MLB 09: The Show

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
MLB 09: The Show is the only first-party baseball game on the market. Only appearing on the PS3, this year’s The Show has the critically acclaimed Road to The Show mode that puts you in the position of a rising young star who hopes to make a big name in the majors. Boasting more features and more baseball nuances than the previous year, The Show returns.

What’s Hot
The Sony baseball games have always been good, and they will most likely stay that way. In recent years, the focus has been on the Road to the Show mode, which still feels original and fresh. Taking control of one baseball position and the pressure to make the plays count is an exciting feature that can’t be found anywhere else. Road to the Show mode is now version 3.0 and includes new features like a new stealing mechanic and training that includes some mini-game gameplay.

As for what’s brand spanking new, there are some new features to add more immersion to the baseball experience. Online season leagues, drills, custom chants, mascots and more work done with the details (fans will reach for foul balls and other tiny trimmings like that) are all new additions to The Show. One cool feature for sports game fanatics is the ability to save replays as movie files and replay them. You can wow your friends with your 9th inning grand slam that won the game by one point.

What’s Not
As with most sports games, the changes come incrementally, which can frustrate players and cause them to skip a few years when the changes are passable. Comparing this year with last, there are not many of those drastic changes to make a night and day difference between the two editions.

The batting and pitching utilizes the same gameplay controls as baseball games have had since the 16-bit days. With the competition trying new and innovative approaches to the fundamental parts of a baseball game with the analog sticks, The Show feels a little behind the times. It is an area that is prime for revamping but has missed the chance each development cycle so far.

Final Word
For such an all-star season last year, The Show is more about maintaining what worked so well with 2008’s edition than rocking the world with massive changes. The lack of changes is the only Achilles heel. There are some areas that could be further developed on, but the final product, as it stands, is a home run.