Nothing can help end the winter doldrums quite like two things: the phrase "pitchers and catchers report" and information on the latest edition of MLB: The Show.
We got both of those this week, as well as another winter storm here in the Northeast. The disappointing delay of both versions of MLB 14:The Show, along with never-ending snow make it seem as if Spring will never get here.
While we wait, here are some of my quick reactions as I perused the information released today:
- Yes, the May release of the PS4 version is really a bummer. What's more, May isn't specific--so there's a chance we won't get a next-gen Show until nearly June.
- Equally disappointing is the delayed release of the PS3 version. It has become almost a ritual for me to stop by a game store on the first Tuesday in March to pick up The Show. However, I hope both delays allow Sony to create two great (nearly bug-free) titles.
- It's clear to me from the trailer that the graphics for PS3 won't--and can't--get much better. The game still looks good, but anyone expecting much more than an enhanced feature set and gameplay tuning might be disappointed. Lots of similar animations were all over the place.
- Speaking of new features, the generated counts is a big one for me. With job demands and a kid in the house, its hard for me to play a full season without simming. I'm hoping the addition of generated counts allows me to maximize my gaming time. Plus, I have a feeling it will reduce the number of user strikeouts and increase walks--leading to more realistic stats.
- Also helping me to complete seasons are the year-to-year and cross-platform saves. Has there been another console sports title that offered year-to-year saves? This seems like it could be a bigger deal than I now realize.
- Online franchises have never been that appealing to me, outside of text sims. However, it is a welcome addition for many. The catch: Online play, historically the biggest weakness of this series, will definitely need to be improved from years past.
- For me, Community Challenges will probably fall into the same category as Diamond Dynasty and the weekly challenge offered by Sony: features I seldom use after the first month. I suppose all new additions are welcomed, but I don't quite see the appeal--unless users really generate some great and authentic historical scenarios. I'd gladly try to rewrite the ending of the '93 World Series.
- Speaking of Diamond Dynasty, this has always seemed like a mode I should enjoy, but never end up playing. I think that the combination of a clunky uniform editor, no name players, and the integration of subpar online play has made this mode too much of a hassle to enjoy. I'll be curious to see if the addition of Extra Innings--the ability to download and play user teams offline--will increase my enjoyment.
- Stubs. Ramone Russell says "i's not what people are afraid of," and I'll take him at his word. It would be hard for them to screw up microtransactions to the degree that NBA 2K14 did, and, if the system is similar what was offered in the past, I'm not worried. The Show has implemented these transactions unobtrusively and they were never required. I didn't buy stuff in the past, and am glad it seems I won't need to this year.
- Player Lock...eh. I guess this just extends the play of Road to the Show to any mode. Look, I felt the RttS mode was greatly improved last year--so much that I played it almost as much as the franchise mode. But I think the appeal was in the narrative of my own player. I'm not sure I'll want to do that with an existing MLB star. Again, this addition may not be for me, but it shouldn't break anything or otherwise hinder my enjoyment; as such, it's a welcome new feature.
- Finally, the PS4 screenshots look outstanding, especially when you compare them side-by-side with PS3 screenshots/graphics. It's not a massive leap, but it's one that'll certainly be noticeable come 'May'.
I'm extremely excited for a PS4 version of The Show. Spring (and May) can't get here soon enough.
Stay warm everyone!