Last week, we ran an insightful article that highlights some of MLB 14: The Show’s small, but impactful, problems. All of those issues Jayson points out are evident, and can detract from the overall fun.
However, I think MLB 14 on the PS4 is one of my favorite games from the last five years. I’ve probably played more games in The Show this year than any baseball game in the past; only rivaled by MVP 2005.
So, in the interest of balance, here are small, but important additions MLB 14: The Show gets right.
The new hitting camera allows you to see the ball from the pitcher’s hand to the fielder's glove, with no interruption. There’s no cheating on the part of the game; you are able to witness the entire play unfold in front of you. What’s more, you typically have a better view of the entire field; being able to see where the fielders are setting up allows you to control the baserunners with a bit more foresight.
Additionally, the fielding cameras make every play feel a bit different, highlighting the action on the field. This increases the intensity of each play, and gets you a little closer to the action.
Normally, I prefer presentation that skews in favor of a real life TV broadcast, but these cameras change the game in a positive way. All told, I’m really digging these new camera options and their effect on gameplay.
I had to dig for the article, but in 2012 I included generated counts as one of my top "wish list" features for 2013. While it took an extra year, I'm really thankful for this addition.
I like generated counts for two main reasons: I get more walks and fewer strike outs, and I'm able to play more games in a shorter amount of time. Yes, I love the "purity" of fresh counts, but like I said in 2012, too often life gets in the way of virtual baseball.
It’s nearly summer, and I’m about to embark on a week-long road trip. I’m really glad to be able to take my franchise along, thanks to the Vita and cross-platform saves.
I also feel less pressure to “cram” my franchise into just this year, since I know I’ll be able to transfer that save too. That’s a great selling point for Sony, and a nice service to long-time fans of the series.
I’ve said it before: I think we are moving to where these year-to-year saves will become standard in the genre.
Diamond Dynasty: Extra Innings
Diamond Dynasty is probably my least favorite mode in MLB 14: The Show, but it’s value was increased thanks to the Extra Innings feature. This addition allows you to play offline games against other users’ teams. During those games, the teams will play according to the real life tendencies of their owners.
Thanks to Extra Innings, I can play Diamond Dynasty offline with more options than just a CPU-controlled MLB team.
This addition to Road to the Show jump starts your MLB career by allowing your player to participate in a three game “try-out” in front of virtual scouts. I like that the Showcase puts pressure on you to perform, and helps define your player in a much more interactive way than simply allocating points.
I think there’s room for improvement here, though. I’d love to see an entire high-school or college career lived through “moments” -- a la the lock on player feature -- allowing your player to be generated nearly from scratch over a few key situations.
Sony also needs to improve the feedback system. My RttS pitcher completed three solid innings, allowing two hits and an unearned run, yet was told that he’s seen better days.
Again, a lot of improvement was made to Road to the Show last year; the Topps Showcase improves the mode yet again.
Not Removing Options
Finally, I’m thankful that MLB: The Show continues to add improvements without sacrificing past options that people like. When something is added, it’s usually not at the cost of a previous feature. There are now many ways to pitch, field and hit in The Show, and a countless number of camera angles.
This is refreshing in a world where “back of the box” features are touted, only to be removed a few years later.
Look, we know that MLB 14: The Show isn’t a perfect game, especially with a rocky start to online play. But, over the course of two generations and now into a third, The Show has been a prime example of a sports game that gets better each year.
What’s your favorite additions or feature in MLB 14: The Show?