it requires you to buy two copies of the game (one for each platform) and I don’t see this being practical nor desirable for most gamers. All-in-all MLB 12: The Show is an excellent baseball sim that translates beautifully to the small screen.

Overall Ratings – MLB 12: The Show (PS Vita)

Gameplay:

9/10

Graphics:

8/10

Sound:

9/10

Multiplayer:

6/10

OVERALL SCORE:

80%

Joe Van Fossen

Joe Van Fossen

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Joe Van Fossen is an avid gamer, film nerd, and unabashed gadget geek. When he's not playing games, watching movies or gadgeteering, he's writing about it (or he's off playing music in some seedy bar somewhere in L.A. or Orange County).
Joe Van Fossen

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