Thursday, May 31, 2007

VG review: MLB 07 The Show

Sony, for PlayStation 3

rated E for Everyone, $59.99.

I tend not to review sports video games too often, because the difference between yearly iterations of a popular sport, be it basketball or baseball, tend to be minimal. At a certain point as a reviewer you’re just ticking off a list of superficial alterations and not really critiquing the product.

“MLB 07 The Show” is a bit different, though, as it’s the first big sports franchise game for Sony’s new next-generation console, the PlayStation 3.

The fact that it was developed in-house makes it noteworthy. Would the developers be able to take full advantage of the PS3’s abilities and create a baseball game that mimicked the real thing?

Well, apparently not. Or at least not yet. “MLB 07” is a decent baseball sim, but it doesn’t offer enough thrills to distinguish it from any of the other baseball games out in stores right now.

In terms of graphics, “MLB” is a mixed blessing. The stadiums and backgrounds are nicely detailed, but the players, while their movements seem realistic, look wooden and artificial. That, plus some choppy moments (batters suddenly vanishing after striking out for instance) make you question how “next-gen” this game actually is.

The game offers the usual assortment of features that just about every sports game under the sun does. You can play a full season or just one game, manage the team or create a player from scratch and follow his career in the majors. The latter feature, titled “Road to Show,” is well done and probably the best part of the game.

The game attempts to make use of the PS3’s Sixaxis controls, letting you tilt it to the left or right to slide inside or outside of the bases, but honestly, the addition feels like an awkward afterthought.

You can also go online to compete with other players, though good luck actually getting to finish a game. Every match I attempted quickly stalled out because of a lost Internet connection, a problem that was mentioned frequently on the game’s online message board.

“MLB 07 The Show” is solid enough to entertain baseball fans, but not much else. It seems more like the latest iteration of yet another sports game than the next-generation leap forward that no doubt many hoped it would be.

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007



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