No stats this time! I lost the first match 9-6 which wasn’t so bad.
It’s time to look at another Baseball game. This one’s a little newer than the last one and you can actually see how the gameplay has improved. I can actually pitch without every ball going out. There’s still a lot here that I just don’t get, but at least I had a little more fun. It’s hard to see myself going for more Baseball games in the near future unless I see them for under $5 but at least this is helping me wrap up the ones I do have. This review’s probably going to seem pretty similar to my last one since the games are basically identical.
Usually I jump right into the quickplay mode, but this time I really wanted to try out the Practice Mode to see if I could get a little better at this sport. After all, any skills I pick up now will be quite valuable down the road. Unfortunately the practice mode really isn’t very helpful. It’s just free reign as opposed to actual tutorials so that bit was a little disappointing. I got to practice my batting but without direction it really didn’t do me a lot of good. Ah well, I tried right? That was enough for me to go back into quick play.
I didn’t get destroyed quite as badly as last time so that is a bit of a start. For one thing my pitching was okay. I can’t angle the pitches or anything so they were all right down the middle, but the real important thing here is the fact that the ball was getting over the plate. The batter would land a lot of hits but I caught a good chunk of them. In the end the team scored about 6 runs so I always felt like I was right in the thick of it. Unfortunately I couldn’t score any runs so realistically I wasn’t going to be making any comebacks. I only got 1 solid hit as everything else got caught.
My bat couldn’t even reach most of the pitches which I thought was a bit sketchy. That shouldn’t have been the case and yet…it was. I couldn’t figure out how to move but I’m sure there is a way to move your bat a bit. That or those balls were simply out of range and I wasn’t supposed to be swinging at them. It can be really tough at times because sometimes the ball just looks really good when I’m pitching but they’ll call it a “ball” anyway. There’s something that never clicks for me in these games.
As for the graphics, those look pretty good as you’d expect. The character models are on point and the field looks good. It does feel significantly lower budget than the NBA or Madden games but maybe that’s because those just have a lot more to look at. In comparison you’re basically on the same field all the time here so maybe it makes sense that it looks bland. There is less of a presentation or soundtrack as well so you can feel awfully lonely here at times.
There is a lot of content though. You can jump into a season or keep on having fun with normal games. Since you can buy this title for about a dollar or so you really can’t go wrong here. You just have to actually like the gameplay enough to pick this title up now and again. Also you can probably just buy a newer version of the game and then you’ll be all set. There is little reason to pick up this game, but if you do then I expect you’ll enjoy it. At the very least I do think it is a big improvement over MLB 08. That’s for sure!
Overall, MLB 09 picks up where the last one left off, but improves in every way. Baseball still isn’t the sport for me and is certainly the weakest one I’ve played next to Golf. I feel like too much of the game is left up to chance and so naturally that ends up hurting my enjoyment factor. Still, it does feel really nice to land a hit. I’m sure landing a home run would feel even better. Train up a bit and perhaps you can get really good at this game. I was unable to accomplish this and I don’t expect I would return to the game since I don’t even think it has PS3 trophies. I haven’t personally checked though so hopefully I’m wrong. I still have a few more Baseball games on the backlog so this isn’t the last you’ll see of them. This sport will return!
It’s time to jump into the next MLB title. Baseball is next to Golf as my least favorite sport to play in a video game format. Neither one is all that exciting for me because I don’t really feel like I’m in control. In something like Basketball or Tennis, win or lose you know that you did everything you could. I feel like these games don’t give me the same amount of power. That may just be because I am not too used to these controls though. After all in Baseball I can barely pitch to save my life. The amount of balls I threw in this game was totally crazy. Then with Batting I could only manage a hit or two. Somehow I don’t think y skills will be ready for real opponents anytime soon. They’re all just too powerful.
There are a bunch of modes here of course, but I opted to start with a quick game. Little did I know there wouldn’t be anything quick about it. The other team quickly began running up the score. Before I knew it I was down 15-0 and I knew that I was doomed. The toughest part of the game for me is pitching. I was just trying to throw the ball straight across the base and yet each time the ref would say that the ball was out. A lot of the time I even felt like it was on target and somehow it wouldn’t go there. I’m thinking there is something I have to do with the directions, but it wasn’t too clear. In 09 I’ve decided that the first thing I’m going to do is look for a tutorial to try and at least get some fundamentals at the ready. Without those I really don’t stand a chance here.
As for batting, that is naturally all about reaction speed and being at the right place at the right time. There’s no magic trick here, you just got to be ready. The problem for me with this one is the fact that I end up taking swings at balls that are way out. As a result I can’t make the hit even if I time it perfectly. It’s just hard not to take the shot because then you run the risk of letting a perfectly good ball get right past you. I never want to lose that way so i just swing and hope for the best. Who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll land a good homer.
Now, while I’m not a big fan of the MLB titles it’s not that all Baseball is low for me. I really liked the Mario Baseball series. Those games were done extremely well. I don’t know why the real ones are so much more difficult for me. I just can’t seem to find my rhythm here and without timing what else do I have? Trust me, it’s no fun to be pitching for 20 minutes as they hit everything or you keep throwing out of bounds. After I hit one player I even ran an experiment to see how many I could knock down. I took down almost half the team and they were still playing and that’s when I realized that I was truly doomed. Ultimately, I did a few more innings but by the 7th I had to retire gracefully. It’s not like I could somehow get 14 more runs in.
The graphics are good. The character models are on point and the game is pretty clear. I have no real issues there and while there isn’t much of a soundtrack the sound effects are real good as well. On a technical level I have no complaints. Even the gameplay while a little confusing doesn’t seem bad. I didn’t notice any glitches and I’m sure there is a trick to playing the game a little better. It wouldn’t be so popular if there wasn’t. Unlike the other sport games this one still feels like getting good is a very far off dream. Never say never though.
In terms of replay value there is definitely a lot for Baseball fans here. You can play a lot of quick games or even get ready to launch a franchise. Each game is unique so you never have to run out of content. The presentation may not be as exciting as some of the other sport games, but it gets the job done and you do feel like you’re in a real game. Batting is the offense of Baseball and so I’d be cool with the game giving us an option to automatically skip the pitching. It’s actually an option in the game so even if it’s not automatic, you can still do that if you really can’t get the hang of throwing the ball like me. I may exercise that feature a bit in the future.
Overall, MLB: 08 The Show may not be for me, but I’m sure fans of the sport will get a real kick out of it. How can you not have fun playing the sport you watch on TV? I have quite a few other Baseball games on the backburner so you can expect more reviews soon.. My personal goal for the next game is to make the score a lot closer than this one was. That shouldn’t be too hard since I got blown out here. We’ll find out one way or the other very soon.
No stats this time!
PS3 Trophies 1/24
It’s time to look at a new MLB game I got recently. It’s one of the few sport titles from EA that I didn’t grow up. I always used to play Football and Basketball and even played a few FIFA titles along the way. However, even though I did own one Baseball game for Gamecube, I just never really played it. As a result, it can be tough to get the controls to this one. Sport games have some of the highest learning curves and this one is no exception. The end result is that the game feels as slow as the real life sport does to me so it doesn’t end up being a very entertaining experience.
Naturally there are quite a few modes here. The main one is the Franchise mode where you go through the entire Baseball season. You’ve really got to love the game to do that though as there are many games to go through. You can do this online as well as you go up against other teams and hope that the players don’t disconnect just as you’re about to win. There are also minigame modes here like the Home Run Contest which I had fun checking out. It’s a bit long though so I recommend shortening the duration in the settings before starting. Fortunately the game does let you fast forward through the mode if you start to get bored.
I hit a ton of Home Runs, but after a while you just want to get back to the game. The problem is that in a normal game I was having a hard time getting any hits. I think I only got a real hit twice. Every other time they would just catch the ball or tag me before I hit the base. Something didn’t feel right about all of that. Baseball is a hard game to adapt for sure and I think EA just doesn’t do it all that well. I enjoy the Mario Baseball games. They may be overly simplified but you quickly know how to hit and pitch. In this game both gameplay modes are so advanced that you’ll need big tutorials on both. I couldn’t find a tutorial mode within the game though, just normal practice.
I just couldn’t pitch a straight ball to save my life. I’d click the pitching button without moving the stick and it would still go out of left field. It seems like you have to take the wind into consideration or something like that, but that’s definitely making things more complicated than they ought to be. Then you’ve got batting where part of it feels luck based. A large part is skill like when to hit the ball, angling, and stuff like that. However, once you hit the ball all bets are off. In Basketball or Football you are largely in control of the game for at least 90% of what happens. RNG is always still around of course, but it won’t be trying to get in your way all that much. As I said, I couldn’t get any hits past the infield. It was crazy!
As always EA does deliver on a technical level though. The graphics are very nice and everything looks quite sharp. You feel like you’re in a real Baseball game. It may not be quite as exciting as their other titles, but Baseball is rarely meant to be a “flashy” game. They just tried to emulate the real thing as best they could and as per usual they succeeded. There are some tunes here, but like their other sport games I rarely notice them as I get caught up in the excitement of the whole thing. Still a nice touch for those who want a little music involved of course.
Also, you can’t deny that the game has a ton of replay value for those who enjoy the sport. You can play the actual games over and over again as you rise to the top. This is especially true since there is an online element here. The title never has to end as every game is fresh. That’s definitely a good thing and I can’t think of any other big Baseball game so EA has really cornered the market here. If you want to play you’ve got to play their way.
Overall, I won’t say that this is a bad game. It’s too technically impressive for that. Still, it’s not my kind of game. At the end of the day it wasn’t all that fun and that holds it back quite a bit. Still, if you like Baseball then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll probably be impressed with how in-depth it is. Hopefully next time the controls are a little more intuitive though. I’d like to be able to just pop it in and play at a reasonable level. At the very least, hopefully I could give the CPU players a run for their money. Until then I need to git gud.