MLB 12: The Show Review (Vita Version)

MLB 12: The Show (Available for PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-2
Genre: Sports
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SCEA San Diego Studios
Release Date: March 6, 2012
PSN: Online multiplayer

Parent Talk: Like most baseballs sims, MLB 12 is rated E for everyone. Outside of strong song lyrics, there’s nothing to harm your young ones. Online play is a different story obviously, so don’t let them venture there.

Plays Like: Other current-gen baseball games.

Review Basis: Tried the different modes, and compared them to the PS3 version.

Note: Portions of this review are taken from our MLB 12: The Show review.

When a new gaming portable is released, the sports games released for it are typically lackluster compared to their console counterparts. Occasionally we’re surprised. The PlayStation Vita is one of the first systems to have a fully-featured baseball game only weeks after launch. While missing a few key features available in the PS3 version, MLB 12 shows promises for Vita’s sports future.

The Great:

Road to the Show remains one of the best career modes in any sports game.  This time you begin as a AA starter, so you’re important from day one.  You still work up the ranks by staying productive, playing intelligently and overcoming objectives to make it to the big leagues.

The Good:

+ Welcome changes to pitching. A new pulse circle system appears after selecting your pitch.  Gone is the old pitch meter.  The new concept works as it sounds; a circle pulses in and out. The smaller the circle is, the more accurate your pitch is. You can even use the Vita’s touchscreen to make pitches even more precise.

+ New batting. As a result of the redone pitching, players can adjust where to focus their bat in the strike zone with the left analog stick. It takes practice, and timing your swing is as crucial as ever.

+ Fantastic touch screen use. Navigating the menus, the modes…everything is enhanced by the touch screen.

+ Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell, and Eric Karros. The trio returns to commentate, and do excellently in calling the right plays. Their chemistry is occasionally questionable, but overall they’re entertaining.

+ Visuals. They’re not up to the PS3 standards of course, but look remarkably better than any other portable baseball game has. The dynamic camera in the PS3 version has also been excluded, so this version feels more like a videogame than a broadcast.

+ PS3 support. Your Vita file can be saved to the cloud and continued on your PS3, and vice-versa. It’s neat, but requires copies of the game for each platform.

The Bad:

– Net code. It continues to be a problem, strangely. It’s been a series staple for years. Some matches run perfectly, while others are lag fests.

– No Dynasty Mode. It’s a shame given its available in the PS3 version. The sense of community was unparalleled thanks to this.

The Ugly:

Practice makes perfect. Casual fans will be shocked by how deep this game can be. Even with the touch screen, the game can be very tough. It requires time and devotion to master.

The Lowdown:

MLB 12: The Show is impressive on Sony’s new portable. Despite shortcomings, it shows tremendous promise. I just caution those who may be newcomers; baseball is a complex sport, but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded. Don’t be discouraged if even Rookie difficulty troubles you. It’s expected.

Average Score Scale: 7.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 7.5/10 (Inflated)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You want a great portable baseball game with gameplay variety.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: You’re expecting a 1:1 port of the PS3 version.