MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got Better

MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got BetterSports games are an annual event. Usually the developers will tweak something here, or add a new feature there, and of course, there is the requisite roster update, but each year it always seems that the new game is just a polished version of the old game, and sometimes, we gamers feel taken advantage of by the game makers for shelling out $60 each year.

MLB: The Show is different. The geniuses at San Diego Studios find a way each season to make each new version of The Show looks, sound and feel new, even if they are guilty of everything I just mentioned. The reason that The Show transcends the scrutiny is because it is, hands down, the best sports game on the market, year after year. And once again, it takes that title in 2013.

MLB13: The Show for the PS3 is a revelation. One of the deepest sports sims actually got deeper, with new modes, a plethora of new features, and the biggest season-to-season polish since the jump to the PS3.

The new Beginner mode is for newbies, and the game holds your hand until you gradually progress, and then The Show 13 adjusts the difficulty to match your natural progression. This gives the game a pick up and play feel that was sorely missing in years’ past.

MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got Better

The new Postseason mode is nice as it allows players to skip right into October and to the World Series, giving dedicated baseball fans something new to relish with delight. Almost all other modes, (franchise, season, Diamond Dynasty and Road to the Show) have all been upgraded or changed, 90% of it for the better.

New hitting trajectories are added to over 550 new fielding, batting, pitching, hitting and running animations. Every aspect of the on-screen player has been tweaked and it works to create an even more realistic experience. Also, a button accuracy meter has been added to fielders, which adds new depth in the fielding mechanics. Hit the meter and wait until the needle goes into the green for the best throw. Certain players have better meters than others, as it should be, and after a game or two, you forget what it was like to play without them.

Nearly everything has been adjusted in The Show 13. In Franchise mode, a team’s success now dictates the following season’s budget. And achieving that success is easier with an all new scouting and training system, which adds emphasis to the human element.

The one downside is that my favorite part of Franchise mode, the team day-to-day management, has been removed. No more setting beer and hotdog prices, or setting up those wacky bobblehead promotion nights to try and raise attendance on a weeknight. Hopefully, San Diego Studios will put this feature back in for next season, as I have already started a letter writing campaign.

MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got Better

Another new feature is called The Show Live, which has real daily games, based on real line-ups and pitching matchups. If my Mariners play the Angels, and the King pitches against Jason Vargas in real life, I can go into The Show Live and play that same game, with that same scenario. It’s a neat side-mode that gives a baseball fan a new way to play this already amazing game.

Also adjusted for the PS3 version of The Show is in the TruBroadcast presentation. The lines between reality and the game continue to blur as the presentation is incredibly lifelike. And each little nuance of a stadium is present, including chants and catcalls from the fans. It’s crazy how life-like this game is getting.

The Road to the Show mode also got a ton of new love. New angles and ball focus give a new perspective to the game. And in-game announcing has been cut to a minimum, so the player can hear the true sounds of the game. I love hearing my base coach’s instructions while on the base paths, and nothing beats cranking a two-run shot over the centerfield wall at The Ballpark in Arlington and hearing boos rain down on me as my footfalls crunch on the infield dirt. I do not miss the repetitive talking heads while playing RTTS at all.

As for the new ball vision, The Show 13 gets as close to first person, without going into full FPS mode. Shagging balls in the outfield now takes some skill and watching the game while on the base paths takes a whole new meaning. Missing a sign, or losing the ball in a play can and will result in bad things. It’s so incredibly realistic that Road to the Show has become my hands down favorite mode.

MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got Better

Speaking of, a new Universal Profile tracks each mode that you play and gives you XP for each game. The mode tallies XP for both the PS3 and the PS Vita version, and it keeps track of all game stats for a players career while playing the game.

Honestly, I can go on and on with all of the new features of The Show 13, and still not tell you everything. There is a cross-platform Home Run Derby, meaning players can compete whether they are on a PS3 or a PS Vita, and Diamond Dynasty has been upgraded and overhauled from the ground up and is now easier to understand and get into and play.

Steve Lyons joins Matt Vasgersian and Eric Karros in the announcers booth, but as I said in my MLB 13: The Show PS Vita review you can barely tell, as he sounds too much like Eric Karros, or vice versa.

MLB13: The Show is the best sports game I have ever played. It’s arguably the best sports game on the market. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, there is something in this game for you. Road to the Show is essentially a sports RPG. The Home Run Derby is just that, a competition that takes the best part of baseball, the long ball, and celebrates it. And the Move controller is a godsend when you have friends over. It’s a guaranteed good time, with or without Move support. And each time I boot up the game, I see or discover something new that makes me scratch my head in bewilderment at the sheer amount of love that San Diego Studios has crammed into this game.

Seeing what they did with this game, the last one in the PS3 generation, I can barely wrap my head around what San Diego Studios have in store for the PS4 next season. One thing is certain; it will be an amazing game. It always is.

MLB 13: The Show was reviewed for Playstation 3 and provided by Sony Computer Entertainment America. It is also available for PS Vita.

Shop for MLB 13: The Show on PS3 or PS Vita for a discounted price at (March 5, 2013 release date).

MLB 13: The Show PS3 Review: The Best Got Better

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