MLB 08: The Show - PS2 - Preview
The year begins much the same way that it ends: with a bevy of sports games. Though the majority won’t be released till late summer/early fall, we are currently on the brink of a new FIFA Street, a new NBA Ballers, and soon, the next chapter in Sony’s MLB series. MLB 08: The Show picks up where the last one left off, upping the ante on the content that made the last game a hit.
The replay camera angles still rock.
Road to the Show – the mode that throws you into the depths of controlling an individual player, not an entire team – is back and upgraded to 2.0 status. In other words, you are being watched. Every move has the potential for great, status-improving success. But there is also the potential for great loss.
Success is based on your ability to complete goals, and there isn’t much room to vacillate. The goals appear as the game develops – perform well and you might not receive too many. As a pitcher, I saw fewer goals when striking out opponents than when a player was able to slip by to first base. Some of the goals include:
“Don’t allow the run to score. There’s a runner at third base with only one man out.”
“Don’t walk the hitter. There is currently a runner at first with two men out.”
“Sacrifice bunt. No pinch hitter here… I’m gonna leave this up to you. Just find a way to bunt that runner up into scoring position here. This late in the ballgame, we can’t mess up on any of these opportunities.”
These goals are fairly strict. Points will either be added or deducted from your homegrown player, depending on whether you’ve succeeded or failed. If the goal is as simple as “strike out the batter,” you may think that it’d be acceptable to eliminate him by catching a fly ball. Wrong. The batter must be struck out or you still lose the goal. However, the bright side of eliminating the batter by other means (when a straight strikeout isn’t possible) is that it reduces the number of points that will be taken away from your player.
All things likely, this mode is set in stone. I expect the developers to continue polishing it up until the ship date arrives, but the harsh point system isn’t going anywhere. Better practice now with MLB 07 while you have the chance.
Thus far I’m not spotting a huge difference in the visuals, which was expected given that the PS2 is in its eighth season. The animations are solid, the camera work is steady, and the frame rate is consistent – those may not be biggest words of praise, but they’re something. For jaw-dropping effects, you’ll have to get the PlayStation 3 version.
Does MLB 08: The Show have what it takes to outshine last year’s game? Can it compete with any and all contenders, and manage to ward off the arcade thrills of The BIGS? We’ll know in less than two months. The game ships March 4th. Stay with GameZone for more on MLB 08 leading up to the game’s release and beyond.