One theme was repeated in reviews of last year's MLB 09: The Show--for many, it was the best console baseball game they'd ever played. I felt much the same way--even as an at-best lukewarm baseball fan, I don't think I've played anything that felt as complete or engaging as last year's game (sorry MVP Baseball fans). Still, I was reluctant to call it the best console baseball game of all time--if only because I knew Sony would be working hard to top itself with this year's MLB 10: The Show. Now that Sony has released its full fact sheet for MLB 10, we have a complete picture of just what the development team will be stuffing into the game when it arrives later this year.
Certainly not everything on this features list is essential, but when you think about it, that's exactly why The Show has earned its reputation as a standout sports series: a compelling mix of big, back-of-the-box features with tiny details and refinements that are tuned perfectly for diehard baseball fans. You can find the full fact sheet for MLB 10 below, but first, here are some thoughts on the features I'm most looking forward to.
Catcher Improvements -- One of my biggest gripes with MLB 09 was catcher AI. In short, the AI catchers called crap games. Playing as a starting pitcher in my Road to the Show career, it quickly became apparent to me that the only way I would succeed would be to ignore my catcher altogether and throw the pitches I wanted, where I wanted to throw them. With MLB 10, it sounds like improvements have been made across season mode, RTTS, and exhibition games. While playing as a catcher in RTTS mode sounds interesting--thanks to a dedicated camera angle and the ability to block wild pitches--my main hope is that I can trust the guy behind the plate when I'm on the mound.
New Training Drills -- Finally, the pitchers get some love here. I've spent enough time putting my overweight hurler in meaningless batting drills--now it's time to get him on the mound and give his rocket of a right arm a workout. In addition to new fielding drills, there are two pitching drill types--knockout and simulated game. Simulated game sounds like it might be a bit time-consuming, but if the performance rewards are worth it, I'll be up there, slinging away.
Road to the Show 4.0 -- There's good news and bad news in the new RTTS feature set. Bad news? You'll start in AA ball this year and will need to earn your spot in spring training. Also, you won't be able to continue your RTTS career from MLB 09, which means I'll have to start my pitcher's long road to Cooperstown all over again. The good news: streamlined game speed that will let you watch as much or as little of the game as you like, a mistake-tracking system that keeps tabs on your baseball fundamentals (like whether or not you cover the correct base on a grounder), and deep pitcher/batter stat-tracking during your RTTS career.
Online Play -- While this one isn't specifically important to me--I seldom go online with The Show--I know that enough players complained about the series' spotty online performance in the past to include it here. Hopefully the MLB 10 team has listened to its fans and truly made the online play as smooth as the sport of baseball demands.
Little Things -- Here's where MLB gets it right, a laundry list of gameplay snippets and improvements that I can't wait to experience:
• Upgrades to the throwing meter that will reflect each player's arm strength based on attributes.
• Ground ball friction will provide more realistic bounces
• Ball collision improvements now enable the ball to bounce off of any part of the batter's body (or off the pitcher for comebackers). If you dive for a ball and miss it, the ball can be smothered, kicked, and deflected, and all outcomes follow real-life ball physics.
• A new movie maker where you can select multiple replays to add and edit to a single movie.
MLB 10: The Show Fact Sheet
The long awaited Home Run Derby® leads the deep features list in MLB 10 The Show for the PS3. Fully implemented in the season modes and available as a stand alone feature, Home Run Derby follows the current MLB rules and flow. The MLB®All-Star Futures Game™ will also be available within season modes in its correct timeframe (just before the Home Run Derby), as well as fully functional online leagues.
Additional new features for the PS3 game include “Catcher Mode,” the ability to call the game as the catcher, select pitches, and be the ultimate field general, just like Joe Mauer. MLB 10 The Show will also offer daytime transitional lighting, a newly added “Movie Maker” menu giving the user the ability to select multiple replays to add to and edit a single movie, and 11 new stadiums. Five new Minor League stadiums will be introduced, as well as a selection of classic parks available on the PS3 for the first time including Forbes Field, Crosley Field, The Polo Grounds, Shibe Park, Sportsman Park, and Griffith Staduim.
Online multiplayer has vastly improved this year to bring more of that competitive fire out amongst friends. First and foremost, the game will detect and respond better to adverse network conditions and bandwidth has been reduced to help the speed and flow of online gameplay. Along with the core online league play, where gamers can customize leagues including choosing players, teams, and length of schedule, MLB 10 The Show will now offer fullyfunctional online season leagues! The new online season leagues will save anddisplay MLB Player stats, track player energy, allow for trades/injuries, and offer 40-manroster functionality. Alongside this will be weekly live roster updates, available every week throughout the entire MLB season, trackingroster changes, addition of new MLB players (with correct attributes), and player attribute updates to reflect hot and cold streaks.
Lastly, The Show will offer the ability to view every game you've ever played online, complete with opponents, box scores, and game logs. There is simply no better place to turn up the smacktalk and settle a little baseball rivalry than playing it out online in The Show The gameplay in The Show has been enhanced considerably with improved logic, animations and presentations resulting in a wider variety of hit types (including more choppers), improved ground ball friction, improved run down logic, and upgrades to the Throwing Meter, which will reflect each player’s arm strength based on attributes. The ground ball friction will provide more realistic bounces and ground balls getting by the corner infielders when hit down either foul line allowing for extra bases when the ball rattles around in the left and right field corners. Ball collision improvements now enable the ball to bounce off of any part of the batter's body and take the correct trajectory after impact. If you dive for a ball and miss it, the ball can be smothered, kicked, and deflected, all outcomes following real life ball physics.
Comebackers to the mound can deflect off the pitcher’s body who can then turn a great looking 1-6-3 double play. We have also added the always popular 3-6-3 double play, ability to rob HRs, dives, sliding catch plays, tumbles, rolls, over running bases, getting caught on a pick-off move when leaning the wrong way, base runner line drive reactions, multiple levels of check swings, and umpire reviews of HRs hit down the foul lines (they can get reversed!)—all new aspects of the gameplay those not only looks great, but feel right.
MLB 10 The Show once again raises the overall level of detail and realism from customizable fan chants, to jumbotron animations, to crowd atmosphere. Not to be outdone, stadium ambiance will be improved with the addition of HR/splash counters, fireworks, steam, noisemakers, towels, thunder sticks, crowd reaching over the rails, and crowd detail, such as interaction with vendors and placing Ks. Mascots are also available for all teams and each will show off signature moves throughout the game.
The popular “Road to The Show” mode returns with version 4.0 featuring the addition of two new interactive training modes, new settings, and new presentations. Interactive training will consist of a set of mini-games designed to improve a player’s fielding and pitching ability, adding to last year's introduction of batting and base running training. In Road to The Show users will also have the new Game Watch and Game Completion options which allow the player to set how much of the game they wish to view. “Franchise Mode” also returns to the game, including the 40-man roster, salary arbitration, waiver transactions and September call-ups. Due to hit stores in March 2010, just in time for Spring Training, as the only officially licensed first party videogame exclusively for the PlayStation®3 (PS3™), PlayStation®2, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), and the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) go, MLB 10 The Show is prepared to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for all fans, new and old.
NEW FEATURES IN MLB 10 THE SHOW
• All-Star Break (includes Home Run Derby® and MLB® All-Star Futures Game™) (PS3) – The long-awaited return of Home Run Derby will take place in MLB 10 The Show for PS3. Fully implemented in our season modes and available as a stand-alone mode, Home Run Derby follows the MLB rules and flow. The MLB® All-Star Futures Game™ will also be available within season modes in its correct timeframe (just before the HR Derby). See if your Road to The Show player is invited to either the Home Run Derby or the Futures Game!
• Catcher Calling the Game (PS3) – The catcher will play a bigger role in season modes, Road to The Show, and exhibition games. Thecatcher will give a sequence of signs and users will have the ability to change theirindicator.Specifically for Road to The Show, the feature will allow a catcher to calling the game. This featurewill give a new level of control to the catcher where he will have responsibility to selectpitches and position himself to block balls that are in the dirt or wild. Catcher in RTTS has its own new camera view
• Online Gameplay Improvements (PS3) – This year, the online gameplay experience has been improved a great deal as the game will detect and respond better to adverse network conditions along with reduced bandwidth to help the speed and flow of online gameplay.
• User Controlled Pick-offs (PS3) – Want to surprise a base runner with a quick move or lull him to sleep? The new pickoff mechanism will now allow users to choose from a quick, casual, or deceptive pick-off type. In exhibition, season, and Road to The Show modes, you have the ability to decide which move you want to make as a pitcher. As a base runner in Road to The Show you now have to pick up on the pitcher’s move or get thrown out leaning!
• Custom Music, Fan Yells, and Chants – New to The Show this year, users can now assign music or a recording to an entire team, not just a player. Edit tracks to assign batter walk-up music or record your own voice and assign it to play for the team or player during the situation of your choice.
• Movie Maker (PS3) – Newly added is the Movie Maker menu within the Pause Menu. This will give the userthe ability to select up to ten replays to add to a single movie and do all their editing fromthis menu. The user will now be able to start recording their movie on a newly createdtimeline and then pause their movie, choosing different camera angles of theirplays.
• New Stadiums (PS3) – MLB 10 The Show will offer 11 new stadiums. In addition to all current MLB stadiums, five new Minor League venues are available, as well as classics parks now be available on the PS3 for the first time. The classic stadiums include Forbes Field,Crosley Field, Polo Grounds, and Griffith Stadium.
• New Fielding and Pitching Training Modes/Practice Drills (PS3) – In MLB 10 The Show users will have the ability to choose from two new interactive training/practice modes. The additions of pitching and fielding training sessions round out the Road to The Show training suite. Fielding training will consist of two types of training focus on the user's throwing with the new throw meter and focus on a combination of throwing and decision-making. Pitching training will have two options—Knockout and Simulated Game, both focusing on control and accuracy, with goals provided for each session. These training modes will extend to practice modes for both fielding and pitching and are a perfect way to polish and improve your baseball skills in The Show!
• Road to The Show Version 4.0 (PS3) – Road to The Show (RTTS) 4.0 features the additions of two new option settings; RTTS Game Watch and RTTS Game Completion, that allow users to set how much of the game they wish to view. With settings of All Pitches, All Fielding, Result Play, and Off, user's will have the choice to view every pitch of the entire game, or trim the viewing down to just the result pitch. Users will now start their career in AA and will have to earn their spot in Spring Training. In order to enforce good fundamental baseball, two new systems have been implemented. The first is a mistake tracking system that will keep tabs on how users play the game and will penalize for throwing to the wrong base, not covering the right base for the out, etc. The second feature is a new Green Light system that has been implemented to reward good base stealing and penalize those that shouldn't be stealing. If a user continues to steal once the green light has been revoked, their playing time will diminish. Once revoked, users will have to improve their speed and base running ability in order to regain the green light. Finally, there is a new stat tracking system that keeps stats for your player’s career versus every pitcher or batter faced during the current season that can be accessed at any time.
• Full Online Season Leagues (PS3) – Along with improvements to the traditional online leagues, MLB 10 The Show will offer fullyfunctional online season leagues! The new online season leagues will save anddisplay MLB Player stats, track player energy, allow for trades/injuries, and offer 40-manroster functionality.
• Weekly Live Roster – An updated live roster will be available every week throughout the entire season. Included in the update will be all roster changes, addition of new MLB players (with correct attributes), and player attribute updates to reflect hot and cold streaks.
• 1-30 Player Season Modes (PS3) – Because roster control is an integral part of Franchise Mode, giving the user the ability tocontrol one or all 30 teams is now essential to the mode. To do this, the user has the option to select how many teams (or all teams) they wish to control rightfrom the start of their franchise or season.
• New Camera System (PS3) – MLB 10 The Show is set to raise the bar for sports gaming and offer the most robust and realisticcamera system available. Camera positioning will make you double takeand make sure you’re not watching a live MLB telecast.This includes an all new broadcast fielding camera as an option
• Real-Time Presentations (PS3) – MLB 10 The Show has boosted the number of overall animations by capturing more than 1,250 new gameplay animations, more than 1,000 new presentation animations, and more than 400 personalized pitcher and batter animations. To accompany this upgraded experience, The Show introduces a new broadcast camera for fielding that will make you feel like you're watching a live telecast.
• Stadium Realism and Experience (PS3) – As the leading MLB experience, MLB 10 The Show takes pride in the detailsoffering daytime transitionallighting, similar to our day to night transitional lighting. Notice the sun position and length of shadows as the 1:00pm first pitch reaches the afternoon. All players on field will be shown in real-time; this goes for dugout and bullpen players. Not to be outdone, stadium ambiance will be improved with the addition of HR/splash counters, fireworks, steam, noisemakers, towels, thunder sticks, working digital and analog clocks, crowd reaching over the rails, and crowd detail, such as interaction with vendors and placing K signs.