MLB 07: The Show - PS2 - Preview 2
PlayStation 2 is old, but it’s nowhere near its deathbed. Most sports games would have you believe otherwise. That’s because no matter how great their intentions may be, they’re not allocating the proper resources to the current generation.
Among the deflated basketball games and slippery soccer updates is a game that loves to show off – MLB 07: The Show. In development for both PlayStation 2 and 3, MLB 07: The Show is a special beast. The PS2 version is packed with upgrades, refinements, and replay value. It’s also equipped with an excellent commentary and replay system that brings the game to life with awesome cinematic precision. All this and the game is not even finished.
Show Me The…Fun!
MLB 07 comes out swinging with enhanced batting and pitching options. Last year’s goodies are back – you swing by pressing one of the face buttons and can influence that swing’s direction by moving the left analog stick. Pitching is still based on a timing mechanism that involves two precise actions for the best possible throw.
Out on the field players will discover that, to pass the ball more effectively, they can hold the throw button (X) to increase their power. The length of your hold determines how hard the ball will be thrown. A circular meter appears around the player and grows to show how much power has been created.
The natural reaction might be to hold the button for a bit every time. But there’s a risk that’ll keep you from going crazy – hard throws are unstable. You can’t guarantee that a hard throw won’t fly off course, which would be far more damaging.
On the batting end, players can still predict the pitch and where it will land. The combination is hard to master, but the intuitive controls and high-speed gameplay will keep you hooked regardless.
The newest addition to the huge list of game modes is Road to The Show. It’s reminiscent of Madden’s NFL Superstar mode, having you control one homemade player – offense or defense – at all times. As the pitcher, the camera does some interesting things as the ball flies over head. There isn’t a whole lot that can be done once the pitch has been made. You can attempt to catch the ball, but only in the best circumstances will that even be an option. Batters face the same kind of thing – you play to make that one athlete a star.
Success is based on your ability to keep the other team from performing certain actions. For example, as pitcher you may be told to keep the batter from running the bases. It’s easier said than done. While the other game modes let you recover from mistakes by controlling other players, you don’t have any backup plans here. You get one shot with every objective – a couple more if he fouls or strikes out, but that will only happen if you’re playing at your best.
The Show. The Presentation.
I’m not a big fan of commentary or instant replays, especially when they’re repetitive, clunky, or have some other issue. Graphics play a huge role in how well a replay is executed. If the players don’t look realistic and if their actions aren’t believable, what’s the point of watching?
MLB 07’s graphics are looking great. Player models are detailed, accurate, and are packed with fluid animations. The replays are some of the coolest you’ll ever see in a sports game. There was a moment of question where it appeared I had stopped my opponent from stealing second. The ball should’ve been a foul, bouncing off the bat lightly as if it had hit a wall. But it managed to stay behind the line. I grabbed it, tossed it to second base (by pressing the circle button) and waited for my results.
The replay showed that, as close as the play was, the ball landed in my player’s hands just before my opponent touched the base. He was outta there faster than Fox and Universal at a Halo movie meeting.
Stepping up to the plate this February, MLB 07 is sure to show up in gamers’ homes all across the country. Whether you play it on the old or new PlayStation console, this is a sports game that can’t be ignored.