CGR Undertow – MLB 14: THE SHOW review for PlayStation 3


I don’t like winter, my feelings are well-documented
on that particular subject. But fortunately, there’s a place where the boys of summer
play all year long, where the magic of a warm June evening at the ballpark never fades,
and the hope of April springs eternal. That place is the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately,
it’s also a place where you can’t drink the water. So instead, we have MLB 14: The Show. Actually, I think I’ll take my chances with
the killer water. So I can only assume I’m part of a very
small group that loves baseball, absolutely lives for baseball, but is totally bored by
modern baseball video games. Like, you know how people think baseball is boring? That’s
exactly how I feel about these modern baseball video games. It’s like they’re made by
the people who think baseball is boring. Like, they somehow snuck into the building, and
they’re like, “Oh, let’s made it slow and cumbersome.” See, they don’t get the peanuts and Cracker
Jack. And all the magic I talked about earlier.
Baseball is magic. Baseball games have turned into science textbooks. But fortunately, with
MLB 14, you can skip the reading and just get to the magic. So when I started up MLB 14, the first thing
I was greeted by was a screen with a question. Beginner controls, or advanced controls. Basically,
play it like RBI Baseball, or play like the science book version. Thanks, MLB 14, you
can keep the science book. And after that, it was smooth sailing. Definitely
a fan of the game offering a simpler option for those of us who aren’t interested in
the overly complicated options. One gripe, though—when you pick beginner, you should
still make plays. With The Show, you just hit and pitch. That one issue aside, though…it was awesome. Seriously, it was like playing RBI Baseball,
only with all the awesome stuff about modern baseball games, like the gorgeous graphics
and the broadcast-quality presentation. I mean, this is obviously a matter of preference.
Some people like the simulation-type controls and features, and that’s fine. But for people
like me, it takes you out of the game. I want to jump in and play, and hit doubles. And
I did that, I jumped on Adam Wainwright like he was my bitch. And that’s awesome. So
with simpler hitting, I had a blast with the gameplay. Especially because I really like the pitching.
Pitching in this game is just awesome, ‘cause you really get to carve up the strike zone.
Picking your pitches and your spots, and executing them correctly…that’s where The Show gets
it right. This feels like real pitching, without being too complicated, like the hitting mechanics
usually are. This is a lot of fun. Feature hounds should be happy to know all
the usuals are included here. More game modes than I could ever imagine a person actually
using. Exhibition play, season play, postseason play, franchise play…you can do the “create
a player” thing, and get him from the minors all the way to the World Series…and lots
of online options, too. Even the franchise mode is online. So there’s no shortage of ways to play this
thing. Like I said, if anyone complains about the features or modes here, I’ve got to
think they’re just nitpicking. Because honestly, who even needs this many modes? This is ridiculous. There aren’t this many ways to play real
baseball. Speaking of real baseball, though…I mean,
the presentation in these games is getting crazy close to real baseball. Like, if you
squint, there are times when this game looks and sounds like a real TV broadcast. And that’s
insane. Like, you could nitpick about things, but…generally, the game’s gorgeous. Of
course, it’s more gorgeous on PS4, but the content’s the same. So even on last-gen hardware, you’re still
getting the same game. And I have to imagine that’s gonna change
soon, so enjoy it while it lasts. Overall, though…I mean, as someone who doesn’t
play these games religiously, I always have that feeling of “been there, done that”
with these annual sports games. No matter how hard I try, I can’t shake that feeling
of, “Oh, so this is the same as last year’s game, maybe a little prettier, with updated
rosters and a couple tweaks to a couple modes.” And as much fun as I had playing MLB 14…especially
playing it now, when it’s goddamn snowing…I don’t know, it just felt like another really
good version of The Show. Nothing too special or unique or magical. Nothing I haven’t
really seen or done before. Except maybe the sun. Which I haven’t seen in months now. If you
long for the days of summer, hey…it’s MLB 14: The Show. It’s a great game of baseball,
but let’s be honest, it’s also the only one in town. And when there’s no one to
play against…I mean, how good can you really get?

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