Like any true red, white and blue American, I love Baseball. There’s nothing like the smell of the fresh cut grass or the feeling of pride when your favorite team takes their first steps onto the field during the season opener. All those feelings came rushing back when I threw my first pitch in MLB The Show 15.
Now let me state that this game is not for the casual video game fan. The mechanics are quite difficult, even on the beginner setting. Pitching is easy to learn but very difficult to master… as is the hitting. Every pitch thrown has a different energy gauge and control bar which decides how close you are to throwing the ball in the exact place and exact way you want it.
Just like in real life, different pitchers have different strengths… so yo have to choose your pitches wisely. You also have to be careful to make sure you have a back up pitcher properly warmed up for when your current pitcher is out of gas or not strong enough to bat, you can send in a substitute hitter.
I made the mistake of sending in a substitute hitter for my pitcher without having him go through the warm up and ended up having the substitute hitter pitching. All he had was a slow ball reminiscent of Doc in Major League 3: Back To The Minors (a baseball movie)… and an even crappier slider. You really have to prep during gameplay or get stranded.
The batting mechanics were very easy to learn but again , it takes a lot of practice to have any chance of getting a base hit. Like in real baseball it all comes down to timing you swing to the pitcher’s throw. If you’re even half a millisecond off, you either tip the ball or embarrassingly miss completely.
A feature which I found very interesting but completely frustrating, was the ability to half swing at a pitch. For those that don’t play baseball this is when you start to swing at a ball, realize it’s a bad pitch and then pull the bat back before the bat passes 50% over the plate. If you have a very keen eye and quick reflexes this can be the difference between an out and a walk. The only frustrating part was that this sometimes happens when you don’t mean it to. If you pull your finger off the button too fast you won’t complete your swing and have no chance of hitting the ball.
Most of the other controls are really quite simple when you work with them. Throwing the ball to every base is button specific and not directional which makes it easier to not make errors. If you want to hit the ball in a certain direction you just press the directional pad in that direction.
The game has 5 different modes–Play now, Franchise, Dynasty mode and road to the show, community challange and mini modes. Franchise allows you to get sponsorships and GM contracts. The fear of failure or losing your contracts makes it seem like your really managing a club.
In Dynasty mode you collect virtual baseball cards that allow you to make a custom made character by feeding him your unwanted collected cards and raising your stats. Road to the show is an RPG style mode that allows you to work your way up from the minors to the big leagues depending on how well you do on the field.
Community Challange mode and Mini modes were actually my favorite. In Community Challange mode you basically try to beat challenges set by friends. The best part about Mini mode is the Home Run Derby. It was nice to just play against friends and see who could drive the most balls over the fence.
The graphics are amazing. The background is so realistic it has an actual moving sun that changes positions through out the day. The only thing missing from this game is the hotdogs, nachos and ice cold beer. But that was easily fixed.