Last year, Sony took baseball games to new heights with MLB ’09 The Show. It was by far the best baseball game available on the market, and I eagerly awaited this year’s installment to see how they would improve on the tried and true formula that was so much fun last year. Unfortunately, MLB ’10 is something of a mixed bag. It does improve upon last year’s game, but only by a fraction.
The gameplay was already spot on, so it was nice to see that rather than try to tinker with something that already was working very well they tried to improve the aspects of the game that didn’t work as well. In order to hit or throw the ball, all you need to do is simply press the X button. The longer you hold it down, the harder you throw it. This old, yet simple mechanism is far more enjoyable than trying to hit or throw the ball by flailing the right thumbstick (I’m looking at you, MLB 2K10).
The franchise mode is one of the deepest I’ve ever seen in a sports game, and should satisfy almost any fan of sports simulations. You can control everything from the players on your 40-man roster to the regular season draft. You can control what kind of advertising your team has; how much you spend on scouting, training, and medicine; even what stalls and vendors you have in your stadium and how much they charge! There’s a rule 5 draft you can participate in, salary arbitration, waiver wires, anything you can associate with professional baseball is in the Franchise Mode (except for the steroids and work stoppages, they left those out). All of this is great and amazing to find in a baseball game, but none of it is new.
The next mode you should check out is the Road to the Show mode. This is where you create your own rookie player, customizing everything about him you could ever imagine, and then enter the draft. After being drafted by a team, you’ll get sent to AA with the goal of improving both your in-game stats, and your overall stats. Each game you’ll get points to upgrade your player based on how well you played. All of this is old hat for The Show series, the only real addition to this mode is the ability to play as a catcher and call the games for your team. Sony claims that you’ll get points based on how well you call the game, but from my time with it, I never noticed any penalty for calling a bad game, or a benefit for calling a good one. If you’ve been wanting to play as a catcher, then this is there for you, but I preferred not being held responsible for every pitch in the game.
As far as playing MLB ’10 online, it definitely plays better than MLB 2K10 does, largely due to the better controls. It does have a little bit of lag, but it is noticeably better than MLB ’09 was. MLB ’09 was unplayable online, while MLB ’10 is easily playable, you’ll just need to get used to a little bit of lag between pressing a button and the action happening on screen.
This year, they also added a Home Run Derby to the mix. In the Home Run Derby, you can select almost as many competitors as you want, then duke it out elimination style. The top half of the field will advance every round until a winner is crowned. It’s not a huge addition, but it’s the only mode that more than 2 people can play at the same time.
Graphically, MLB ’10 is the best looking baseball game available. The players are very detailed and the stadiums look exactly like the real ones, right down to the smallest detail. However, the commentary isn’t as good as it is for the 2K series. I like the voices better in The Show, but the variety of comments just isn’t there.
In the end, MLB ’10 The Show is the best baseball game out right now. It may not make a lot of changes or additions to last year’s model, but sometimes improving a proven concept is a better idea than making changes for the sake of change.
Pros: Graphics are gorgeous and almost realistic; Controls are responsive and simple; Road to the Show is addictive; Franchise mode is best out there
Cons: Online play is still laggy
Plays Like: MLB ‘09