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OS Scores Explained MLB 15 The Show Overview (PS4)
Pros
Directional hitting, franchise mode one of best in sports, beautiful graphics, immersive radio show.
Cons
Too few animations which recycle themselves, bad and boring commentary, changes to pure analog hitting.
Bottom Line
Another step forward for the series, some will fault the game for being too safe, but MLB 15 is a great experience for all baseball fans.
8.5
out of 10
MLB 15 The Show REVIEW

MLB 15 The Show Review (PS4)

MLB 15 The Show has the look, sound and feel of baseball. The Show doesn't do many things great -- part of SCEA's "if it's not broken, don't fix it" unwillingness to take big risks -- but it does just about everything really well. And in a world where games are shipping with just about nothing working as it's supposed to, it's a relief to say that MLB 15 The Show is about as rock-solid as it gets.

As it does every year, this year's iteration focuses on how to move forward without taking any steps back. Little things like improved grass patterns and adding swing animations don't stand out too much at first, but it brings the game's replayability to an all-time high. The same goes with its game modes, where simple changes should go a long way in keeping players invested in their franchise, or Road to the Show.

At the end of the day, MLB The Show is always going to be about the little things. And for this year, at the very least, that seems perfectly reasonable.

Gameplay

The most significant change to gameplay is the all new directional hitting. It still may be a bit early to count it as a success, but it's learning curve gives even the most veteran players a new feature to master. When used properly, there's an overwhelming sense of achievement, as the game isn't afraid to punish you for failure.

The same could be said about everything else in the game. Situational hitting and pitching is once again heart-pounding and sweat-inducing. The odds of making it out alive on an 0-2 count feel so terribly low that sometimes the user is bound to get itself out just by overthinking things. The opposite can be said of hitters counts: there's a general confidence that goes along with being in charge of a count, often winding up in a big hit. This is the dynamic that The Show has mastered over the years, and small tweaks like directional hitting only continue to liven it up.

That being said, there is one rather large, disappointment in terms of gameplay and controls. Pure analog has been practically cut in half, with players no longer being in control of the stride. For a series that prides itself on keeping old control schemes at the benefit of its user's comfort levels, this is a baffling move.

Another issue with MLB 15 The Show is that the same animations pop up far too frequently. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if all of these animations were fresh to the series, but about 90 percent of them have carried over from old titles. Seeing two plays back to back where my 250 pound first baseman makes the same fielding animation as my 170 pound shortstop is an immersion killer.

That said, there's a lot of good to be found in this year's gameplay. Quick counts work better than ever and games can still be completed in about half an hour without having to skip through cutscenes. Fielding A.I. is much improved, with better fielders taking a noticeably better route to balls than poor fielders. All the same, it isn't quite where it needs to be. Players are still far too passive, resulting in more infield singles than there should be.

Presentation

The mark of a good sports title is in its ability to engross its players into its universe. MLB The Show does a pretty good job of that, outside of bland commentary that still feels copy and pasted.

Despite Matt Vasgersian's best efforts, the commentary is still the worst in the sports genre. Karros and Lyons seem uninterested for 95 percent of the game, only to feel like it's Game 7 in October the rest of the 5 percent. Tacky one-liners and repeated lines make for some serious eye-rolling. Ultimately, players are going to want to turn commentary off for a large portion of their games, if not all of them. That said, Mike Carlucci makes his return as public address announcer and he's just as awesome as ever.

Most things related to presentation are much improved, however. For one, the game looks absolutely stunning. Player models aren't quite where they need to be but just about everything else is indistinguishable from real life. Stadiums look nearly perfect, with the only eye-sore being washed out text on some of the backstops. Even fans looks realistic, often having conversations with one another and frequenting the stairway as they go up to get concessions. It is clear from the get-go that SCEA wanted its players to feel more like they're at a baseball game, rather than watching one on television. The lone argument to this is a fantastic looking score bug in the upper-lefthand corner of the screen. That matched with the return of local broadcast camera angles while pitching is enough to make anyone feel right at home.

Equipment junkies will be extremely pleased with this year's game. Authentic gear has finally made its way to The Show and it does so commandingly. Several of baseball's biggest brands (Louisville Slugger, Nike, etc) are in the game and give you a variety of options to freshen up your player's look.

Game Modes

Franchise has slowly tweaked its way into being one of the best, if not the best, in the genre. Improved trade logic and contract signings go a long way, especially when you consider the tighter budgets that every team is working with. Team's are consistently looking to ditch bad contracts while also holding their big-name prospects close to the vest. An all new trade-finder is a nice little time saver for those who can't be bothered to go through every team trying to find the right trade. Though, there are still too few available offers - which is likely just a result of the game's strong trade logic. Teams have constantly changing trade mentalities, and that really comes through in MLB 15 The Show.

The new radio show is well implemented, and the perfect way for The Show to immerse its players into a long franchise. Here, repeated lines seem more more acceptable when you consider the wealth of information that Justin Allegri has to run through on a yearly (and often daily) basis. The biggest moves and previous day's stats are a staple of the show, and it allows players to really sink into the franchise without having to scroll though box scores and transactions every day. Hopefully the show will have a little more variety moving forward, but its a strong start.

Road to the Show doesn't see a lot of changes, but it continues to plop you down onto the baseball field with immense confidence in what it's trying to do. A continuing trend from last year's game, the audio is absolutely fantastic. The crunch of cleats atop the dirt as your player is desperately trying to make it safely to first is an unparalleled experience in the "be a pro" modes in today's sports genre. The commentary is still really bad, and frequently has bad cuts due to the way the mode simulates you forward, but here its easier to justify turning it off all together and just enjoying the sounds of The Show.

Online Play

Online play is much improved, with the sole exception of a still convoluted Online Franchise mode. There is much less lag than in previous years, and in ten online games or so, I haven't had a single one drop due to a bad connection. Online is still far from MLB The Show's strong suit, but it's good to see that SCEA has given it some attention. That said, it's still hard to get a competitive game going with online players. Opponents frequently will do things such as throwing right at your players, throwing all curveballs or sliders, and swinging at everything that moves on the opposite end. This isn't the game's fault, obviously, but it would be nice if there was a better way to connect with players who better intentions. With the rising number of users moving to online play almost exclusively, it seems like a strong bet that the game puts a more heavy focus on online modes in the future.

Bottom Line

MLB 15 The Show might be the perfect example of how small steps forward without changing the core experience is the best way to develop a series. There's little doubt that, sooner rather than later, SCEA is going to have to take some risks. Two years into the development cycle of the PS4, next year's game will have no excuse to have a variety of new additions on top of new animations.

But this year, the one that counts, the game can't be thought of as anything but a success. Fans of baseball are still in great hands with MLB The Show, and that's one thing I don't see changing anytime soon.


Score: 8.5 (Great)


MLB 15 The Show Videos
Member Comments
# 1 RangersCruz @ 04/06/15 02:44 PM
RTTS could use some changes after a season its like back in NBA 2k11 when you win the finals theirs nothing to play for it gets boring real quick with the same stuff over and over

otherwise great review that commentary needs to get some changes
 
# 2 tabarnes19 @ 04/06/15 02:47 PM
I never understand the phrase "take big risks to move forward. "

There isn't a whole lot that I would want to change to enjoy the game.

There is a saying that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Changing some of the game engines radically could destroy what we love about the game.

I'm hoping that they continue to add refinements and build the game modes to the next levels.
 
# 3 ggsimmonds @ 04/06/15 03:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tabarnes19
I never understand the phrase "take big risks to move forward. "

There isn't a whole lot that I would want to change to enjoy the game.

There is a saying that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Changing some of the game engines radically could destroy what we love about the game.

I'm hoping that they continue to add refinements and build the game modes to the next levels.
I agree, it is like wanting change for the sake of change.
 
# 4 BenGerman @ 04/06/15 03:01 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tabarnes19
I never understand the phrase "take big risks to move forward. "

There isn't a whole lot that I would want to change to enjoy the game.

There is a saying that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Changing some of the game engines radically could destroy what we love about the game.

I'm hoping that they continue to add refinements and build the game modes to the next levels.
I think that definitely holds true, most of the time. Big time video games like Counter Strike, Call of Duty, Battlefield, League of Legends, ect. have such a rabid fanbase because the core experience is so good.

The thing about The Show, for me, is that I'd love to see it take the next step forward with animations. I'd even be willing to sacrifice a year for them to get it together. It's less about changing the experience, which I love, and more about changing the way that things unfold.
 
# 5 Lisac @ 04/06/15 03:05 PM
The more i play the game the more i love it! Just wish they didnt mess with the hitting camera or they couldve given us the option to have it on or off (meaning the 1 second or so delay after making contact). if it aint broke dont try to fix it! Def the best Show in years though! Great job as always SCEA!
 
# 6 ajblithe20 @ 04/06/15 03:21 PM
I still laugh when people talk about the commentary being boring and stale. I play countless hours of The Show, NBA 2k, Madden, and NHL every year and it's all the same. All of the commentary in these games gets old rather quickly. I think it's just extremely difficult to get enough lines in and make it dynamic enough to sound like real commentary.

To me, the only way commentary in these games can be bad is if the commentators they use sound really irritating. Gus Johnson annoyed me to no end when he was in Madden ("and he's down... AT THE 19!!").

As for other things mentioned... I love the way they make a lot of steady improvements every year. Each year is always a lot better than the last. I'm hoping the next thing they focus on (aside from game modes, which I think are always improving) is improving the player models. Uniforms/body types/faces/animations (which are getting better). They already added in new skin tones so they may start heading in this direction. MLB 15 will definitely be my go to game until the end of summer at the earliest... just a fantastic baseball sim
 
# 7 RangersCruz @ 04/06/15 03:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajblithe20
I still laugh when people talk about the commentary being boring and stale. I play countless hours of The Show, NBA 2k, Madden, and NHL every year and it's all the same. All of the commentary in these games gets old rather quickly. I think it's just extremely difficult to get enough lines in and make it dynamic enough to sound like real commentary.

To me, the only way commentary in these games can be bad is if the commentators they use sound really irritating. Gus Johnson annoyed me to no end when he was in Madden ("and he's down... AT THE 19!!").

As for other things mentioned... I love the way they make a lot of steady improvements every year. Each year is always a lot better than the last. I'm hoping the next thing they focus on (aside from game modes, which I think are always improving) is improving the player models. Uniforms/body types/faces/animations (which are getting better). They already added in new skin tones so they may start heading in this direction. MLB 15 will definitely be my go to game until the end of summer at the earliest... just a fantastic baseball sim
Well your right it gets boring but no sports game should have the same exact commentary every year
 
# 8 ajblithe20 @ 04/06/15 03:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RangersCruz
Well your right it gets boring but no sports game should have the same exact commentary every year
All of the games I mentioned have some lines that are exactly the same. Sure, The Show may have more repeat lines. Regardless, it all gets old pretty fast. I'd much rather have them focus on other aspects of the game.
 
# 9 Factzzz @ 04/06/15 03:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tabarnes19
I never understand the phrase "take big risks to move forward. "

There isn't a whole lot that I would want to change to enjoy the game.

There is a saying that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Changing some of the game engines radically could destroy what we love about the game.

I'm hoping that they continue to add refinements and build the game modes to the next levels.
A "big risk" that needs to be taken is re-doing player models, if not completely, then adding a lot more details and variety to them as they are now.

That'll help the game "move forward."
 
# 10 RangersCruz @ 04/06/15 03:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajblithe20
All of the games I mentioned have some lines that are exactly the same. Sure, The Show may have more repeat lines. Regardless, it all gets old pretty fast. I'd much rather have them focus on other aspects of the game.
So because it gets old fast it shouldn't improve at all is what you're saying?
 
# 11 ajblithe20 @ 04/06/15 03:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RangersCruz
So because it gets old fast it shouldn't improve at all is what you're saying?
No, I'm saying more important things should take priority. I, personally, don't think commentary should take priority over something like player models or improvements to Franchise or RTTS.

I would love for The Show's commentary to improve, but a lot of people seem to make it a huge deal which I disagree with.
 
# 12 Peter_OS @ 04/06/15 03:45 PM
Great review!

I agree on all the pros and cons.
 
# 13 ajblithe20 @ 04/06/15 03:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Factzzz
A "big risk" that needs to be taken is re-doing player models, if not completely, then adding a lot more details and variety to them as they are now.

That'll help the game "move forward."
Player models are the one thing that still seriously lacks in The Show. Not sure that re-doing them could break any other parts of the game though. It might not even be risky other than using time and resources for that instead of improving something else.
 
# 14 RangersCruz @ 04/06/15 03:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajblithe20
No, I'm saying more important things should take priority. I, personally, don't think commentary should take priority over something like player models or improvements to Franchise or RTTS.

I would love for The Show's commentary to improve, but a lot of people seem to make it a huge deal which I disagree with.
I don't see anybody saying its the most important but unless you're new to the show series you know that it can use some improvement its been the same for a long time
 
# 15 DBMcGee3 @ 04/06/15 03:53 PM
Having been an XBox owner in the past, this is my first real taste of The Show, but I must say I think it's pretty fantastic. I don't like any of the analog control schemes, but with the zone hitting and the pitching meter I love it. I also love the practice modes, they really give you a chance to get in the lab and hone your skills.

I honestly find the commentary to be quite good, but I've only played about 3 full games since getting my grubby little mits on it.
 
# 16 bakan723 @ 04/06/15 04:13 PM
Is fielding still automated with your controls overridden by the cpu ?
 
# 17 BSchwartz07 @ 04/06/15 04:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tabarnes19
I never understand the phrase "take big risks to move forward. "

There isn't a whole lot that I would want to change to enjoy the game.

There is a saying that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Changing some of the game engines radically could destroy what we love about the game.

I'm hoping that they continue to add refinements and build the game modes to the next levels.
While I agree that a complete overhaul isn't necessary this game has gone from an annual purchase to one that I'll buy every 2-3 years. I'd like to see them do something to justify shelling out another $60 each year other than just minor adjustments.
 
# 18 badmrfrosty7 @ 04/06/15 04:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajblithe20
No, I'm saying more important things should take priority. I, personally, don't think commentary should take priority over something like player models or improvements to Franchise or RTTS.

I would love for The Show's commentary to improve, but a lot of people seem to make it a huge deal which I disagree with.
I think that's why they should ditch the idea of redoing the play-by-play commentary / new commentators / lines / etc. because of the work it requires, and instead create segments with replays or stat-overlays (or both!) during the game (similar to batter-pitcher duel breakdowns) and add-in new lines for those specific to each game to make them more unique and immersive.

Lines are always going to get repeated in sports games, so until there's tech out there that can create organic, contextual commentary for game situations, I've always felt the focus on this aspect of presentation should be used to showcase the game itself and the storylines occuring throughout the game.
 
# 19 Mgbleu1986 @ 04/06/15 04:21 PM
Nice review. I too am baffled why they got rid of the stride in pure analog. I thought at first I was doing something wrong or the setting was off. Definitely makes it less realistic in my opinion.
 
# 20 Ronoko @ 04/06/15 04:22 PM
It's surprising to me this game currently stands at 75 at metacritic, but it's still early. I don't see how anyone can play this with all it has to offer and come away thinking it's not at least in the 80s.
 

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