MLB 14: The Show (PS4) Review: A Home Run

We intentionally waited for today to roll out our MLB 14: The Show (PS4) review because of the Fourth of July holiday. I mean, baseball and fireworks are meant to go together, and The Show 14 delivers fireworks in spades. It is the first game in the series built from the ground up for new gen, and the care and love that San Diego Studios put into this thing is evident from the very opening.

I mention that, because the game opens with an homage to HBO’s Game of Thrones, but instead of King’s Landing and Winterfell rising up from nothing, we are treated to baseball stadiums, these cathedrals to America’s pastime, and as the camera zips all over North America, each stadium accompanied by in-game footage of that team’s star players and with real audio taken from real games during the 2013 season, we know, from the very start, that this is a new ballgame.

In my The Show 14 (PS3) review, I broke down all of the new features that San Diego Studios has jammed into this game, including new dynamic difficulty, which keeps the game challenging to the players based on a metric of that players ability. If you are new, the game keeps you at rookie, to you are a seasoned veteran, the difficulty amps up. It’s intuitive and takes the headache of trial and error  with the sliders out of the equation.

Another new set of features are the player lock and quick counts. This is designed to speed the game up, and it does, by giving the player the option to play a game as a single player, which means usually four at-bats and some fieldwork, depending on the position. Whole games can last 10 minutes and you still get the feeling that you played.

For quick counts, the game creates pitching scenarios, such as starting an at-bat four pitches in and with a count of 3-1. Taking four pitches away (in this example) gives you the full game experience without the time involved to select a pitch, wind up, and toss. It does save time and full games can be played in 30 minutes.

The Show 14 has also changed up the Road to the Show mode by creating the Topps Showcase. Now, created players will play in a three game series against different regions to show the scouts their stuff, and then that player is drafted based on that performance. You can also opt to have your favorite team just draft you, but it takes the fun out waiting out the draft to hear your name called.

All of this is important as now, your created character will follow the series each year without having to be rebuilt. This is new, and obviously I can’t speak too much on it until next year, but the idea is very welcome.

What really makes MLB 14: The Show (PS4) stand out is in the graphics. San Diego Studios went crazy with the added power and you can see it everywhere. Crowds in the stadiums are teeming with activity and there are now a thousand fan character models. When your team is hot, the crowd responds in kind and you can actually feel that excitement.

The PlayStation 4’s power is also on full display in the player models. Strands of hair in the player’s beards are now singled out and even facial emotions can be seen. Their eyes are still soulless, tough, but what do you expect? More stances, swings, and even pitching motions have been added and The Show 14 just pops off the screen like a real-life baseball game. This also translates into the character creator, as now the sliders have more detail, and you can make your created player look as lifelike as possible. It’s kind of creepy to see ME come to bat, and not just an overweight bald guy who swings at nearly every pitch.

Lastly, the stadiums have all been upgraded with the new power. Skylines are more alive and little stadium nuances, like a ripple in the covering of a padded outfield wall are all there. I have never felt more into a baseball game than I have playing The Show 14.

Sony and San Diego Studios needed extra time to create the PlayStation 4 version of MLB 14: The Show, and that time was well spent. My love for this game knows no bounds, and my PS3 copy is now very, very lonely. This is the definitive sports game on the PS4 and a must-have for any baseball fan, and fans of sports games in general. It’s feature loaded and just looks so lifelike that it’s easy to forget that you’re playing a video game. I’m not sure where San Diego Studios can go from here, but they’ve continued to tweak each tittle year in and year out, and only the sky is the limit.

MLB 14: The Show was reviewed on PS4 and purchased at retail. It is now available for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita.

MLB 14: The Show PS4
out of 5

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