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MLB 14 The Show: Online Impressions (PS4)

Add another asterisk to Major League Baseball's latest boast -- this time, its belief that, compared to other sports video games, "Baseball is better."*

*Statement applies only to offline game modes. Online experiences may vary.

Of the five major sports games presently available for PlayStation 4, only NBA Live 14 performs worse online than MLB 14: The Show.

Even NBA 2K14, a game that's still suffering from server outages, network errors and input lag, is currently more fun to play over the Internet than MLB 14: The Show.

As of this post, The Show's primary problems are latency during at-bats and synchronization issues while running the bases. There have also been reports of online games randomly crashing, freezing, disconnecting or encountering server errors, causing all in-game progress to be lost.
 



Exhibition Games

Simply starting an online game can be difficult in the PlayStation 4 version of MLB 14: The Show. Direct challenges to friends often do not show up in your opponent's inbox, regardless of how many times they are sent or how many times both players have restarted their consoles. Even after accepting a challenge, there is no guarantee that the process will complete successfully, as you are just as likely to be kicked back to the lobby screen by a server error.

Once you finally get into a game, lag becomes a major issue for the hitting side. While batting, there is a significant discrepancy between the time the ball crosses the plate on your television and the time that the game is actually registering. Hitting is already hard enough in The Show's offline modes, but when you cannot trust what your eyes are seeing at the plate, timing your swings becomes extraordinarily difficult. My PlayStation 4 friend list has become full of people batting in the .100 to .200 range online, with few extra-base hits besides the occasional lucky solo home run.

If the offense can manage to put the ball into play, it is further handicapped by visual synchronization issues. Fielders, baserunners, and even the ball itself will frequently teleport around the field, leading to unnecessary baserunning mistakes. Input delay can also cause your players to continue running past a base, long after you've let go of the "advance" button and slammed on the "stop" button.

Somehow, pitchers in MLB 14: The Show are unburdened by these latency and synchronization issues. Skilled hurlers can easily record 15 to 20 strikeouts per game, aided by the unseen lag that lies just 60 feet away. Timing your pulse or meter throws is just as easy online as offline, though the ball does tend to skip animation frames once it's out of your hands and headed towards the catcher's mitt. Aside from a slight input delay while maneuvering your fielders, everything looks and plays normally from the defense's camera, which is odd, considering the circus act that commonly occurs on the offense's screen.

It seems to make no difference whether you're playing MLB 14: The Show against someone 30 minutes away or 300 miles away; the end result, thus far, has been the same crippling lag in all 25 of my online games, which were played with the maximum "three green bars" connection, over an even mix of wired and wireless Internet.

The situation could improve in the days and weeks ahead, but right now, I cannot recommend purchasing MLB 14: The Show if you plan to spend most of your time competing online.
 



Community Challenges

New to MLB 14: The Show is the ability to play user-created scenarios, which can be as brief as a single at-bat or as long as a normal nine-inning game.

The shorter challenges are perfect for those times when you only have a few spare minutes, but at the moment, the mode has major issues with its reward system.

To play a scenario, you must first pay a set amount of "stubs," which are MLB 14: The Show's virtual currency. For some reason, about 75 percent of the available events cost just as much to enter as they award for a win, giving gamers no financial incentive to risk their stubs.

It's unclear whether or not entry fees are supposed to be refunded after a win. A bug could be preventing that from happening. Or it could just be that the mode was intentionally set up so that the majority of challenges offer zero chance of winning any stubs.

A minority of challenges, however, have opened up opportunities for "stubs farming," which involves replaying fail-safe challenges that reward thousands of stubs for completing simple tasks like making one out.

Getting in and out of challenges also takes far too long, as you will often spend more time looking at loading screens than actually playing some of the simpler scenarios.



Online Co-Op

If you enjoyed playing cooperatively with friends in MLB 13: The Show, you'll be disappointed to find that the online co-op feature did not make the cut in this year's game.

According to SCEA community manager, Ramone Russell, the feature "was taken out, [because there was] not enough time to implement it again with the new online [system]."

Given the popularity of Sony's Road To The Show mode, it's a shame that there's still no way for your created character to meet up with friends inside a virtual sandlot.

Diamond Dynasty

As a very menu-heavy mode, slow loading times are currently diminishing much of Diamond Dynasty's fun factor. Navigating the marketplace and managing your roster have become more tedious than usual, thanks to the menus' delayed response times.

Completed Diamond Dynasty games can also take up to two hours before they are processed, which means you sometimes get stuck waiting for your budget rewards to be deposited into your team's account before you can make your next marketplace move or start a new training session.

The effects of "stubs farming" are already being felt in Diamond Dynasty's marketplace. Prices for top cards have skyrocketed as more owners are discovering how easy it is to balloon their team's budget through certain Community Challenges. Likewise, the amount of 99-rated "super teams" continues to grow at an unnatural rate, as team-building progression that should take months of normal, dedicated playing is being achieved mere days after the game's release.
 



Home Run Derby

MLB 14: The Show's lone online success is its eight-player simultaneous Home Run Derby. Even with a full field of competitors, the online performance feels identical to an offline game, with no noticeable latency. The mode even supports cross-platform play, as PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita users can all join the same session.

If the rest of MLB 14: The Show's online modes can be brought up to the performance quality of Home Run Derby, then Sony could truly say, without an asterisk, that "Baseball is better."


MLB 14 The Show Videos
Member Comments
# 1 HustlinOwl @ 05/12/14 12:22 PM
Gues Im just that good lol

 
# 2 RustedWalleye @ 05/12/14 12:55 PM
I played an online game yesterday afternoon, and everything that was said about the latency, lag as the batter was completely true. The timing is so far off during batting that it can really affect you. It took me 7 innings to really get the timing down to hit with the lag, but I did manage to get the bases loaded twice in the 8th and 9th inning due to my opponent being very predictable. I couldnt manage to get a run, and when he finally changed pitchers in the 8th and 9th with strong fastballs it threw my timing off again. My opponent struggled more than I did and struck out 19 times and only managed 4 hits, unfortunately my old age set in yesterday and I couldn't pitch worth a damn and walked 6 straight batters (quick counts), the only two runs of the game, and i lost 2-0.

If the issues would go away I would definitely play more online, but that was too frustrating trying to completely change your timing.
 
# 3 JKorbini @ 05/12/14 02:29 PM
All my online experiences have been silky smooth, the hitter and batter interface feels like off line. The base running lag, i know how to combat that, but the game is smooth as butter online.
 
# 4 Sigma4Life @ 05/12/14 03:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JKorbini
All my online experiences have been silky smooth, the hitter and batter interface feels like off line. The base running lag, i know how to combat that, but the game is smooth as butter online.
My experience has been pretty good online as well. Hitting, pitching and fielding are working very well. I've seen horrible lag and sync issues running the bases however. To workaround the base running issues I am just very conservative. I never try to stretch hits or take extra bases on what appears to be bad throws since it's impossible to know where the ball really is due to sync issues.
 
# 5 Seyheykid23 @ 05/12/14 08:37 PM
The online portion of this game is simply BROKEN and can not believe Sony would release a game with this flaw.
 
# 6 Coolade @ 05/12/14 10:16 PM
The timing is so bad online depending on who you're playing that. Just. I think the concept of online for a baseball game just isn't feasible.
 
# 7 Sigma4Life @ 05/13/14 10:37 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolade
The timing is so bad online depending on who you're playing that. Just. I think the concept of online for a baseball game just isn't feasible.
Ever heard of High Heat? They had a perfectly playable online mode over 10 years ago so it's more than feasable.
 
# 8 Coolade @ 05/13/14 10:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma4Life
Ever heard of High Heat? They had a perfectly playable online mode over 10 years ago so it's more than feasable.
You can't really compare a 10 year old baseball game to a 1080p 60fps baseball game in 2014 with todays internet and traffic.
 
# 9 Townie33 @ 05/13/14 03:44 PM
To say this is an inferior product (online) would be an understatement. Those of us that have purchased this game (and or system) to play online have been grossly misled by SCEA.
 
# 10 teebee @ 05/13/14 09:10 PM
My impression of online play:

*FARTINGNOISESFARTINGNOISESFARTINGNOISESFARTINGNOI SESFARTINGNOISES*
 
# 11 Moneyballzs @ 05/13/14 10:51 PM
I'm really sad to read all of this, I was hoping with all the problems it was to play this series online on the PS3 they would of fixed it for this generation
 
# 12 Sigma4Life @ 05/15/14 10:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolade
You can't really compare a 10 year old baseball game to a 1080p 60fps baseball game in 2014 with todays internet and traffic.
The graphics are irrelevant since the systems today easily handle 1080p. What you're really saying is a dialup connection or DSL from 10 years ago is superior to a modern broadband connection. You might want to reconsider your thesis because it seems that you don't understand the technology at work here.
 
# 13 TyshawnH @ 06/30/14 11:04 AM
keep saying my connection to show has been lost server error and this is becoming very frustrating
 
# 14 HustlinOwl @ 06/30/14 11:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TyshawnH
keep saying my connection to show has been lost server error and this is becoming very frustrating
as of today? Appears they are offline at least the show nation is
 
# 15 jyoung @ 08/04/14 08:34 PM
Has anyone noticed any improvements to PS4 online performance after the patch?

All the games I've played post-patch have still had the same old latency issues while hitting and the syncing issues whenever the ball is in play.
 
# 16 fifashopcions12 @ 08/28/14 03:51 AM
Exclusive license is nothing more than something used to make up for an inferior product. Corner the market and create a monopoly. In that way, no one knows they are buying crap.

Runescape Gold
 

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