[PS2]MLB The Show

I know we rarely seem to do sports game threads, but I’m finally spending some quality time with the 2007 version of this game, and it deserves a little recognition.

A bit of background–I’ve been playing computer game baseball since SSI’s “Computer Baseball”. I did the Earl Weaver series. I did all the Hardballs. I did High Heat in every incarnation. I did Tommy Lasorda on the Genesis. Playstation, Dreamcast, Xbox, PS2…I’ve done 'em all, always in search of the perfect baseball game.

This is it, I think. This might be the game that either ends the competition or raises the bar to heights none of us ever imagined.

The Show 2006 was an incredible game…but 2007 has Road To The Show, which is basically a baseball RPG. You create a player and give him initial stats, and then you control him in games: pitching (if he’s a pitcher), batting, baserunning, fielding. You get in-game situational goals, and for every one you complete, you get points to spend to improve your player to get him into the big leagues and hopefully a long career, pennants, and even the Hall Of Fame sometime. I’ve been toying around with it for a day or so, and it might be the most addictive game I’ve ever played.

For instance, right now I’m working on a tall, rangy lefthanded starter. Since he’ll be pitching for Dave Duncan and the Cardinals, I figured I’d better give him a 3-pitch repertoire that included a 2-seam fastball, curve, and changeup. You can customize all the obvious stuff, but getting to pick from 250-odd pitching deliveries/motions was a treat (I almost went with a delivery mimicking Mark Buerhle’s, but opted instead for Lefty Grove’s). Even though I’m “just” a pitcher, the consequences for not covering first on a ball to the right side or backing up the wrong base can be catastrophic, so you’re always doing stuff out there.

Can’t recommend this enough for baseball fans. If the PS3 version keeps all the features and AI intact, that might be a system-seller right there.

I got the PSP version of this last year. It was phenomenal. It’s one of the best baseball games around and I played it on a tiny screen. I’ll pick up the PSP version of this before camping season starts in earnest. Glad to hear that it turned out well.

I’m also waiting on the PS3 version, especially since I won a copy of MLB 2k7 over at Gamespot. I really want to see what they can do with all the extra power. Isn’t it delayed for a while?

PS3 version not until May.

The one glaring bug in the game for those so inclined is that in Franchise mode, the CPU teams don’t trade or sign free agents. That’s really bad if you play that way. I tend to go with OOTP for my GM jones, so it isn’t anything for me, but it’d be nice if they worked that kink out for the PS3 release.