Sony Computer EntertainmentDeveloped By:
SCEA San DiegoGenre:
E (Everyone)Release Date:
March 4, 2008Screenshots: LinkAmazon: Buy Now!Written By:
When MLB08: The Show was first announced, I found myself eagerly awaiting a chance to get my hands on the latest installment with their MLB franchise. For those who have played MLB07: The Show know that SCEA San Diego put together one of baseball's best gaming experiences to grace the next generation consoles. The game had a few issues here and there; the game was an overall success story and an example of how a sports game, let alone a baseball game, should be done. With MLB08: The Show, SCEA San Diego is looking make another memorable baseball experience by addressing a few issues and adding even more depth to the franchise. So how well did they do? Lets find out...
For those coming off of MLB07: The Show, you will immediate notices improvements within several areas of the gameplay mechanics. One obvious enhancement came in the realm of the pitching dynamic. While already having a pretty solid pitch mechanic, San Diego wanted gamers to truly be within the role of a baseball player by inputting tweaks here and there, thus making the player guess whether itís worth taking a swing at the ball or not. In 08, if you happen to guess the correct type of pitching being thrown and its destination spot, the outer strike zone will flash red (as oppose a specific spot like in 07), giving you the general area of where the ball is heading. As I mentioned before, you still will have to determine whether the pitch is worth cracking, or letting it pass you by. Though a subtle enhancement, it adds to the overall challenge that a baseball gives off.
There are also improvements within the computer A.I. dynamic, which adds to realism and almost perfectly depict actual real-life baseball game events. Now the outfield position players have a greater consistency rate of throwing the ball to the correct base in hopes of cutting off the scoring runner or getting them out. You now have the ability to catch homerun-bound balls, stealing the joy from your opponents. This is done by positioning your player by the back wall and timing your jump with the arrival speed of the ball.
For those baseball enthusiasts, Season and franchise mode is where you will spend most of your time. Besides having the option of playing through a full 162-game season (or shorter), you also have the ability to trade players, customize roster lineups and even shop the post-season amateur draft for potential talent for your respective team. All in all, more creative control is given to the player as oppose to the MLB07 outing.
MLB07: The Show proved to be superior in visuals when it was compared to MLB2K7, and the same is true with MLB08: The Show. Each and every player on the field boasts realistic mannerism, which is in part to San Diego revamping the character profiles, while supporting the High definition resolution of 720p. Players dive for the ball, bounce off one another, take stiff soldiers from player's stealing bases, getting down and dirty... and all present in a realistic manner. For the most part, animations are very fluid, but there are a few instances when animation transitions are bit sluggish. An example of this would when a short stop goes down to pick up a ground ball and the animation from grabbing to throwing takes a few seconds to process. This rarely happen when playing the game, but it's obvious when it occurs. Stadiums are highly detailed, looking like virtual representations of their real-life counterpart.
The musical score of MLB08: The Show is very unique because you play any song within the game or stored on your hard drive through the in-game jukebox. You can customize playlists of various songs to play during the games and even for the game menus. Whether or not you decide to customize the music roster of MLB08, you still have a well diverse and solid roster of tracks that fit all mood points of a baseball game.
Just like basketball, football and soccer games, baseballs games are meant to take quite some time to play through, which adds to the longevity of the title and the experience. Whenever you want to beat a friend in a quick match you have that option. However, for those looking to make a name for themselves will tackle the season and franchise modes.
But not stopping there, there is also a solid online experience through the PlayStation Network. With more than a dozen ventures online, the online experience is pretty solid and enjoyable. Whether you are competing in online league contest or just looking for someone to beat, there is a high level of variety, which goes hand and hand with the game's depth. However, there are those moments when there is lag, which will create awkward in-game moments. These moments range from wild swings to odd-animations quirks.
Is MLB08: The Show the best baseball game experience, deserving of a perfect score, which would be a no. Is it a solid gaming experience that's enjoyable by all whom like baseball and far superior to its competition... that would be a yes? SCEA San Diego took extra time to address several issues from last year's installment making the overall experience more enjoyable, but the game still suffered from a few flaws within the gameplay mechanics and visuals. Those gamers looking for a featured-filled baseball experience, with a solid audio score and high def visuals, look no further than Sony's MLB08: The Show.8.3/
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