Reviewed: March 19, 2011
Released: March 8, 2011
Sony seems committed to continue supporting loyal PS2 fans with periodic releases of their popular first-party sports titles. While it is arguable whether these titles have truly been developed unique for the aging console, or simply ports of the current year’s PSP versions, the fact that Sony is willing to continue printing discs for gamers who have yet to make the PS3 plunge is heartening. On that note, MLB11: The Show is the newest release in Sony’s in-house baseball franchise. |
Compared to the PS3 version, MLB11: The Show offers little more than the requisite roster updates and customizable batting stances for this year’s PS2 outing. Still, sporting solid gameplay and a bargain MSRP of $29.99, The Show is an excellent (albeit the only) choice for those gamers still playing the old black box. Returning to the lineup are a variety of solid gameplay options, including the trademark Road to the Show, and cornerstone modes like Season, Rivalry, Home Run Derby, and All-Star Game. While the PS3 title boasts full analog control, the PS2 version is all about the buttons and timing. I myself am partial to the old-school three-click button pressing over the ever more convoluted analog schemes being developed (you should see MLB2K11’s wonky analog pitching!), so I stepped right up to the plate without a hitch.
Obviously, the visual quality of the PS2 version hardly holds a candle to that of the PS3 – and that goes all the way from the character models and backgrounds, to the player and crowd animations. Everything seems to be of exceptionally low quality, at least compared to how I think I remember the PS2 to have been…then again the point of reference has definitely changed over the past six years, so it is hard to really pass judgment.
As mentioned, the trademark mode of Sony’s MLB The Show franchise has been the Road to the Show mode, and it’s featured in all of its glory for the 2011 release. For those not in the know – the Road to the Show allows gamers to create a player from scratch, and then take that player through an entire career working from the bottom to the top. Gamers have full control of their created player – and their player only – through a series of games and game situations that help to develop the player’s reputation. Granted, this “career” mode is nothing new – in fact it is quite common nowadays. But kudos go to Sony for dreaming it up the idea back in the mid 2000’s, after which EA added character-based modes to most of their games as well.
As mentioned previously, the visuals are sub-par, maybe even by PS2 standards. Likewise, the sound quality leaves something to be desired as the sound effects and commentary are limited and heavily recycled throughout the game. After playing through the current-gen version of MLB 2K11, in which the commentators refer to events in prior games, it really shows the limitations in this PS2 title.
Really there’s not much to say about MLB11: The Show for the PS2, other than it’s a serviceable MLB title with up-to-date rosters that has been released for an antiquated gaming system that a very small population of gamers is sure to appreciate, but ultimately will go unnoticed. If you are a baseball fan with only a PS2, this is your only option, but next gen gamers will want to look elsewhere. If this were released on the PSP – which it most likely is, as it plays like a port of a PSP title – this would be a top-shelf title, but blow it up to a big screen and take away half of the features of the current-gen version, and it’s merely average.