EA Sports usually has a stranglehold when it comes to dishing out sports games year in and out.
Surprisingly though, EA does not have an annual baseball video game. 2K Sports has its MLB 2K series while Sony introduced the MLB:
The Show franchise since 2006. MLB 13: The Show is the latest iteration of the series and the game is available for both the PS3 and PS Vita. The game can be downloaded via the PlayStation Store.
Baseball has always been “America’s favourite pastime”. However, the sport hasn’t really been all that popular here in New Zealand. Kiwis prefer to play cricket or even softball.
The Black Sox’s world championship victory is evidence enough that softball is more appealing to New Zealander’s than baseball is. Even though my knowledge and liking for baseball is fairly limited, I still found MLB 13: The Show to be an enjoyable game that captures the spirit and atmosphere of the sport perfectly.
One of the things I liked about the game was its accessibility. The first ever baseball game I ever played was MLB 2K11 for the Xbox 360.
I found that game to be hard to play since you had to use the right analogue stick to both bat and pitch. It was a hard control setup that made it difficult to play.
MLB 13: The Show on the other hand lets you use the face buttons to pitch and bat the ball that makes the game far easier for beginners to play. In my opinion, I found this game to be more fun to play since I know next to nothing about the sport in general.
If you’ve never played a baseball video game before, I suggest you go directly to the practice mode to master your pitching and batting skills. Batting is obviously the most crucial element of the entire sport because if you cannot get the timing right, you’ll get stuck out all of the time.
There are three ways you can hit the ball in the game: bunt, power, or standard shot. The triangle button is a bunt where you just want to hit the ball very lightly so you can hopefully sprint onto first base. The X button is a standard hit if you want to hit the ball mid-range.
The square button is for power and is the best button for you to use if you want to hit a homerun. MLB 13: The Show might be easier to play than 2K Sports’ series, but this does not mean it’s necessarily an arcade game by comparison.
You still have to time the ball correctly if you want to hit the ball efficiently plus you’ll have to predict the direction of where the pitcher is going to throw the ball as well. If the ball is too close to the pitcher’s body, your hit will most likely result in a foul.
It’s important that you keep an eye on the ball at all times and know when the best time is to hit the ball.
Pitching is easier to do in this game as well. As a pitcher, you can throw the baseball in many different ways to throw your opponent off.
This can include a fastball, sinkers and curve balls. You can also deliberately throw the ball at the batsman too if you feeling devious. Throwing the ball to your opponent comes as a consequence as this counts as a free run for the opposing team.
Apart from the exhibition mode where you can play the traditional game of baseball, there are several other modes that you can play through as well. There is a season mode where you can control your favourite team to lead them to the World Series.
Franchise mode is similar, although you’re not playing as the team; you are now in control of the GM. One unique mode that is included here is Road to the Show. It is here where you can take control of a rookie as they enter the minor leagues of baseball.
It’s an interesting mode where you can actually watch a game of baseball unfold from the sidelines when your player is not currently playing.
Without a doubt, my favourite mode in the entire game is the Home Run Derby. It is here where the goal is to hit as many home runs as possible. The best part about this mode is that you can even challenge people online. I have to admit, I wasn’t that good but it was still a fun experience to compare myself with players from around the world.
Presentation wise, MLB 13: The Show has decent and detailed graphics. The players look great and the baseball stadiums are all accurately animated and rendered with fine detail.
The only gripe in the game’s graphics is the low detail on the crowd members. This is only a small flaw since many people don’t really care what the crowd looks like in video games.
Another note to make is that the PS Vita version is not as bright and colourful as the PS3 version. Still, the handheld version is still the best looking baseball game you can play on the go. MLB 13: The Show on the PS Vita is a great video game representation of the sport of baseball.
Although the visuals might be as vibrant as the PS3 version, it is still a great game that packs a ton of modes that will keep any baseball fan happy.
Even if you are not a huge fan of the sport (like me), you may find yourself enjoying playing MLB 13: The Show just for the urge of hitting lots of home runs.
Lasting appeal: 8.5