Great baseball games are a hard thing to find in today’s market, but the past few years Sony has managed to put out a stable, high quality and authentic experience. But for every new season comes a new game, and does MLB 15: The Show have what it takes to provide players with another strong experience? Not only that, but does Sony’s newest instalment in the franchise change up its strategy, or is The Show playing it to be safe?Last year’s introduction to current generation platforms gave the franchise a pretty significant visually, and much like other games in the genre visual fidelity often remains along a singular line when it comes to quality, but MLB15 manages to perfect the graphical fidelity that last year’s iteration sought out. Starting your first match you’ll quickly be introduced into the vivid and detailed environments that San Diego have crafted. Despite the fact that you won’t be spending time with the stadium itself, the attention to detail to the stands and its inhabitants are quite detailed considering their role in it all. Crowds are well-simulated and well-detailed, adding to the sense of scale and sensation of each match.One of the most important factors in any sports game is the quality and variation in animations, which the game once again excels at. Movement is incredibly crips for both player-controlled and AI players, reacting realistically to both their surroundings and each other. Due to the nature of the batting and pitching their animations are a delight to watch for graphics enthusiasts up close. One particular moment that caught my eye is when my batter shattered his bat on impact, which resulted in the separate pieces of wood flying away as he promptly stormed off, heading towards first base. For baseball enthusiasts watching a game of MLB15 may quite frankly be as rewarding as watching an actual baseball game.There haven’t really been any high-profile MLB the past few years, but even without a rival the MLB series has provided PlayStation players with well-made and consistent gameplay experiences, and MLB 15 is no exception. Every sport has a level of authenticity, attention and such that needs to be maintained when it comes to the digital representation of its contents, which is where The Show offers a well-developed experience that is suitable for both new and seasoned players. The game offers two main levels of difficulty, which are not only aimed at players new and old to the sport itself, but new and old to gaming and general, offering assistance in order to train yourself in the techniques of the game. Seasoned players are able to take off the training wheels and aim for a more authentic experience, which is easily delivered.
Batter vs pitcher duels can make for some incredibly tense situations, especially when there’s a lot at stake. There’s a real sense of rivalry that hits you wether you’re playing against AI or another player online. The only new feature that doesn’t seem to hold up as well (in my personal opinion, of course) is the new directional hitting system, which in concept allows the player to influence the direction of the pitch in question, which is a cool idea by itself, but in practice it falls flat as you never really get the feeling you’re actually accomplishing something by using the feature.
Franchise mode is of course the big contender that has always been the franchise’s strong point, and MLB15 offers an experience that is just as comprehensive as its predecessors, albeit a bit safe when it comes to changing things up. Mode variation is also a bit stale, providing players with only a small selection of modes. Players are able to continue on from their save from MLB14 from any PlayStation platform and can transfer their progress to either the PSVita to continue their season on the road. This feature remains one of the strongest points of the game, though sometimes save transfers from previous titles can be a bit problematic when it comes to player transfers and retired players, which the game effectively tries to work around in order to create a comprehensive experience.
As history has told us, baseball isn’t for everyone. But for those who have embraced the sport MLB15: The Show offers the essential experience for any baseball fan, providing players with an authentic, well-designed and comprehensive experience that will take fans for a sensational ride.