Video games about baseball have not been consistent success stories like their soccer, football, basketball, and hockey counterparts. Why? It’s probably because baseball simply isn’t as well suited to video games. Too much is always left to chance because how the ball will be hit is somewhat random. Still, these games have been a consistent staple in console gaming. For what it’s worth, the otherwise dominant Sony has always struggled in creating its own games but has never given up on it. It owns the main baseball series, MLB: The Show. Consequently, this is the very rare sports series only available on Sony’s systems.
As for myself, I have to say that a baseball fan won’t instinctively gravitate towards this review because I’m just not a fan. Not the easiest decision here in Georgia, one of the most pro-baseball states. The proof of this is that the Braves have more twitter followers than the Falcons and Hawks combined! Even my own family is one in which I may be the only one who doesn’t love baseball. Why don’t I like it? I guess it’s the big gaps between plays and how brief such plays are. You could argue that I love football, which has delays as well. It’s not necessarily that baseball isn’t contact either, because I’m a basketball fan. I guess baseball just isn’t my thing.
But I can forget all that for the moment. Just as great movies often make bad games and especially vice-versa, maybe MLB 15: The Show can be a great experience, even to a non-fan like myself.
Graphics: 8 out of 10
This game doesn’t have a huge budget, so there’s not much razzle-dazzle. Nonetheless, the graphics are quite good. The models are well-crafted and realistic, and the stadiums capture the feel of real baseball games. Just don’t expect anything wild like in the introductory game Steelers-Cardinals Super Bowl in Madden 16.
Sound: 7 out of 10
Commentary could be better. It’s insightful but kind of lacks heart. Sound effects and environmental audio are done well, though.
Gameplay: 7 out of 10
In most ways, the gameplay is good. The bat swings at about the right speed, the “active” defensive player at the time handles well, and there are a realistic variety of pitch types.
The biggest flaw is that home runs are too easy to hit. I generally hit several a game. Basically, if you hit the ball dead center, it’s got a good chance of leaving the park. This leads to ridiculously high-scoring games because of all the homers on both sides. I may not be a baseball fan, but I do see it.
Challenge: 4 out of 10
The computer is fairly easy to beat once you figure out how to hit the ball right down the middle. Again, homers are easy.
Overall: 7 out of 10
Despite being a non-fan, I would probably enjoy this more game if the pitching and home run systems weren’t so bad. For fans in particular, the homer system is quite a sticking point. Me? I have to judge it as good, not great.