MLB 15 The Show Review: Being Greater
Chad Whitney / Jul 13th, 2015 No Comments
With the NBA season completed and NFL Training Camps still a few weeks away, Major League Baseball has taken center stage, so what better time to take a look at MLB 15 The Show.
Over the past few years, Sony’s San Diego Studio has continued to improve on the critically acclaimed PlayStation exclusive. Although last season’s version of The Show made the transition from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4 look easy, the game still felt like a PS3 game with some polish. In an effort to solidify a reputation as the pinnacle of sports simulations, significant improvements have been made for MLB 15 The Show.
Beauty AND Personality?
In terms of graphics, MLB 15 The Show takes the franchise to another level. New to this year’s installment are seasonal sun and shadows. The game uses real-life satellite data from Google Earth to accurately position the sun, creating realistic, dynamic lighting and shadows throughout games and seasons.
The atmosphere of stadiums really benefits from this advanced feature. For instance, Wrigley Field is filled with optimistic fans and bare, brick walls in April, but by the end of July, the ivy on the brick walls is in full bloom. Depending on the Cubs performance, the atmosphere can range from a sold-out stadium of upbeat fans to a somewhat occupied park accommodating disgruntled viewers. As the sun sets on an afternoon game, the fans may experience a full emotional swing in the midst of blowout or shutout.
Regardless of wins and losses, seasons of Road to the Show (RttS) and Franchise mode can drag on, so that atmospheric diversity helps make the grind a little more bearable. There has also been more than 700 new gameplay animations added to the game, including about 70 new situational third out animations. When a shortstop makes a diving stop and throws the runner out at first to get out of a late-inning jam, players on the field and in the dugout will display varying emotions. That’s not to say animations aren’t still occasionally repetitive. However, there is certainly more replay value when it comes to the short cutscenes.
Play Your Way
Developers added 90 new personal batting stances and 50 new personal pitching motions to the already substantial amount returning from MLB 14. Fans of RttS will be pleased that they can customize players using these new personalizations, along with new gear. From Rawlings to Wilson to Under Armour, players can be fitted with a large selection of licensed equipment.
This equipment can be acquired through universal rewards, a new system that gives gamers cards just for playing the game. Along with new equipment, players can unlock MLB players and stadiums, eventually unlocking a legendary player from each team. Though most of these cards can be used in every mode, the primary purpose is for the game’s revamped Diamond Dynasty mode.
The complicated mode once based on creating teams from randomly generated players is now a mode that is similar to EA’s Ultimate Team and NBA 2K’s MyTeam. Players build teams around a team captain using cards and are given generic players to fill the team. Of course, these teams can be used in head-to-head online matches. Each MLB team has a set of cards that, once collected, unlock a team specific legend. For instance, collecting all of Houston Astros cards unlocks Jeff Bagwell. Once unlocked, these players can also be used in most other game modes, including franchise mode. Along with the addition of playable legends, Franchise mode has greatly improved. There is far more depth than in years past.
While Madden has yet to revive its popular radio show, MLB 15 The Show has added “Inside the Show.” The news broadcast provides updates from the previous day around the league and updated standings. It’s always nice to hear about trades and hot streaks. Not only does it add to the realism, but it makes it easier to keep track of the season.
MLB 15 The Show once again sets the bar for sports games. There is so much detail and depth. It’s not perfect, but developers continue to show that they will put an effort into improving the game every year. Baseball is all about the little things, and even the most insignificant detail has been addressed, giving the game a more complete feel. New animations help keep the presentation fresh.
Baseball may not be as flashy as basketball or football, but for fans of the sport, MLB 15 The Show is the complete simulation experience. It’s easy to consider MLB 15 an exceptional game based on its reputation. However, the vast depth and improvements can’t be overlooked.
MLB 15 The Show is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, and it recently received a price drop to $40.
MLB 15 The Show was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy of the game provided by the publisher.
tags: baseball , MLB 15 The Show Review , MLB 15: The Show , mlb the show , review