By Infernocow 2 Comments
In my previous blogs I've touched on the fact that I hold a strong dislike for Sony products. In my previous blogs I've also touched on the fact that I was close to a breaking point on my holding out on the PS3 bandwagon, and it was the desire for an adequate baseball sim that was the culprit. Since EA sports has been prevented from making MLB simulators, 2k (as the only third-party developer permitted to do so) has failed to deliver on their promises for new, innovative approaches to baseball simulation. Granted, I will hand it to them...MLB 2k8, though buggy and unfinished, offered a very positive experience through its presentation and new game mechanics. Their attempt at making the player more involved in a tactile, skillful way with regard to the finer points of the game was certainly entertaining and rewarding. In this sense, I would call the game a success. Other than this, however, the game fell flat. Graphical glitches, animation blunders, gameplay breakdowns...all of which ultimately made the game feel like it was released a few months too early, and really detracted from what could have been a supremely entertaining experience. With the very poor reception received by 2k9, I essentially gave up on the series. I did not wish to waste my time and money on an unfinished product. So, with a tearful look back at the days of classics such as MVP Baseball 2005, I packed my cleats, put away my glove, and stored my virtual bat in hopes that the 2k exclusivity on MLB gaming would be lifted before I went crazy. MVP 05 can only be modded so much, after all.
This August, though...I started to break. I needed my fix, and I didn't want to go back to last year's game, as I'm a purist and wanted updated rosters and such. When the PS3 price drop was announced, I figured it was my chance. So I obliged, and bought the system about a week ago. The experience so far has been one of violent switches between up and down. As a fan of NHL '09 and its Be A Pro mode, I was absolutely ECSTATIC that there was a similar option in the MLB The Show series. As amazing as it was to put myself in the skates of a player of my country's national passtime, my heart has always lain in the passtime of another country. This was an opportunity I couldn't wait to experience...so I geared up, got myself drafted by the closest thing I have to a hometeam (The Toronto Blue Jays) and began my journey through the minors as an up-and-coming third baseman.
The experience was rocky at first. Frustration overtook me on several occasions, and I found myself cursing the game to high heavens (as can be seen in an earlier blog). What I saw then as gameplay mistakes (and they still kinda are) have served now only to increase my enjoyment of the experience. It was some time coming though...this enjoyment. I was about ready to send my ps3 out my bedroom window on several occasions. Slowly but surely, though, I climbed my way through the system...meeting unreasonable goal after unreasonable goal...being accosted by my manager for struggling at the plate, despite a 24 game hit streak, and the highest batting average in the league. Being benched for failed hit and runs on crazy outside pitches...
New Hampshire, so long. Las Vegas...Had a time, but goodbye. Bring on Toronto. Bring on the Jays, and the team that's absorbed so much of my time and passion throughout my 22 years on the Earth.
Home opener...Rogers Centre...50,000 fans...the Majesty of the most massive, technologically advanced stadium in baseball; its giant, cavernous interior, the imposing presence of the giant jumbotron, the largest of its kind for some time...and YEARS ahead of its time on its installation way back in 1989. The restaurant, the hotel overlooking centre field...visions of Joe Carter's world series winning home run in '93...and the thought that I was standing there now. All pretty lame considering that it's a video game, but I felt it. The sense of scale in the game is just amazing. The strength of MLB '09 comes through here and wins me over indefinitely. After my first major league hit against the Red Sox, I watched with glee as I stood on first base and David Ortiz walked up to me, gave me an amicable punch in the arm and flashed a knowing smile, clearly aware of the significance of the moment his young adversary was experiencing, and allowing us to see and appreciate the respect that these players have for each other. It's easier to be friendly in a game such as baseball...a gentleman's game. A game of thinkers, and knowers. A game where you have a second to put things aside and respect each other. That's one of the things that makes the game so special, and it's delightul that they included it in the The Show experience.
So far, The Show's presentation is a lovely change of pace. I'm not familiar with the franchise mode, but the switch from a broadcast feel that I was used to from 2k8 to the feeling of actually being there is really neat, though I didn't expect it to be. I do miss a few things about 2k8, though...mainly in the fielding. There is something a little lame about the lack of feedback you get from making plays...where in 2k8, you had direct control over how things proceeded through analog-stick throwing mechanics. It's subtle, but I liked it...and it made errors feel much less cheap. They're essentially arbitrary in this game, which is kinda lame...especially since my fielding attributes are quite low, so I tend to make a lot of errors...which is frustrating when you don't actually earn them yourself.
Anyway, I'm tempted to write an actual review about the game, with this as a leadup. I need more experience with it though, as my sliders are still on the easy side. I'll soon start weaning myself onto more difficult settings.
Until then, though...I'll keep feeling the magic. Maybe there's a rookie of the year in my future? I hope so. Maybe even an all-star appearance, the way things are going.
Looking forward to it.