The first sports game on a new system carries a stigma. Generally, the game will look amazing but will be missing features that were present in last generation's iteration as the focus on graphics over gameplay.
MLB 14: The Show was released last month on the PlayStation 3 to critical acclaim, with the game taking an extra month to hit the PlayStation 4. Was that extra month enough time to give the game a home run or does it strike out?
Nails The Basics
MLB 14: The Show succeeds at the basics of the baseball: The hitting, pitching and fielding are all top notch. If you've played any previous iteration of MLB The Show, you know that Sony aims for perfection with this series from a gameplay perspective and they have nailed it with this release. The stellar Road To The Show mode returns (and it's just as great as ever), Franchise mode is back in both online and offline variety, and Home Run Derby is a great way to kill a few minutes.
Let's be honest: If you've a hardcore lover of baseball, you likely already had the game on preorder and already own a copy. If not, purchase the game immediately.
With that out of the way, let's focus on what MLB 14: The Show adds to the series and why this year's release makes great strides towards the casual baseball fan.
No Seventh Inning Stretch Here
The two new additions to MLB 14: The Show have one goal in mind: Speeding up the gameplay.
First there is Quick Counts, a system that starts each batter a few pitches in. For example, a batter may come up at 3-1 or 0-2, meaning it may only take one pitch to strike a batter out or one foul ball to walk him. This system speeds up gameplay dramatically, as the simulated pitches means you're not needing to throw every pitch in a game. The official word from Sony is that Quick Counts can drop the time it takes to play a game to 30 minutes or under and in my experience, this number is accurate.
If you have even less time to play, the new Player Lock system enables you to just play as one particular player. You'll only play when your selected player is at bat and on the field, meaning you can wrap up entire games in ten minutes or less.
Both modes are perfect for gamers who don't have a lot of time on their hands and want to enjoy a game of baseball without the two to three hour long commitment of each game.
Another new mode, Community Challenge, enables you to play specific scenarios that other gamers have uploaded, as well as create your own. For example, you may be tasked with winning the game when it's the last pitch of the last inning and the bases are loaded.
Not Without Its Flaws
While MLB 14: The Show's new features are amazing and it does a lot of things right, there are some improvements that the franchise can still make.
For one, the game has incredibly long loading times, averaging upwards of a minute. When other games on the PS4 can load in five seconds or less, sitting through loading screen after loading screen isn't something we should still be seeing on the PS4. It starts to get irritating during long play sessions.
Lag during online play is also a problem and all too frequently rears its ugly head.
The PS4 Advantage
Simply put, MLB 14: The Show looks amazing on the PS4 and blows its PS3 counterpart out of the water.
The stadiums in particular are one area that was overhauled for the PlayStation 4 version of MLB 14: The Show, with each stadium completely rebuilt from the ground up for Sony's new system. Crowds are now fully rendered, adding an aspect of realism that just isn't present in the PS3 version of the game. Unfortunately, retro stadiums are not included in the PS4 version of the game.
The players themselves have featured a huge overhaul, with the number of faces increasing tenfold. Facial hair in particular is a huge improvement.
Finally, the PS4 version features a bevy of new animations and intros that give the game that next-generation feel.
Despite its flaws, MLB 14: The Show is a huge improvement over the PlayStation 3 version and is the definitive version of the game. If you're a baseball fan, even a casual fan, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game immediately.
Final Score: 8/10
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 05/08/2014
Game Category: Sports