MLB 12 The Show Preview (PS Vita)

Is it April yet?  Seriously, I’m tired of snow.  Plus, I kind of miss the vibe from a good game of baseball.  We’re still a couple of months away from folks rounding the bases and hitting grand slams out of parks.  However, Sony’s back at the plate a month early, like clockwork, bringing its definitive MLB 12: The Show to the forefront.  This time around, however, it’s not just bringing the beauty of the sport to the PlayStation 3.  The PlayStation Vita will get its own special dose as well.

MLB 12: The Show, Heath Bell

If you’ve never played any of the Show games before, you’re missing out on something special.  Sony and its San Diego team completely nail down the vibe of the sport into video game form, and even though its more simulation-like approach may not thrill arcade fans, it’s definitely up there with some of the better sports games we’ve played over the last few years, and MLB 12: The Show appears to be no exception.

First off, the game has been overhauled in the graphics department.  Even on the handheld PS Vita, you’ll see the graphics shine through with articulate player models and recreated ball parks.  The only thing the Vita version of The Show won't get is the True Broadcast Presenation; that cutback was a strategic decision to make the games shorter for the handheld.

Gameplay will also make proper use of the PS Vita’s set-up.  Though we didn’t see all the features in action during our hands-on session, MLB 12: The Show will feature touch screen add-ons, so you can bat and pitch the ball like a pro, using precision as your weapon as you pick and choose placement.  Field can either be handled by using the face buttons to throw to the corresponding base, or you can use the rear touch panel to throw to the bases — the right part of the rear touch panel is to throw to first base, the left side to third base, the top to second, and the bottom to home plate.

Along with new vital batting/pitching elements and improved fielding, MLB 12: The Show will have an Online Everywhere feature, so you can log in to PlayStation Network and challenge players to quick match-ups and league games, among other things.  You’ll also be able to enroll in The Show and take your player to the big leagues, or try your luck with the improved Franchise mode, figuring out aspects of team management and other issues using Diamond Dynasty.  You can even create your own logos as you see fit.  What’s more, you can actually save your progress in MLB 12: The Show between the PS Vita and PlayStation 3, though cross network play isn’t quite available just yet.  Maybe in an update somewhere down the road, we’ll see…

MLB 12: The Show, Jose Reyes, Miami Marlins

With excellent ball and bat physics (gone are those collision detection problems), realistic presentation, and a bevy of options online and off, MLB 12: The Show looks more unbeatable than ever.  We’ll let you know how this ball game ends up when we round the bases with it early next month.  Stay tuned, baseball fans.  Your season’s just warming up.