Customer Reviews: MLB 14: The Show
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on May 2, 2014
This review will concern only those who have been playing The Show series over the years, and are wondering if this last version (for the PS3) is "worth it."

I've been playing this game ever since it's inception many years ago, and up to and including this year (somewhat regrettably) I've just bought the new game version, sight unseen- as I am a hard-core baseball fan, and every year enjoy the experience of controlling one team through an entire season of play, Spring Training through the playoffs. I am rarely interested in the various available game modes other than the franchise mode (ie: Road To The Show, homerun derby, etc), and so this review will concentrate only on that- and more importantly, whether or not this year's game has improved in any of the ways that it NEEDED to (refer to any of my reviews of this game for the last 2-3 years for what that means, though it should be a tip-off that my complaints have been much the same for several years now).

It seems that every year for the last several years, the changes made to The Show series were relatively minor, and in areas that frankly didn't need changing to begin with. The main one of those being the graphics- this year again positively stellar, even on the PS3 (the PS4 version destined to be more amazing yet graphically), but I'd argue that the graphics did NOT need any upgrade.

Lots of elements of the gameplay DID, though, and I'm afraid my verdict for that this year is: sadly, nothing has changed. The following is just a short list to elaborate- I'm sure all these things will be more familiar to those who, like me, play a LOT of games each year on The Show, and much less-so to the occaissional gamer.

1-Announcing: IMO, always the weakest aspect of this game series, and positively aggravating (not to mention BORING) to see that almost no effort has been put into improving that again this year. Not just the same announcers- that would be OK- IF, however, they actually varied the lines of announcing, AT ALL. But what you'll find this year is the SAME lines of dialogue as for maybe the last 4-5 years, and the SAME unbelievable repetitiveness of those lines within any single game: OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Gameplay announcing, of a varied, informative, and emotionally exciting kind COULD add so much to this game, but once again, it's a TOTAL dud. Clearly, almost NO effort by the game developers to even remotely address this glaring deficiency. Just plain LAZY on their part, folks.

2-Gameplay deficiencies, all the more aggravating because these have ALL been there before, are not in any way MLB realistic (as the developers are always hyping, ie: "So real, it's UNreal", etc, etc....), and also, not infrequently seriously affects gameplay results (ie: a lot of the following dumb things can lose you plenty of close games).

To wit:
- Slow reactions in your outfielders picking up a ball to get back in to the cutoff man, or to a base. This wasn't so bad last year, but now your OFer will stroll over to the ball, take his time picking it up, and then take a few hops steps, and THEN slowly wind-up, all before even letting go of a throw- and what's worse, there is NOTHING the human player can do with the gamepad to speed that up even a little. Absolutely ridiculous, and it costs you runs, too.

- Continued ridiculous wild pickoff throws by human-controlled pitchers, where the guy sails the ball either down the right field line throwing to first, or into the stands- something that I have personally NEVER seen in a real MLB game, after 50+ years of watching games. And what's worse is how OFTEN this happens: in my first 30 games so far this year, I've had this happen to me 14 times. Yeah, right.......Perhaps worst of all: the same thing has been present in this game for several years now- again, clearly NO effort to fix this.

- Depictions of tags at bases are rarely what the umpire's call turns out to be- these aren't just "bad calls", they seem to be graphical errors- as your guy's entire body is halfway across a base sliding, gets tagged on his leg, and is called.....out. One thing I haven't seen, oddly enough, is the opposite: if I guy is clearly tagged out, he's always called out. For what little that is worth.

- A related issue to the above: there is NO "manager challenge" feature, as is the case this year in the real Show. Why not?

- Fielding errors, even with fairly radical slider adjustments, are still way too frequent, besides how DUMB most of them are. Not just a throw a little in the dirt, mind you, but a guy simply dropping a chest-high throw, or a guy heaving a casual throw to a base into the stands. And then little bobbles by an outfielder on a basehit, that affects gameplay NOT AT ALL- what's even the point of that? Gets the announcer excited anyway....OVER AND OVER AGAIN, as one would expect.

- Base-stealing, which could be a great "cat-and-mouse" mechanic in a videogame, is awful again: not only is there a ridiculously high percentage of guys getting picked off, but most CPU catchers (regardless of their throwing ratings, btw) turn out to suddenly have totally accurate, cannon-like arms when you are trying to steal a base. Part of the problem is, of course, that you can't really push taking a bigger lead, or breaking early much, because of the high rate of pickoffs- and again, there is NOTHING you do with your gamepad that can prevent these random, though frequent, pickoffs. Regardless of the basestealing skill rating of your baserunner, he will just randomly freeze and get picked off, even if you hit the "return to base" button immediately. It's just not under your control.

-Analog bunting, for some reason, has disappeared, and there is no option to select that as your preferred bunting method. Why?

- A noticably new way the CPU manages to control game outcomes this year is at the dish, when you are hitting. This time around, if it's not in the program for you to win any given game, instead of something realistic that I could accept, like a CPU pitcher just having great stuff, and hitting all his spots with his pitches, mixing pitch types and speeds, etc, the game just has center-cut, fat CPU pitches, that you time perfectly, just go for routine outs. All you have to do is stop during any game and review your hit chart to see this: just last night, of the first 12 outs my team made hitting, 9 of them were on CPU pitches that were in the exact center of the strike zone, that I had timed perfectly. Other games, those SAME pitches might go for hits- but either way, you're left with a strong sense that it's not really all that much up to you. And that not only gets old pretty fast, it's just not much FUN.

- The playing field isn't too level, either. Though this is nothing new to this series, you'll find that about 90% of shots that you line back through the box that hit the pitcher are turned into outs by another CPU fielder, whereas about 90% of the shots the CPU hits off YOUR pitcher go for hits.The same goes for diving catches by outfielders: the CPU guys get to almost everything YOU hit, but good luck when YOU are in the field.

There's a lot more stuff that has always fallen under the category of "CPU control" in this game- I've harped on it every year in my past reviews, and it's clearly necessary to SOME extent, in order to wind-up with realistic individual player stats, team records, etc. BUT, I'd say this year it's just WAY too obvious, especially if you play this game frequently, and the end result is a lot of frustration for the human player. We've all seen this before, many, many times- and at least for me, it has finally gotten old enough to be more than just a nuissance.

As I have done with all my previous yearly reviews of The Show, I'll add on a few more things in the comments section of this review, as I play through my season (I've played a total of about 70 games so far, hitting on Hall of Fame level, and pitching on legend level, controlling my home-town Chicago White Sox, playing through an entire season against the CPU)..

But for those who are wanting to know if MLB The Show 2014 for the PS3 is worth buying, I'd offer the following:

If you already own last year's game, and are OK to invest the time in updating the rosters, the new game does not offer anything that makes buying it worth your while. The graphics have always been great, and so did not need any upgrade. The gameplay, however, has needed a major upgrade, for quite a few years now, and you just won't find any useful evidence of that in the new game.

Pity, as always, because with just a few simple gameplay tweaks, this could be a timeless classic.
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on April 14, 2014
Following MLB 13: The Show, which I felt to be the best sports game of 2013,SCEA has focused on areas of strength while also attempting to address the issue of length of games. Unfortunately the Achilles' Heel of the series has reappeared harming the product arguably even more than in the past.

The PS4 version, which is now just three weeks away, will be essentially the same exact game with the exception of advanced visuals and some other technical improvements so as a whole impressions from the PS3 will carry through to there.


Gameplay and Authenticity
Every year these two areas top the merit list and that remains the case here. There are some lapses - meter fielding should be changed from immediately, they did not implement rules changes like the reviews/challenges, and the commentary desperately needs to be redone - but otherwise it's an exceptionally realistic experience to play. The new Dynamic Difficulty is worth considering and growing with.

Player Lock
Somewhat overshadowed by another time-saving feature, Player Lock has proven to be a great addition to the series</a>. Player Lock allows for taking control of a single player during a game and simulating the rest. It has proven most valuable for Franchise or Season modes where it provides some influence on the games while dramatically reducing the necessary time invested in them. That is much better than just simming through a chunk of the schedule.

The number of options is what makes Player Lock so great. Users can switch who they're controlling at any point in a game - going from one player to another or even taking over the full team in the traditional manner. It's a little confusing though how to take advantage of all the options and most people probably don't even know they exist. Player Lock may not be a feature that would suit other sports games but it fits perfectly for baseball.

Road to the Show
The best pure Career mode in sports gaming has been improved upon again. Road to the Show is more enjoyable due to the removal of "goals" with production being what matters instead. The training games have also been adjusted to be more fair and elements like the ability to see standing within an organization are great to follow and assess.

Load times are still especially detrimental in RTTS. As a relief pitcher it seems often that more time is spent loading into games than actually playing them. The ability to migrate saves to MLB 15 will reap rewards next year, though that feature may create concern over whether a mode many are starting to find stale will ever be able to evolve properly because of it.

Community Challenges
The new Community Challenges represent a fun and unique diversion from the other main modes in the game. Users create their own scenarios for others to attempt and complete. Many of them are just a single play which makes the feature something that can be messed around with when time is limited. There's even a wagering aspect to it utilizing the "Stubs" currency. It's a neat experience to go through and play but the loading times between each attempt again stand out.


Online Play/Online Franchise
The Show has always been among the worst online experiences in sports gaming. MLB 13 was far from perfect but it showed dramatic improvement which makes MLB 14 taking a huge step backwards even more disappointing. Disconnects and lag are prevalent in online games and visual oddities not only take away from enjoyment but make it even more difficult to make adjustments that may have been possible in the past. Online Co-Op was even removed without telling anyone prior to release. Unfortunately there's no reason to expect things will be better with the PS4 version in online games or with Online Franchise.

Online Franchise was promoted as one of the big additions for the year but it's best not even considered among the features of the game. Some good design decisions were made but it's completely unreliable</a> and ends up simply being a waste of time. Games against other users rarely if ever are completed and games against the CPU are often "not processed correctly" meaning the results are never reported and it's as though the hour spent playing never happened. It's too much of a risk for anyone to attempt investing time in the mode and anyone that does will justifiably avoid it after getting burned once or twice.

Quick Counts
As opposed to Player Lock the new Quick Counts feature doesn't deliver on its promises. Producing counts that more often than not seem to place two strikes on batters and three balls on pitchers, too much of the strategy inherent in baseball is removed and it teaches poor habits to those just learning how to play a simulation baseball game. The feature might still be worth considering if it saved a significant amount of time like it was promoted as doing. However it really doesn't - taking what might be an hour played traditionally down an average of only 12 minutes after having completed multiple tests that featured comparable circumstances.


MLB 14: The Show is not the complete product that MLB 13 was. The online play is worse and the new features, while they are well designed and have good intentions, haven't all proven to be rewarding. Regardless The Show is once again a product that consumers at least know what they're getting when they buy. It's a great offline game with enormous depth of content that is true to the sport and its surroundings.
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on May 30, 2014
Just doesn't have the same feel, at least to me, as 13. While I do like the RTTS a little better on 14, the overall gameplay in any other mode seems to have declined a bit, in my opinion. The graphics are great, but the physics seem off and everything is harder to read...and the new mode/screen selection interface is horrible.
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on June 11, 2014
MLB: The Show has been my favorite game for years. In fact, it was a major deciding point in why I originally purchased the PS3 over the Xbox 360. It generally hasn't changed a whole lot from year to year but I got enough enjoyment out of each edition that I'd usually buy the latest edition near the beginning of each baseball season. While I'm sure people enjoy different aspects and modes of this game, my favorite has always been the online play. Something about the challenge and satisfaction of beating a real live opponent is massively preferable over any type of offline play for me. In fact, I basically ignore the other modes.

Fast forward to this season. I picked up the '14 version on Amazon and was looking forward to being able to use the latest rosters and checking out the supposed much improved and completely reworked online play. Unfortunately, all the touting by the developers of these "improvements" where complete hogwash. I have never seen a game perform so poorly online and feel majorly taken advantage of by the developers of this well respected franchise. Sure, there would be slight timing issues here and there in years past version of this game but those are NOTHING compared to what the game plays like this year. It is completely full of nonsensical glitches and crazy visual hiccups. It is astounding that the developers would release the game in this state (and then do seemingly nothing to improve it). At this point, it has been out for over two months and it is still basically unplayable for all intents and purposes.

Here are some things to expect to see when playing online:

-pitches randomly coming in to the plate at slow motion speeds

-every "hit" to the outfield appears to go underneath the glove of the opponents outfielder, yet you try to take an extra base and the next thing you know the animation warps as the ball is seen coming from different angles at the same time and you are thrown out by a mile at 2B

-game freezes a few innings in to a match, controller becomes unresponsive, and the whole system must be hard reset which brings up an error upon restart necessitating a lengthy process where the system must test itself for errors or something

-runners round 1B on an extra base hit and instead of heading to 2B they cut right through the middle of the infield and bolt in to the middle of the OF nonsensically running in circles while appearing and disappearing at different moments, only to be tagged out in a multitude of situations that would never unfold on a MLB diamond

-runner on base with zero outs, you hit what appears to be an easy double off the wall, the announcers say your team has scored, and then the next batter comes up and there has been no adjustment to the score, there is no one on base, and you have two outs

Then upon voicing my complaints online in the MLB: The Show official forums and asking who to speak to concerning a refund, I (as well as many others) are given heavy infractions and/or bans. Really piss poor customer service and product development by San Diego Studios. What was once my favorite game has become a giant headache. Will be getting rid of this ASAP and go back to playing the '13 version. Please take this warning and DO NOT purchase this game if you are like me and buy it to play others online; it is useless for this purpose.

*in case there is any confusion, my experience with the seller of this has been excellent (timely and proffessional) and these problems stem from the developers of the game itself, not from Amazon or any of their certified sellers
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on June 13, 2014
Overall gameplay has not changed from last year's incarnation of the show, save for a few changes. While playing with updated rosters, and benefiting from some minor tweaks this game could be excellent if it were not for the several key areas in which the game fails miserably:

1. AI is able to pick off human runner with ease, regardless of lead; the AI averages 4-6 pickoffs in a 6 game week.
2. Online play lags, boots player often.
3. Comeback AI brutally punishes human player for throwing errors
4. Human pitcher regardless of control rating loses command in situations where a pitcher would normally not (when leading, etc.)
5. Running interface is dated and obtuse.
6. While purporting to be a simulation, this game is more scripted than you would expect.

Save your money, buy a used copy of MLB the Show 12 or 13. This game really isn't fun if you are a fan of the game of baseball.
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on November 29, 2014
I am a long time The Show fan and I really enjoy playing it. I spend a lot of time playing the game in Legend batting difficulty and in all-star pitching (I love low scoring games) And this game is excellent in playability. But I think that is time to fix some little issues like, infielders not reaching some very easy ground balls, pitcher throwing the ball to the crowd at first base (85% of time), not to be able to make defense substitution before getting to the field (for a recent pinch hitter). In general these are minor issues, issues that can't be fix with the excellent Slider tool, but I think that is time for The Show to stop upgrading graphics (they are excellent) and begin to work with gameplay... These minor issues can change the baseball experience..
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on August 10, 2014
If, as Einstein said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then I am ready to be fitted for the straitjacket , because when it comes to this game that is precisely what I do. Not only do I continue to buy the game every year expecting the game play problems will be addressed, I continue to play games expecting that my input on the controller will bear some rational relationship to the outcome on the field. Madness, indeed. The world needs another review of the game like the desert needs more sand, but since I have just gotten done getting thoroughly annoyed by the thing consider this more like therapy. I am lying down on the couch, can we just talk?

Since the dawn of time man has asked the big existential questions.... what is the meaning of life... if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound.... is MLB the Show outcome determined? I cannot speak to the first two but verily I am here to tell you that the answer to the third question is a resounding, unqualified yes. Because I am insane I have played literally thousands of games over the years and I am here to tell you that the game does what it wants, when it wants and how it wants, and it doesn't even have the good grace to be subtle about it. I understand that no team goes 162-0 but this year's version in particular is so heavy handed and transparent when it gets ready to come back and burn you that you will see it coming in a cab down Broadway. Does the CPU need to answer your 3 run outburst? No problem. It will do it with all the subtlety of an 18-wheeler crashing through a retaining wall. You will throw a perfectly placed slider, and the CPU will crush it for a hit. Then your pitcher will throw a wild pitch, and before you can say, "I need to get a life" the CPU will have tied the game or gone ahead, at which point it will very politely let you get out of the inning.

There is a graphic that consists of a circle that represents the "sweet spot" of the bat that ostensibly shows you where contact was made. The problem, however, is that there is absolutely ZERO correlation between where the contact is depicted and the result of the CPU at bat. It is just as likely to hit a three-run homer on a perfectly located pitch that is shown to have barely made contact with the "sweet spot" as it is to ground into a double play on a ball that is perfectly in the middle of this irrelevant circle. In other words, the game does what it wants , when it wants, how it wants. Did I say that already?

In case Sheldon Cooper or Leonard Hofstetter or any of the other developers over there at Sony who grew up playing dungeons and dragons and never watched a baseball game in their whole life are reading this, allow me to provide a brief and nowhere near exhaustive list of the ways that this game is mind-blowingly annoying and about as realistic a depiction of baseball as dungeons and dragons is an accurate depiction of modern suburban life (in no particular order):

1. You will hit a scorching line drive off of the pitcher's head. Not only will someone pick the ball up and throw you out, the pitcher will shake it off and continue . I attribute this to the developers reading too many super-hero comic books in their respective mother's basements.

2. You will attempt to pick off the runner at first and your pitcher will launch the ball into the box seats. This will occur with uncanny frequency and is apparently what passes for humor with the D and D crowd , since it has probably happened about three times in the entire history of organized professional baseball.

3. The game allows you to set it up such that the umpire will occasionally make a bad call. Realistic? Sure. Except that they make an egregiously awful call in every at bat. Seriously. Every one.

4. The outcome of plays at the bases bear ZERO relationship to the graphic depiction of the play. A runner stealing second will be clearly safe and called out. You will throw a CPU runner out by three steps and he will be called safe.

5. The announcers will taunt you. The pitcher, whether it be Clayton Kershaw or Joe Shmoe from Idaho will paint the black like Picasso, and then the announcers will wonder why you didn't "have a rip at that one", or, one of my personal favorites, the CPU will throw a 2-0 fastball on the very bottom right hand corner of the zone in an implausibly unhittable spot and Matt will tell you that he "just laid the fastball in there". You will square up pitch after pitch for outs made by diving outfielders, or balls that "just died on the track" and have to listen to them tell the viewing audience that you are being dominated. Again, this is what geeks find funny and what causes me to get migraines and scare the cats when I yell "bull****" at the top of my lungs and hurl the six axis.

6. Certain apologists for the game will tell you there is no "comeback mechanism" and I am here to tell you that is unmitigated hogwash. The reason that I am typing this and babbling incoherently while I do so is because the CPU just erased my 5 run lead in the 8th and 9th innings on about a total of 10 pitches. It does what it wants, when it wants, how it wants. Did I mention that?

So, you may rightly ask why do you continue to play? I love baseball, and this thing graphically creates the look and feel of a baseball game uncannily well. For a Walter Mitty baseball player wannabe, this is as close as you are gonna get to taking an AB in Yankees stadium as you look out onto the perfect green field. And when you connect to one ( or I should say when the game allows you to connect to one) that soars majestically into that beautifully depicted pink twilight sky and over the wall it keeps you coming back much the same way that that one 280 yard drive down the middle in an 18-hole round convinces you to keep playing golf.

Its shame really that these sports games tend to cater to casual players rather than the hard core fans that support it the most because these geeks could fix the problems if they cared to watch a baseball game and really make the game "so real its unreal". They continue to change things that don't need changing, and ignore the things that do because idiots like me with more money than brains continue to plunk down $60.00 for the new version.

I feel better now, thanks. I have to go now. I wanna get in a game before my wife gets home.
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on May 28, 2014
The game, played in any other mode than head to head online is spectacular and is hands down the best game you can get for your PS3. But they decided to fix the online head to head play this year (which has NEVER been as good as EA's MVP Sports 2005) and they actually made it so much worse it's literally unplayable... if you can even complete a game. Usually the game loses connectivity at some point and the game is dropped. Such a waste of time, I will not be getting a PS Plus membership to play online when/ if I ever get a PS4 because this is the only game I'd want to play online anyway.
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on June 15, 2014
I'm going to get slammed for this, since there are so many who absolutely love this game. I think it Sucks!
I've been hearing about how great this game is for years now. I have an XBox, so I was stuck with 2K.
Since 2K didn't give us a game this year, I bought a PS3, and this game, because I Love baseball. I've played every game since Atari had stick figure games, so I was really looking forward to playing, "The Rolls Royce of baseball sims." Ya, right.

I've been a long time player of 2K. Ya I know, the graphics suck, players look ridiculous running, or making routine plays. They look zombie like, and cartoonish, but you know, the game is Fun to play! With my kids, my buddies, myself, it's always challenging, but Really fun.

The Show, not so much. The first thing I noticed was the galactically stupid base running controls!
Wanna lead off. Ok, tap the right trigger.....Oh, picked off!! Oh, picked again! Ok, this time, one step, Oh, I'm out!
It's virtually impossible to get a good lead and steal a base in this game. Ricky Henderson wouldn't stand a chance against the catcher with a 68 rating.
Ok, just adjust the Sliders. Well, those have virtually no effect.

Advance a base? In 2K, you pull the L1 to advance your runner, L2 for all runners. Simple.
On, "The Show," Point to your runner, than use the right stick to point him to the base you want him to go to...oops, he needs to turn around, oh, well just pull the left st.......oh, he's thrown out Again, because there 200 levers, and buttons to push for a simple, first to third advance! Bases running sucks! It's not, "Realistic," it's inane, and un necessarily complicated.

Wanna play Road to the Show? You got 3 months? I'm hitting 340, in AAA. I strike out once every 14 at bats. I have a whopping 62 rating.
You can drive a 400 foot out, but the AI punishes you, with a, "Poor at bat." Forget the pitcher grooved a fastball, or hung a curve down the pipe. You swung at the first pitch, and the game will punish you for that. I love working a count, and it's good baseball, but if a guy grooves a pitch, I'm swinging. Well, not in this game.

AAA Pitchers, rated 58 will paint the corners in clutch situations, with the bases loaded, and two outs, like Cy Young. Their 30 rated curve, will start at your belt, than break off the table as if he were Orel Hershiser.
It's a video game, I don't really want to go through all the trials, and frustration of the minors. Sooner or later I'd actually like to get enough reward points to be capable of getting, "The call." That's tough when you've gone 3-4, with a home run, 3 RBI's, and are rewarded with 80 points to spread over fielding, and hitting ratings. I like a challenge. I like working on my skills, and getting better. I don't like being frustrated with an AI, that seems to delight in working against you.

The feel of this game is, that you have NO real control over your player, but that the AI is scripted. I'm saying this, with a very high batting average, and 2 fielding errors.
There are so many times that a pitcher who couldn't hit ground with a baseball, if he dropped it from his waist, will bulls eye 3 sliders, and send you back to the bench muttering, as if you just faced Mariano Rivera.

Video games are intended to be enjoyable in my view, this one just p1sses me off.
I never feel in control. I don't Strut to the plate, confident, that I've practiced enough, (Which I have), to know a ball from a strike, and indeed, you will come through. The confidence that you Will come through in the clutch, really isn't in this game. Too many times, you've waited for, “You’re pitch” and with perfect timing, and hard contact, you're rewarded with a 200 foot out, or bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. It is frustrating beyond words.

This is not a fun game. It's work. I work for a living. When I get home and want to kick my feet up, and enjoy a video game, I want just that. To enjoy myself. The game should be challenging, rewarding, and fun to play. This to me, simply is not. It is frustrating to the point of being stressful. I'll stick to the horrible graphics of my now 2 year old 2K game.
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on September 3, 2015
It has plenty of issues, like any other sports game. Fans look terrible in the seats. Point grading system is flawed in Road To The Show. No proper tutorials to explain varies things (like Makeup) and how it affects gameplay. Annoying lack of control on pitch location, regardless of the method used. Nice selection of Pitching/Hitting Motions, most are not properly labeled however, so if you are searching for Gary Sheffield or Greg Maddox you'll have to do it by ear. Very limited character creation system, which is a disappointment.

RTTS however is lots of fun as is Franchise mode. Overall it was a nice buy given that it was on sale, so this was a value buy for me.
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