Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America, San Diego
Platform: PS4 (Reviewed), PS3 (Partially reviewed), PS Vita
When you’re the only game on the market, it can be tough to find the motivation to continuously improve upon yourself from year to year. MLB 14: The Show marks the first year in which the popular baseball simulation franchise from Sony Computer Entertainment faces zero competition, and a lot has been made about just how the game will look and play when there isn’t much pressure being put on the company from another title.
MLB 14: The Show puts all of that worry to waste by delivering a game that comes with returning features as well as new ones that make the game stand out as a better-than-good baseball sim.
Franchise mode is an in-depth as ever, putting players in control of nearly everything in terms of the organization you choose to manage. From roster moves to drafting, franchise mode is basically everything you expect to see in a management game mode. Of course, the bread and butter of modes for MLB 14 is still its Road to the Show.
As usual, you create a player, select a position and build him up from young blue chipper to an MLB legend. This year, Sony added the amateur showcase, which allows you to play three games prior to the MLB Draft, and make your mark on the scouts in attendance. It’s a mode that you will easily find yourself being lost in for hours simply because of the simple, yet addicting, gameplay.
On the field, the game looks incredible. That’s where the PS4 version of the game shines in comparison to the PS3. There were times where I was able to successfully convince those in the room with me that I was watching a game on TV. When a game’s visuals are that convincing, you know it was done right.
The game plays as well as it ever has. Sony San Diego has taken the mindset of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to the gameplay, and that really is the best thing to do with this franchise. The game has long been the best playing baseball game on the market, and nothing they’ve done to the gameplay takes away from that notion. Pitching and hitting are easy to pick up and learn whether you are a MLB novice or an experienced player. The ability to change to different schemes based on your abilities really makes this game playable for all types.
However, while there is plenty of good regarding this game, there is also some bad. The load times are absolutely atrocious when it comes to the PS4 version of MLB 14. The PS3 load times aren’t that great either, but, compared to the PS4, the load times on the last-gen console are that of a high-powered PC.
Far too often, the game took nearly 1:30-2 minutes to load to the start screen after the opening video. Getting into a game was even worse at times. At times, it felt like loading into a game took longer than playing the actual game itself. Seriously, this actually happened during a Road to the Show game. It took about 2:30 minutes to load into the game, and about 2 minutes to actually play the game — it was a one at-bat, pinch-hitting situation.
There were a couple instances of framerate hiccups on the new console, but they only happened within the first hour of playing the game after the initial install. Since then, the game, visually, has been flawless. At 1080p on PS4, MLB 14 looks like a clone of it’s real life counterpart at certain angles.
Another major downfall of this game is the lackluster online abilities. While the modes are available, the lag you experience while playing kills any type of enjoyment you can potentially have with modes like Online Franchise. The online games either lagged to the point where response times were a good second behind, or the just dropped completely because of the amount of lag. Whether wireless or hard-wired, the online modes in MLB 14 just never seemed to be able to work at optimum levels.
In the end, MLB 14: The Show is a game that, when you are on the field, can suck you in for hours upon hours at a time. It’s getting to the field that pose the problem. It’s like your in a constant traffic jam on the way to the big game, and there just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. However, the game’s main offline modes, especially Road to the Show, will provide you with countless fun that will have you playing this game for a long time.