This is my first attempt at a baseball game in nearly a decade - the last one I tried was whatever the franchise was in 2005 for PS2. It was fun, but I couldn't find a balance difficulty wise. I like to try to play sports sims somewhat realistically (not shooting 47's in Tiger Woods or averaging 85 points per game in NBA 2K?), and in that game I would either hit somewhere in the .800-900 range on easy, or I could make a great hitter a sub .200 guy on medium.
However, a number of blurbs for MLB13 The Show mentioned beginner mode, and since I had a bunch of credit at GameStop I figured 'Why not?' and jumped in. First and foremost, the timing could not be better - after fighting with SimCity on my laptop for a couple hours while trying to watch some TV with my wife she went to bed and I got the TV to myself. I only got the chance to dabble for a few hours in the Road to the Show before spending 10 minutes poking around the franchise mode - which seemed fine.
Road to the Show absolutely seems like what I've been looking for in a baseball game. I made my guy a second baseman, and decided I'd like to stay with my hometown Diamondbacks, so right now I'm playing for their Double A team, the Mobile Baybears. What I love about it is that when my team is batting its just numbers on a screen with a graph showing what's happening (you can watch if you'd like) until it's my turn to bat. When its the other team's turn it treats it the same way - unless the next play is going to require me to field it - then it breaks in, I run over, grab the ground ball and throw it to whatever base I think I should. I've only botched that once, and that's because the buttons seem to be reversed. Since I'm playing 2nd Base, my view is a third person view from behind my guy, so the square button is throw it to first - and normally that should be circle. The fact that you can play a game in roughly 10 minutes or less is a godsend for me. I don't like simming game after game, but with baseball you almost have to - there's just too much to play when it takes nearly an hour. But knowing that I can spend an hour playing and knock out at least five games - I think I'm going to be far more likely to keep at it.
There's a bit of RPG leveling up in that you get points for doing well in the game (or lose points for doing poorly, I've lost 10 points several times by getting caught stealing), and luckily (I can't believe I'm saying this) I'm elated that I preordered the game from GameStop. In doing so I got 12,000 points to allocate (in two 6,000 point bundles) - and that is huge. I started my guy just using the normal points - I think 400 is what you start with. I played a game, went 1-4, and felt okay about that. After tinkering I found where I could cash in one of the 6,000 points, and my guy stopped sucking so bad. I had a game with two home runs, but I still only went 3-5 that game.
I started out on beginner, and it seems like there is a separate leveling up system for beginners. I'm now level 4/6 in beginner mode, and I'm starting to see more pitches other than fastballs down the middle. I don't know what will happen when I get 6/6, I'm guessing it will kick me up a notch and then I'll suck for a little while, but that is why I haven't cashed in the other 6,000 points. I plan on making a pitcher as well, and if the later stages of batting continues to flummox me like it used to I'll stick with my arm.
I also plan on messing around in Franchise, probably this evening, as well as doing a multiuser season, but we will see if that comes to fruition or not. For the time being, RTTS gets a big thumbs up from me.