MLB 12 The Show Review (PS Vita)
Handheld gaming has never been a viable source for sports gaming. Numerous iterations of Madden has tried and failed on many of the platforms, from the old school Gameboy to the recent 3DS. To many, sports gaming has been nonexistent on handhelds for years.
Now, everything has changed.
With the release of MLB: The Show 12 on the Playstation Vita, gamers now have a source of entertainment to take with them on road trips that closely matches a game's console counterpart. By playing almost exactly like the brother version on the PS3, The Show has exceeded the expectations it was forced to bear.
The game is dang near identical to the PS3 version. Hitting and pitching are like your classic baseball controls, but what really caught my eye was the fielding. The fluid-like motions outfielders showcase when trying to throw out that base runner looks beautiful. And the ratings really matter, depending on who threw the ball. For example, I’m a Mariners fan; Ichiro may be on the wrong side of 30 nowadays, but he still has his laser-rocket arm that flies across the field. But when the ball is hit to the opposite side, Trayvon Robinson can barely make it to second base without bouncing. Props to SCEA for this.
The big gameplay improvement, or at least what SCEA has made us believe, is the Pulse Pitching. Sure, it’s somewhat innovative, but if you have ever played a baseball game on your iPhone or iPad this won’t feel too special. Still, the mechanic is another way to keep you immersed in the game, which is always a good thing.
Once again, the new animations are pretty impressive. Everything looks better than last year’s PS3 version. It really shows how impressive the graphics on the Vita can be.
However, no game is perfect and there will be clear cons, regardless of how great it is. After trying each difficulty setting I noticed one problem: there are way too many home runs. In a game between the M’s and A’s, there was a combined 11 homers on All-Star. That should not be happening, let alone with two of the worst offenses in the majors (unless there is a 60mph gale out to dead center of course).
And last but not least, the issue of commentating has reared its ugly head in this version of The Show 12. The series has known for its insanely boring commentary, and with the handheld releases nothing is different. You’re better off just listening to your iPod.
If you love franchise mode, then you’ll love this game. The Show has always had one of the better, more refined franchise modes in sports gaming. Porting it over to the Vita worked perfectly, allowing you to have the same experience on a 5-inch screen rather than a 42-inch TV.
Also, Road to the Show, the staple for My Player modes, is just as fun as it has ever been. You begin as a starter on the AA affiliate of your team, and then you slowly work your way up to the majors. No major changes at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. One issue, though, with RttS that I encountered multiple times was a freezing issue. While loading up my game, the screen would just stand still and I’d have to reboot the cartridge.
But what makes these modes on the Vita so great is the fact that you can use the Cloud services to transfer your franchise and RttS saves back and forth between your PS3 and Vita. Everything from your records, stats and rosters will be imported on the system of your choosing.
Like I’ve stated over and over again, the Vita is a great system. The little thing is brilliant. Now what happens when you put a brilliant game on a brilliant system? You get an extremely enjoyable MLB: The Show 12. Yes there are flaws, but nothing to the extent that should drive you away from purchasing this game.
Between the gameplay, graphics and cloud capabilities, The Show 12 has surpassed any sort of expectations a sports game could have on a handheld.
Graphics: Looks like I’m playing a mini PS3.
Sound: Commentary will bore you to death, but the soundtrack is surprisingly OK.
Controls: If you’ve played a baseball game before, you’ll be fine.
Learning Curve: Pick-up-and-play game, but the more you practice, you can become god-like.
Entertainment Value: Very high with the ability to switch between the Vita and PS3.
Score: 8 (Great)