MLB 08: The Show

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Game: MLB 08: The Show
Platform: PSP
Studio: Sony
Rating: 6.5/10

Corporate line:
MLB 08 The Show promises to provide fans with the most realistic baseball experience to date with innovations such as a more immersive Road to The Show mode, enabling gamers to play both offense and defense from the created player’s perspective. Providing players with some additional performance incentives, the MLB franchise introduces the new Progressive Batting Performance feature, which both rewards players for superior performance and penalize them for hitting slumps. Specific to each individual batter, players are rewarded with slight contact bonuses, or punished with slight decreases in contact, based on how that batter that performs beyond his “natural ability” while under user control. Adding to the online feature set, which includes customizable Online League Play with up to 30 teams, scrolling MLB Score Ticker and more, MLB 08 The Show introduces SCOUT (SportsConnect Online User Tracking), which allows gamers to set and store their game preferences on the MLB server, and enables the system to look for a Quick Match with opponents that fits similar competitive criteria.

The review:
The PSP version has many features, but of greatest appeal and depth is “Road to the Show.” “Road to the Show” isn’t a new concept — you take a rookie player from nowhere through spring training and into superstardom. The biggest letdown is the lack of a franchise mode. You can play a single game or a season or two, but if you want to create a dynasty, then this isn’t the game.

The biggest upgrade for “MLB 08: The Show” is pitching. A lot of grievances of past baseball games comes down to pitching. Now you can feel more in control and expect that you know where the ball will go like the real deal. Also, as a pitcher you can see if a batter has a particular tendency for certain types of pitches and more. This can be fascinatingly in-depth or pure overkill.

There isn’t a huge upgrade here, and the PSP games that once looked so great are starting to lose their appeal. The players look decent, but it still feels like you’re playing on the original PlayStation.

Finally:
One bonus this year is the ability to save a game midstream. “MLB 08: The Show” is fun — to a point.