MLB 09 The Show

mlbJust in time for the Baseball Season Sony has released MLB 09 The Show for the PS 2, PSP, and PS3 gaming systems.

For my review, I used the PS 3 version and was immediately gripped by the strong graphics and lifelike animation of the players.

The game is stocked with full rosters from all the teams and lifelike animations and mannerisms that reflect their flesh and blood counterparts. The stadiums are crafted in detail and really add to the immersion for players. All 30 teams are featured as are their stadiums.

For the latest version of the popular series, Sony has greatly enhanced the animations of the fielders and provides them with a more natural and dynamic sense of motion and nice features like the updated barehand flips. With over 700 new animations and 150 pitcher and batter routines, MLB 09 captures the very essence of the players being portrayed.

The Hotshot fielding features eliminates the old “anything close” mentality of most baseball games and forces players to make that extra effort to field those hot smashes so no longer will scorched smashes automatically find a glove if you happen to be in the path of the ball.

Another great feature is the 3.0 version of the Road to the show which in addition to allowing players to have more interaction with their coaches, the leadoff and steal system has been upgraded. This is a huge plus to me as many times in the past, I shyed away from stealing for concern that one of my other runners would take off as well and essentially run me out of an inning.

The Franchise 2.0 system included is a true leap ahead in terms of capturing the realism of the game. The ability to salary arbitration, waiver wire, and September call ups really captures the essence of the game, and underscores that over a long season, fresh arms and legs are often needed for the stretch drive to the pennant.

Online gamers will rejoice that they can now select the order of the schedule and can upload a custom roster for other players to use.

Perhaps the nicest new addition is the ability for players to upload and select their own music in the game. Everything from strikeouts, homers, and walk ups can now be customized by the players as well as customized taunts.

Players can select their lineup, stadium, time of day and even their opponent. Want to take on the All Star Team? No problem! MLB 09 the show can handle this.

While all of the fancy animation and graphics are nice, the real test of any game is the play, and MLB 09 The show is as close to being in a game as you can get. From the way the batting and pitching adjust to your performance to the amazing crowd reactions, you can almost smell the spilled beer and peanuts of the stadiums. I loved seeing fans leave the game during a blowout and how in Yankee Stadium you would see some Sox fans in the stands.

The great lighting and physics of the game really work well with the amazing graphics and sound. No sooner did the announcer tell us that it was 43 degrees than I noticed fans bundled for the weather. T
It is nice to see that the developers really put some time into this game. Amazing graphics and animations combine with hours of playtime, multiple play modes, and online play as well. What more could any fan ask for?

I was a bit disappointed to see that a Home Run Derby was not included in this version because, to me, they are often the best part of the game. Who doesn’t love trying to hit balls out of various parks in derby mode and challenging your friends to a long ball battle? That being said, not only is MLB 09 The show the best Baseball game out there, it just may be the best sports game ever created.

4.5 stars out of 5.