MLB 15: The Show Preview
The Show is one of the most respected and acclaimed sports franchises on the planet. Back in 2013, the series slipped a little, producing a relatively unimpressive game that made us pine for the new consoles. Last year, however, developer SCE San Diego redeemed themselves to some extent, taking a positive step in the right direction. And with MLB 15: The Show, we expect nothing less than a true next-gen sports effort. The PlayStation 4 is more than capable of delivering that experience; it’s up to the designers to reinvent our nation’s pastime once again. In virtual form, of course.
As you’ve already seen, the cover athlete is colorful slugger Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and many of the game’s first screenshots focus on this particular player. However, there are more details to talk about and they’re of particular interest to hardcore baseball followers. First up is the fact that saves from last year’s installment will carry over to this year’s, which gives you that much more incentive to purchase the new iteration. And if they keep it up in the future, it means you can continue to build your team and players, year in and year out! This applies to Franchise and Road to the Show saves, by the way.
But there’s lots more to look forward to. For instance, while you’ve certainly heard of getting necessary licenses for logos, stadiums, player likenesses, etc., you probably weren’t aware of the need for equipment licenses. That’s right, MLB 15: The Show will offer Licensed Equipment for the first time ever, which means you can play with branded bats, gloves, and cleats. I’m not sure how critical this is for the fans but hey, if you want a 100 percent authentic experience… As for general customization, players can expect plenty of depth in that department, though no confirmation of the oft-requested Create a Stadium option.
This year, your progress will be directly rewarded with Stubs. These can be spent on the aforementioned licensed equipment, Road to the Show improvements, and even virtual baseball cards (I prefer my physical collection, though). We’re not sure what else Stubs can be used for, but it’ll certainly give you a reason to keep playing. As for the kind of graphical update to expect, I’d expect something pretty significant; after all, we are jumping from one generation to the next. The team is already talking about adding real-time seasonal sun and shadows and “enhanced player personality,” so the game will look and feel realistic from top to bottom.
What interests me most is the addition of MLB Legends. 30 legendary players will join the virtual player card pool (one player per team), and these players span a good 70 years. We don’t have any names just yet but we’d like to think guys like Hank Aaron, Pete Rose, and Tom Seaver will be included. 70 years actually isn’t long enough to encompass old-time greats like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig, but hey, we’ll take whatever legends we can get. I just want to make sure these Legends are actually usable in the game and they’re not merely cosmetic collectibles. I’d also want the ability to create my team with those Legends, which would be unassailably cool. I’m not worried about the mechanics surrounding all these options and features, because these games have always thrived in the realm of control.
I would hope for some tweaks and refinements, obviously, but I wouldn’t recommend any drastic alterations to the basic mechanics. As for the rest, we’ll just have to wait for more info, which should arrive soon. MLB 15: The Show is scheduled to launch on March 31 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Vita and if you want a sneak peek, check out the trailer from the PlayStation Experience. Looks awesome!
1/13/2015 Ben Dutka