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MLB 13 The Show PS3 Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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MLB 13 The Show

MLB 13 The Show

Image © Sony
2012's "MLB 12 The Show" was not just the best sports game of last year but one of the best athletic simulation releases of all time. With perfect graphics, realistic gameplay, and a deep variety of modes, it set the new standard for baseball video games. No other baseball simulation comes close. Well, now "MLB 13 The Show" comes very, very, very close. In fact, it's nearly identical. Unsurprisingly, Sony has held back major changes in their flagship sports franchise for the inevitable "MLB 14 The Show," which will likely break new ground on the PS4. Just as you don't overhaul your lineup in the 9th inning, it makes sense that Sony is waiting till the "next game" to make major changes. And so my response to "MLB 13 The Show" is mixed. If you own "MLB 12," there's not enough reason to justify the upgrade. However, if you somehow are new to the world of "The Show," strap in and enjoy the ride.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Sony
  • Developer: Sony
  • ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
  • Genre: Sports
  • Release Date: March 5, 2013
  • Pros: Gorgeous Graphics, Dense Variety of Modes, Fluid Gameplay
  • Cons: Almost the Same Game as "MLB 12 The Show"

The details are basically the same as last year: A deep variety of modes including Season, Postseason, Road to the Show, Exhibition, Online, and mini-games like Home Run Derby along with Cross-Play between your PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions. The pitching mechanic is essentially the same with just a minor tweak to the presentation of the circle needed to paint the corners and the batting and fielding mechanics are identical. The majority of what you experience in "MLB 13" will feel very familiar to anyone who played "MLB 12." The Astros are in the AL West. Josh Hamilton plays for the Los Angeles Angels. There are a few new modes. That's about it.

Gameplay

MLB 13 The Show

MLB 13 The Show

Image © Sony

What's new?!?! What's new?!?! That's almost always what people ask me when it comes to sports video game reviews. So let's get to it. The "Post Seaason" feels different with a new mode that allows you to randomly produce a 10-team October classic of your very own, controlling just one team or all of them. I tried to get the new-look Toronto Blue Jays to the World Series and really enjoyed the presentation, including a heightened sense of excitement in the stadiums and announcers booth as opposed to a regular season game.

"The Show Live" is a neat new addition that plays off what 2K Games have revolutionized with the fantastic "NBA Live" in the "NBA 2K" series. It uses data from MLB.com to replicate real-world games. If Verlander battled Price that day, you can recreate that battle in your copy of "The Show". The announcers will even reference real world events, which I can't wait to see in action. The idea that a player could be injured one week in the real world and referenced in-game the next week is pretty cool.

Also pretty cool are the tweaks to "Road to the Show," which makes for a deeper, more immersive experience. Personally, I really engaged with "RTTS" on the Vita as the mode is very conducive to pick-up-and-play action like you would expect with a handheld. Taking a young player through a season of AA ball with the awful Harrison Senators (a Washington Nationals farm team) is akin to a series of mini-games in that you're often training or only dealing with your at-bats and fielding opportunities. It's perfect for the Vita, and with the cloud service you can move your future star back and forth from console to handheld.

The 2013 edition of "The Show" does make an effort to bring new gamers into the fold, giving new players an adaptable Beginners Mode that tweaks the difficulty sliders based on your play to give you an experience that's not too hard but not too easy. Online modes are once again dense, including being able to play a real MLB schedule with all 30 teams online or even compete with your "RTTS" player.

Graphics & Sound

Steve Lyons joins the broadcast booth and fits right in. As for graphics, Sony boasts 250 new fielding and running animations, 90 new batting stances, 50 new pitching motions, and 60 new HR swings. The game looks great. However, it doesn't look quite as good as last year. Maybe because "12" was such a leap forward in baseball visuals but I noticed more flaws this time, including players who run through one another and lackluster crowd details. I'm being harsh because I love this series. It still looks great but the fact that it doesn't look quite as good as last year's edition loses it half a star.

Overall

MLB 13 The Show

MLB 13 The Show

Image © Sony
Once again, if you're a PS3 owner without a version of "The Show" then your machine is not doing its job. Sports games don't get better than this franchise, one that runs neck and neck with the "NBA 2K" series as the best sports games on the market. My concern that "MLB 13 The Show" doesn't do enough to push the franchise beyond the major advancements of last year's edition comes largely from how much I love these games. And I know this for a fact -- "MLB 14 The Show" is going to be mind-blowing.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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