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OS Scores Explained MLB 11 The Show Overview (PS3)
Pros
Analog controls deepen game, superb graphics and gameplay, small updates are meaningful.
Cons
Sluggish online play, bugs in Franchise mode, Repetitive animations and commentary.
Bottom Line
The Show is back and better than ever.
8.5
out of 10
MLB 11 The Show REVIEW

MLB 11 The Show Review (PS3)

We recently changed how we do our reviews. Read about the new process here, then check out the new scoring guidelines and revised scoring rubric.

Article 1: Initial Impressions
Article 2: Initial Online Impressions
Article 3: Mid-Review Update
Article 4: Franchise and Road to the Show Impressions


If you have played an earlier version of The Show, you will feel right at home with the 2011 iteration. Things like the opening music and splash screen, or the commentary and in-game animations remain largely familiar. And to some, that will translate -- understandably -- to a feeling of staleness.

However, if you can remove that particular context from the equation, you will discover one of the deepest, most accurate and fun sports simulations available today.

Gameplay

The biggest addition -- and the best argument against anyone calling this a $60 roster update -- is the addition of analog controls. I broke down why I liked this innovation in my initial impressions article, and after a week, my opinion has not changed. This new control system effectively changes more than just the way you input your actions. It makes you think a bit more, which heightens the tactical and decision-making elements of baseball.

Outside of the analog controls, fielding has been improved to better take into account player ratings. Small additions, like balks and fake throws, may not be used that often, but certainly push the game closer to the real thing. And I find things like hit variety and CPU AI to be as good or better than they were in the past. All said, this game is a challenge and a joy to play.



Online

As good as the gameplay is offline, it’s almost that bad online, at least in the first week. My experiences have not been good so far, and I have not seen much improvement since then. The game just seems to play differently online, especially while batting.

Additions to online modes include exhibition co-op and weekly challenges, but I don’t see myself spending much time with these additions, and they certainly don’t make up for poor player-vs-player gameplay.

(Ed. note -- we will be taking a closer look at co-op and the new league additions at a later date. It's more time-intensive than what we could do in just the first week.)

Presentational Realism

This is the area that probably gets the most criticism from the OS community, and it's not without reason. Not much has changed for at least three years in this area, outside of Eric Karros. Still, it is good presentation, with real-time cameras, nice replays and on-point (if repetitive) commentary.

The biggest addition, in my mind, is the custom camera editor and broadcast cameras. I detailed my feelings about these things in the mid-review update article, but just to reiterate, broadcast cameras help make the game feel more authentic while the camera editor helps tailor the experience to the user. Here’s hoping this feature becomes an industry standard.

Simulation Realism

While every sports season can play out differently, the few I simmed looked pretty good at the end. Most player stats were in line with their 2010 numbers, with some breakout or slump years scattered in, too. In one sim, Zach Greinke ran away with the NL Cy Young and MVP, while veterans, like Jimmy Rollins, continued a slow decline.

On a game-to-game basis, the numbers also hold up pretty well. Personally, I strike out too much and give up too many hits, but that should get better as I play more and eventually fiddle with sliders. On the default Expert mode, I am challenged and end up with around 6-12 hits. Pitch counts seem sound as well, and I tend to burn out my pitchers faster than the CPU.

Dynasty/Career

Franchise mode is still a great mode to play, but it has not been significantly upgraded. In addition, it is held back by some seemingly bad trade logic, call up/down problems and a crippling free agency bug that has been detailed in painstaking detail by our amazing users (a patch is in the works for this issue, according to Sony). However, it does contain some nearly text-sim-level options, including arbitration and a Rule 5 Draft.

Road to the Show, on the other hand, is much different, and for the better. The new scoring system is more indicative of your overall performance instead of merely outcomes. The training exercises are also beneficial and fun to play. However, the load times make this mode a tough one to jump in and out of at a moment's notice.

Final Thoughts

MLB 11: The Show is not a perfect game. Clearly there are some issues while playing online and within Franchise mode, and some might still argue that the series is starting to feel stale. However, it is this writer’s opinion that this game is a significant upgrade from the already stellar MLB 10. What is still the same is usually still very good. What has been changed -- analog controls, RttS, broadcast cameras, etc. -- helps to make this version of The Show the best yet on the PS3.

It might not be a Halladay perfect game, but it's at least a one-hit complete game shutout.


Learning Curve: The analog controls will take some getting used to, but they are worth the time. The practice drills help ease the learning curve.

Control Scheme: It took SCEA a while to implement the analog controls, but for the most part, they are simple to grasp, effective at creating authenticity and fun to use.

Visuals: Superb lighting, improved player models and dynamic weather make this one of the best looking sports games on any platform.

Audio: The commentary is not bad, it just gets repetitive. I love that custom audio is now more configurable than ever.

Stadiums: They look great, and the individualized broadcast cameras make each one feel a bit different, too.

Animations: You will occasionally see the same one too many times in one game. But, separately, they are well done. Even the cut scenes and player interaction before and during games are nice. Clipping is still a bit of a graphical issue.

Score: 8.5 (Great)


MLB 11 The Show Videos
Member Comments
# 1 DickDalewood @ 03/16/11 01:55 PM
Good, fair review. This is probably the best baseball game I've ever played, if not sports game period, but I think an 8.5 is a completely reasonable score, based on what's great about this title (visuals, gameplay, controls), and the not so great (repetitive commentary mainly).
 
# 2 HustlinOwl @ 03/16/11 02:02 PM
Why with every review no matter which site when discussing presentation they never include "Sounds of the Show"? It by far blows any other sports game away in the customization and for the most part makes commentary not needed. I would much rather have my mid inning sounds (broadcast/stadium), cheers, heckles, themes, HR music, team win/loss music pretty much everything there over commentary any day. Great review, game is by far the best to date.
 
# 3 ChaseB @ 03/16/11 02:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HustlinOwl
Why with every review no matter which site when discussing presentation they never include "Sounds of the Show"? It by far blows any other sports game away in the customization and for the most part makes commentary not needed. I would much rather have my mid inning sounds (broadcast/stadium), cheers, heckles, themes, HR music, team win/loss music pretty much everything there over commentary any day. Great review, game is by far the best to date.
Mentioned it in the audio section at the end of, if it makes you feel any better: "The commentary is not bad, it just gets repetitive. I love that custom audio is now more configurable than ever."
 
# 4 Knight165 @ 03/16/11 02:09 PM
So true HO...so true.
For all the guff the presentation and commentary receives....adding in your own SOTS is tremendous IMO.
Plus....with this year in franchise...the amount that they comment on previous games in the "standard" commentary is great IMO and while not an "upgrade" per se...it is pretty nice.

That being said...fair review...and I agree with most points in it.

M.K.
 
# 5 ChaseB @ 03/16/11 02:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelman990
Despite being perhaps the best sports game currently available, The Show will not be the highest rated sports game for another year. 8.5 seams harsh, and when you consider the fact there will be 2 football games this year that i am sure will get better scores, and wont be superior......it seams even more harsh.

While the review score is just a number....its the first thing that pops up in this review...and the main thing that gets talked about. Therefore, it is in fact the bottom line. Based on a 8.5 review score, it would suggest to me personally that MLB 11 is a worse game then last year, or at the very least has made no improvements, or is behind other games moving forward......Just my opinion.
Review process and scoring has changed since last year. Show ended up with the same score as it did last year, which really means it's actually better. It's just that our editorial guidelines changed as well.
 
# 6 DickDalewood @ 03/16/11 02:18 PM
I will still say that I like the commentary in this game though... great laid back baseball feel to it. Personally, I just think it needs MORE lines, and a little more back and forth. It would also be cool to get a more broadcast type highlight show and player of the game highlight reel at the end.

Personally, while I understand the review score, I'd still give this game a 9/9.5. It's just flat out awesome.
 
# 7 born_bad @ 03/16/11 02:36 PM
If Madden 11 got a 9 than this score seems wrong. This game objectively does baseball "stuff" better than Madden does football "stuff," so in no universe does it make sense to me that the Show gets a lower score than Madden. If it's something to do with a new review system, that system is flawed.

On a site "dedicated to sports gaming" these sports games should be comparted to each other, too. In that regard, the Show is much higher on the mountain looking down at other sports games and should be graded as such.
 
# 8 HustlinOwl @ 03/16/11 03:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight165
So true HO...so true.
For all the guff the presentation and commentary receives....adding in your own SOTS is tremendous IMO.
Plus....with this year in franchise...the amount that they comment on previous games in the "standard" commentary is great IMO and while not an "upgrade" per se...it is pretty nice.

That being said...fair review...and I agree with most points in it.

M.K.
also overlooked ticker for in season games as well
 
# 9 GrandMaster B @ 03/16/11 03:13 PM
Have still yet to see a cloudy day or rain in a game and I am more than 3 weeks into season.
 
# 10 econoodle @ 03/16/11 03:18 PM
C,

great review.

if i had to sum up the Show in one word it would be 'stale'

to the uninitiated its the same game.

My girl saw me cue it up and asked why I was playing 10.
SInce she doesn't play games it probably doesnt matter, but it goes to show that it does need a refresh, front end, splash screen , commentary, if someone who doesnt play it thinks its the same version as last year.

the first two wont take up any dev time and really need to change for 12.

I dont know how much longer I can go with 10! lol

Also, the devs need to do what the y did last year when they watched MLB.tv to get the camera angles for all 30 teams, and do that with overlay design, stats and presentation.

then you have the sports game of the year.

till then it still feels too familiar.
 
# 11 econoodle @ 03/16/11 03:19 PM
Also, neglecting franchise and now seeing these major problems crop up should be a lesson to SCEA that Ian Cummings admitted to learning last year, that no mode should go untouched.
 
# 12 SeerMagicX @ 03/16/11 03:29 PM
no mention about 3D? It adds a ton to the game.
 
# 13 mike24forever @ 03/16/11 03:54 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by born_bad
If Madden 11 got a 9 than this score seems wrong. This game objectively does baseball "stuff" better than Madden does football "stuff," so in no universe does it make sense to me that the Show gets a lower score than Madden. If it's something to do with a new review system, that system is flawed.

On a site "dedicated to sports gaming" these sports games should be comparted to each other, too. In that regard, the Show is much higher on the mountain looking down at other sports games and should be graded as such.
You should be banned!! Read the new review process!
 
# 14 nemesis04 @ 03/16/11 03:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by econoodle
Also, neglecting franchise and now seeing these major problems crop up should be a lesson to SCEA that Ian Cummings admitted to learning last year, that no mode should go untouched.
Why? Just to say you looked at it? Much rather see each individual mode addressed fully in a cycle rather then the buckshot approach of trying to partially address 5.
 
# 15 Russell_SCEA @ 03/16/11 03:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by econoodle
Also, neglecting franchise and now seeing these major problems crop up should be a lesson to SCEA that Ian Cummings admitted to learning last year, that no mode should go untouched.
Franchise mode wasn't neglected we have limited resources and limited time. Can't revamp every mode every year. RTTS needed some love as Franchise mode received a large portion of the resources the previous two years.
 
# 16 ras95 @ 03/16/11 04:11 PM
has there been a full minors roster upped on for the show?
 
# 17 nemesis04 @ 03/16/11 04:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giants4Natic
But Nem that avatar is about the best I have seen....Good job
It is from the pic and vid thread. 42 cropped it for me to make it into an avatar.
 
# 18 DJ @ 03/16/11 04:26 PM
Good, fair review. I'm a big fan of this game (I wrote my own review just for fun), even though I am struggling out of the gates with the Analog controls.

For those comparing this score to prior years', that argument doesn't hold up because as Chase and others have mentioned, OS completely re-vamped its review system.
 
# 19 NAFBUC @ 03/16/11 05:02 PM
Con: Repetitive animations and commentary.

Disagree with repetitive aniamations. You can play all year and not see all the different animations. If you are talking about the batter stepping out of the box and flicking the dirt, that is a very poor example and has little to do with the total package. Plus you can always hit your button to bypass.

Visuals and animations are a 10 for The Show.

Commentary has been improved from last year. Maybe not a strong point, but certainly not a con.
 
# 20 torpidbeaver @ 03/16/11 06:55 PM
Given the author had an entire extra week to write a review, that was pretty skimpy. Fair, but skimpy.
 

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