As I settle into the batter’s box, the stadium announcer calls my name, “Now batting, second baseman, Chris Scott.” The pitcher has been throwing first pitch heaters all day and I don’t see any reason for him to switch things up now. He sets himself and begins his windup. The ball releases a little high and sails directly into my zone. I swing and the bat makes solid contact with the ball, sending it deep into centerfield. The centerfielder races backwards but he has no hope, this ball is gone. My 23rd homerun in roughly 100 at bats, if that doesn’t say I am ready for the big leagues, I am not sure what would.
Road to the Show has long been MLB The Show’s shining star and this year’s Vita version is no different. The professional baseball RPG is now more robust than ever, with nice little touches and flourishes that provide the deepest baseball experience available on any handheld. Additional to Road to the Show, it features numerous game modes that will appease any baseball simulation fan in any situation. That said, much like its big brother counterpart, MLB 13 The Show has numerous issues that impair it from being more than the sum of its parts and ultimately something of a letdown.
MLB 13 The Show features cross-save functionality, allowing players to always have their baseball no matter where they may be. But for as cross-functional as the two versions are, visually there is no comparison. The Vita version looks like a Playstation 2 version of the game with more than a few graphical hitches that ultimately impacted my enjoyment. Teams would consistently disappear from the dugouts like they had been beamed up to the mothership, while baserunners would clip through defenders, and all players would occasionally run like they were poorly puppetted marionettes.
These graphical issues are not anything new to Vita sports titles, as Madden suffered many of the same issues. This track record leads me to believe that these issues are resource related to the Vita hardware as opposed to plain shoddy programming. Further credence to this theory is given by the exclusion of many of the presentation flourishes for Playoff mode from the PS3 version, including the finely tuned audio. And as anyone who follows baseball will tell you, the audio is the most important part.
Outside of the presentational issues, MLB 13 The Show has mechanical problems that also plague the title. As explained in our review of the PS3 version of the game, by Tony Odett, Road to the Show mode has been drastically tweaked. Minor league progression is now basically a joke, with everything being a fast track to the majors. However, once you get to the major leagues, your skills drop off the charts. With neither progression being realistic it sucks a lot of the fun out of the experience. Add that to the awful baserunning controls, less than ideal analog controls and some bad AI decision making and you have a baseball game that is fairly flawed at its core.
Still, despite these abundant issues, MLB 13 The Show provides players with mobile baseball action and for some fans, any baseball is better than no baseball. For me though, a more casual baseball fan, I felt disappointed and with so many other great games to play, I feel my season of MLB 13 The Show has already ended.