363rd played so far

MLB_09_The_Show_PS3_coverGenre: Sports
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: SCE San Diego Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

After the release of the list’s second edition, 20 games were removed, with twelve of them unplayed so far. For completeness and because we wanted to try some of them, we decided to still play these twelve, but with shorter or changed write-ups. Today the seventh game – MLB 09: The Show

We are not, in any reasonable sense of the word, baseball fans. Softball was a fun game to play during gym (P.E. if you are a Brit) classes back in school, although never a particular favourite, and I enjoy watching it for, maybe, ten minutes at a time. For the most part, when watching it, it feels like there are very few fun things going on, there doesn’t seem to be much that’s watchable. It reminds me of that classic episode of The Simpsons where Homer gives up beer and has the startling realisation that it was getting drunk that he enjoyed during his visit to a baseball game rather than the sport itself.

The lack of interest in baseball carries on, to be honest, to the game. A part of it (as is the flaw with so many sports games – remember John Madden Football?) is that we don’t understand the sport, so it can be unclear what happens. Another part are the controls – as with so many annual games, the controls have been refined through many iterations, and while there are tutorials, the muscle memory required takes longer to be trained than the game expects in any other modes. It’s also the fact that with these smaller reviews we are spending less time on playing the games. This means that games that rely on the mastery of complex controls to get the most out of them are going to be a lot less enjoyable to us. The fact that this is a sport that we neither know or care much about did not help here.

The clumsiness is present in many places. Bars show up when pitching that we didn’t see explained before (and used some awkward ‘press the button here’ mechanics) and running bases seem to have buttons almost randomly switch meanings depending on where you are standing. I’m sure it makes sense at some point, but it’s unintuitive to learn.

The game does its best to look good, but it doesn’t feel accessible enough for someone like us, just starting to play the game.