“MLB 12 The Show” only improves on an already best selling franchise. Sony does a great job maintaining the feel of the game that made millions fall in love with it while tweaking a few things to add more realism.
In this version, effects such as weather play a more notable factor. During rainy games, throwing errors are more prevalent and during windy games, the ball reacts to the wind more authentically. This is an obvious difference from prior years, where no matter the conditions the ball will take a basic path when hit. This version also mimics off the bat movements. Balls will slice away from fielders or ground balls that jet through the infield due to a lot of top spin off the bat. The designers held nothing back by including the occasional luck hits due to a ball that hits off a base or the come backer off the pitcher.
Graphics remain top notch in “MLB 12 The Show.” Ballparks remain so authentic that you can almost smell the fresh cut grass in the beginning of the game. They mirror the exact designs, color schemes and dimensions to its real life counterpart. Stadiums where you can occasionally see a plane landing in the background in real life contain that feature as well. Cut scenes showing close ups on players and fans show designers were trying to make virtual clones with details precisely accurate down to the facial hair and facial structures.
The developers of “MLB 12 The Show” did not stray too far away from their formula for success with the game modes. All modes return from last year’s version with the minor addition of an open batting practice where players get a flat out 20 pitches that will feature all of the opponents pitches for both balls and strikes. Road to the Show remains the same game as it has been since the mode debuted. Franchise mode also remains basically the same with the minor adjustment among non-user teams which makes computer-controlled teams more realistic with the way they create the lineups. Other than those minor tweaks, “MLB 12 The Show” took the road of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
The biggest addition of the year is the Pulse Pitching option in the controls which forces the player to rely more of focus and timing to execute perfect pitches. That can be switched off to any of the classic pitching modes and hitting modes can be switched among classic hitting modes as well. Difficulty levels can be adjusted and all three features can be adjusted to create custom difficulties so players of any experience level can play comfortably.
The biggest flaws of “MLB 12 The Show” are two aspects of the game that many may not even notice nor care about. The commentary of the game is boring. Nothing really different from last year’s version. It may even feel like last year’s commentary on this year’s action. Those who focus on what the announcers say most likely will be disappointed for the black and white color commentary. The die-hard players will almost be able to predict what the commentators will say next.
The soundtrack also disappoints. Unlike other sports titles that sport soundtracks that can be legit products in the iTunes market, The Show delivers bland, unimpressive music. Their call to the musical bullpen is clips of commentary for notable events last season such as Justin Verlander’s no-hitter and David Freese’s 3-run triple in game 5 of the World Series.
“MLB 12 The Show” continues to set the bar for baseball games. The constant improvements to gain the most realistic possible feel along with the consistency of game play and game modes gives gamers enough to feel like they have a new game while allowing them to enjoy the same “MLB The Show” that has quickly rose to the top of the baseball gaming charts.