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on April 12, 2011
This will be short and sorta sweet- refer to the comments I'll tack on for a much more detailed critique of this game, for those who are interested (ie: serious baseball geeks, like me).

This year's version of The Show is again clearly aimed at serious baseball gamers- meaning people with a somewhat fanatical interest in a baseball game that plays out like a real MLB game. Meaning accurate player models/performance, believable gameplay, reasonable statistical outcomes, and most of all, challenging to play. Arcade gamers should look elsewhere- this is clearly a very serious baseball sim- and as for the "fun factor" (many criticize The Show series for this), I'd offer that it will likely be a lot of fun, but only for fans who are looking for a challenging game of video baseball, with all the ups and downs that entails. One guy said it perhaps most succinctly: if you grew up, as I did, playing the heck out of the Strat-O-Matic baseball board game, you will recognize MLB The Show 2011 as the visual representation of what you used to love about that game: real stats from real players, and real baseball game outcomes. And, I might add, outcomes that you have a lot of control over, but NOT complete control. More on that in my comment section.

This review will be mostly for people who like to play out a full season vs: the CPU, with their favorite team (single player Franchise mode). I'll mention the other game modes (Road To The Show, Home Run Derby, on-line play, co-op play) only in passing, since I don't use those modes much. I also think it's useful to state one's own background and baseball experience, when offering a critique of this game for others, as what people will/won't like about this game will largely be directly related to that. I am 56 years old, played competetive baseball from age 7 up through a college level, and have remained an avid fan to the present day. I have played most of the pc/PS baseball videogames over the years, starting with DOS-based pc games, up to the present PS3 generation of games. I play through a full season vs: the CPU on All Star level of difficulty, using my home town Chicago White Sox, and ensure each year before I start the season that all the rosters are up to date, and accurately reflect the current real teams. What I want out of any baseball game (board games through videogames) is a realistic baseball experience, that isn't easy to master after a few tries. MLB The Show 2011 is clearly for players like me- those seeking an arcade style baseball game, where you can win games, hit home runs, and strike out everybody with regular ease, should look elsewhere- you'll be incredibly frustrated/annoyed/humiliated by this game, if that's what you're seeking. But for those baseball fans like me, THIS is your game: read on.

The new addition to this year's game is the use of the right analog stick to control hitting, pitching, and fielding (baserunning still largely button controlled, same as last year). However, one of the best things about this game is the flexibility it offers: you can play with the old button controls if you don't like the right stick, or you can play with any combination of old/new gamepad controls. For instance, I am playing this current season using last year's zone control/buttons for hitting, but the right stick for pitching and fielding- more on this below.

To hit, you pull the right stick back(down) as the pitcher is in his windup, and push forward(up) to "swing". It's largely a matter of timing that affects the outcome of any swing, as the only "aiming" you have to do with the right stick is left or right, as you push it forward, to hit pitches on the inside/outside part of the plate. The CPU automatically adjusts for whether the pitch was high or low. I went back to the old button control for hitting after a number of games, but not because I was having all that hard a time with just simply didn't "feel" like hitting to me, especially because of not having to consider whether the pitch was high or low. "Swinging" with the left stick, and having to aim the left stick to a specific zone where the pitch is, to successfully hit the ball (last year's mechanism) just feels more like hitting to me. But to each his own- hitting has always been challenging in The Show series, and this year is no different, regardless of what control you choose. See my comment section for WHY hitting is hard. Hint: it's not because of the controls.

Pitching with the right stick is a major upgrade, IMO, compared to last year. You still select the type of pitch you want with a button, but then pull back on the rt stick to start your windup- the height of the pitch(high or low) depends on how close you come to releasing your pitch (forward on the rt stick) when a meter bar approaches a white line- hitting the white line exactly when you push up on the stick means a pitch on the level- too soon or too tardy on the release affects the up/down location result. You are also required to aim your upward push of the rt stick to hit the spot laterally, where you aimed before the windup started- hit it exactly, and the pitch USUALLY winds up where you intended- the more off the target you are with the upward stick motion, the less accurate the lateral location of the pitch. I have stuck with the rt stick for pitching, as I find it much more challenging and interactive than the old model. It IS harder to avoid walking CPU batters, as a result, but much like hitting, success with the analog stick for pitching depends on more than just accuracy with the stick. Comment section for more on that, but in short: strategy, and some baseball know-how/experience counts.

Fielding with the rt stick has some issues, IMO. I use it again because it is much more interactive than the old push-a-button-and-hope-for-the-best mechanism. You move your fielder with the left stick, and throw with the right. You push the stick in the direction of the base you want to throw to, and then a tricolor meter bar will rapidly appear below your fielder. Throw when it is green, and the throw is always on the mark. Throw in the yellow, and it usually is, but better fielders will have better throws when it is yellow, and the chance for an error higher with a less skilled player. Throw in the red, and it is almost always an error, and usually a seriously wild throw, no matter who the fielder is. Pure fielding errors/bobbles on batted balls still seem rather random to me, however- though this is supposedly based on the individual fielder's real MLB skills, I'm not entirely conviinced of this yet (ie: I've already had to watch Sox fielding wizard, and future Hall of Famer, Omar Vizquel, bobble a number of routine ground balls). So this is OK, since it's way more engaging now to field, and PERHAPS takes into account more of the individual player's fielding skills, but it has some serious issues, IMO, that affect gameplay a lot- see my comments again for details. Just be prepared for making LOTS of errors, when you first start playing the game. The learning curve isn't all that steep, though, so keep at it. It IS more engaging than last year.

The graphics are again stellar, and easily the best of any sports game on the market currently. Player models are unbelievably accurate and detailed, as are individual player batting stances, pitching motions, and mannerisms. There are a number of new gameplay animations from last year, which add to the fun factor in playing a game. The stadiums are also more detailed and individualized, as are the crowds. The noises of the ballpark and gameplay are also spot-on, with the result being that the incredible visuals in this game greatly add to the gameplay experience. It's totally immersive, and looks like the real thing. All they need to add now are the smells of hot dogs, peanuts, and beer......

The announcers, alas, remain the single weakest aspect of the game, and a main reason why I don't give this game 5 stars. Eric Karros has replaced the annoying Rex Hudler, but Matt Vaskurgian and Dave "Soup" Campbell are back. Karros stuttering, gee-whiz delivery is probably an upgrade from Hudler's ridiculous schtick, but the other two unfortunately have very little new scripting involved in their announcing of a game. It's obvious that very little effort went into upgrading this aspect of the game, and it's too bad, because it was old last year. MLB2k does this WAY better, though the rest of that game remnains inferior to The Show. More in my comments again, but for now, that's all I have to say about THAT.

Rosters are fairly complete, though again most minor league players are fictional characters. It seems that real players exist only for players who have played some games at the MLB level- likely a licensing thing, I suspect.
Not a big deal, though, since again a major strength of this game is that you can edit just about everything, and create players to your wishes as well. Players are all rated for a number of skills, that affect individual performance and gameplay results, and you are free to edit any player that way, should you think the ratings are wrong. I have found that most ratings are OK, with the consistent exception that many fairly fast players have relatively low speed/running ratings- so I edit those accordingly, as I come across them. For on-line users, the game again updates rosters, based on real MLB changes, on a weekly basis.

Other modes again include Road To The Show (I don't use this, but consensus I hear is it's also much improved from last year), Home Run Derby (to satisfy, somewhat anyway, the arcade-game seekers), and on-line play (still apparently a serious lag problem, though), and co-op play, where up to 4 players can play a game at the same time. I'd refer readers to other reviews for a critique of these game modes, since I rarely use them: playing a full season vs: the CPU is all the time I can manage.

In summary (guess this wasn't too short after all): MLB The Show 2011 remains the best baseball game on the videogame market, by far. It has it's appeal mainly to serious baseball fans, though, and will likely be "too hard" and "no fun" for more casual gamers, especially those who don't understand that the best MLB teams LOSE 4 out of every 10 games. I'll add details in the comments section for those interested, as the season moves on- and I get more games played, and comments are welcome.


P.S. As of this date, no less than 26 professional videogaming review websites rate this game 89.5%, out of 100%.
I'd have to agree.
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on March 12, 2011
Maybe it's the fact that I've purchased this game since '08. Maybe it's because this game is so good that it has spoiled me. But I can't help but feel this franchise has reached its peak and is starting to level off.

First things first, as usual, the graphics are amazing. You've seen the screen shots, watched the YouTube videos, and maybe have even played the demo. If there's one thing The Show fans can count on, it's photo-realism. One graphical complaint I do have is the sky textures. Would it kill them to put in some clouds? Or in night games, maybe the moon? Stars? With so much of the game taking place from the batter's point of view, the sky is constantly on screen. It's just so.. blah.

The new gameplay mechanics utilizing the analog controls require suburb timing, making pitching and hitting challenging yet engaging. Analog controls are also added for fielding.

Also, a pretty important change I'd like to mention: no longer can you simply guess the pitch type and have the game automatically give you the location. For example, in previous versions, you could guess fastball and sit changeup. If the pitcher threw a fastball, an indicator would flash at the exact location where the pitch would end up, whether it was a ball or strike. In '11, you now must guess the location along with pitch type. Simply correctly guessing the pitch will not reveal the pitch location, upping the difficulty of hitting even further.

Returning this year are Road to the Show and Franchise.

RTTS has improved somewhat. Remember those annoying goals, like "Hit and Run" or "Drive in the Run"? Those are a thing of the past. It was a broken system. You'd attempt a Hit and Run, but the pitch could be far out of the strike zone. If you swung at it, you'd invariably miss the ball, failing the goal in the process. Now, each at-bat is rated as Poor, Good, or Excellent. From my experience, there is NO way to gain negative points during an at-bat. Even if you end up hitting into a double play, you could still earn points (albeit, not many).

As usual, you'll spend about two seasons in the minors before being called up to The Show. If you're lucky, a player in your position will get injured or traded, allowing you to ascend the ranks much more quickly.

Franchise allows players to manage everything from ticket prices to concessions. It's essentially the same as last year. Running a team can become a little tedious, especially dealing with injuries. If a player on your MLB roster needs to spend time on the DL, you will have to call up a player from your AAA roster, call up a player from AA to replace the AAA player, and basically do it all over again in reverse once the MLB player returns. And injuries are COMMON. Of course, you could always set all of the tedious decision making to AI control, which is what I did.

One thing that annoys me to no end in Franchise is the way MVP awards are decided. Just like in previous versions of The Show, pitchers are awarded the MVP award at an alarming rate. In real life, a pitcher has won the MVP only once since 1987 (Dennis Eckersley). Since there is an MVP award for each league, that's one pitcher out of the past 46 MVP awards bestowed. In The Show, I've played five franchise seasons and SIX pitchers have won the MVP. Yes, in three of those seasons, both the AL MVP and NL MVP were pitchers. That's unheard of!

The commentating is just foul at this point. Matt Vasgersian has probably not been in the recording studio since '08 other than to say a few new names. Dave Campbell is back to add absolutely nothing to the experience. Where's the excitement? Where's the inflection? Why does everything sound so forced? Eric Karros is new to the booth and an improvement over Rex Hudler (who WOULDN'T be an improvement over Rex Hudler?). But it's marginal. Karros has more energy, but his lines are still painfully generic. Of the three commentators, Karros sounds like he had the most fun in the recording booth.

There have been reports on multiple message boards that the game is prone to freezing. I've personally experienced instances of freezing. The very first time I loaded the game, it froze during one of those opening montages. Next time, it froze on the trade screen in Franchise mode. Luckily, the game hasn't frozen during an actual game.

One other minor gripe has to do with the Home Run Derby. First, there is absolutely no unique broadcaster commentary for this mode, just the muffled PA announcer in the background ("He's down to two outs!"). There's no golden ball as the final out, which could have been a cool touch. And there are no kids running around in the outfield shagging balls! Honestly, when I watch the home run derby on TV, I get a kick out of the kids diving for balls and trying to catch pop ups. I think that would have been such a great addition! Instead, you're just hitting balls into an empty outfield. It just feels a glorified session of batting practice.

Many of you die-hard fans probably think I'm being too tough on this game. But hey, if I buy this game four years running, my expectations are going to be high. Sadly, this game feels like what perennial sports games should never turn into - the $60 yearly roster update.

If you are new to the franchise, buy it, hands down. But if you own The Show 10, I'd wait for next year.
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on March 24, 2011
I've had every edition of this series since it started, and I've grown accustomed to the great graphics and the slick presentation. I've always found, though, that the playability needs quite a bit of tweaking to make the gameplay realistic. Thankfully, you have the ability to make these changes with the dozens of settings that you can customize with using the slider bar. I will say that this year's game seems the hardest to play in the MLB series and after hours of tweaking the gameplay settings, I still can't get this right. My beefs:

1. Hitting has become exceptionally hard - which is fine if it works both ways (i.e. hard for the AI as well), but it doesn't. I've abandoned the analog controls for now as they are not consistent and seem 'off' a bit (for lack of a better word). I was a very good hitter in the '09 & '10 editions but this year, it's much more difficult. I'm up for a challenge but I think the AI needs to be impacted as well. I'm scoring 0-3 runs per game and haven't hit double digits in hits 22 games into my season (with the Tigers, and there are some good hitters in that lineup). Too many grounders and soft pop flies to the shallow OF.
2. Piching is regressing year-over-year. The AI seems to have no issues hitting whatever I throw at the plate and has the plate discipline of Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs with every batter. Whereas my pitchers struggle to hit the corners consistently, the AI does so with ease. Guys with a 5.00+ ERA in real-life are studs in this game. There is absolutely zero forgiveness when pitching. I also think this game is to the point in its development where needs to improve pitch recognition and pitch physics. While it has always been tough to see balls vs. strikes on borderline pitches, this year it seems a little more difficult. I don't think there is enough recognition separation between pitches with 15 to 20 MPH differences. I actually think MLB 2K is better in this area. Other than 12-6 curveballs, pitches tend to be flat across the board.
3. Hits into the corner are seldom doubles. I think this game has always struggled with effectively scaling OF speed, throwing accuracy and throwing velocity. Not enough drives into the gap fall. This needs much tweaking to get right and, again, for some reason I have not yet been able to find that elixir in this year's edition.
4. Stealing is, as always, tough. Not enough separation in catcher skills between those you cannot run on and those you can thieve all day. It's been this way for years.

All in all, I do enjoy the game but I'm now looking at MLB 2K11 as a diversion to the somewhat unrealistic gameplay that The Show is becoming more and more. The Show, graphically, blows away 2K11 but in my opinion playing the game is why we buy them.
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on March 12, 2011
First off, let me state that I come from the school of thought that if they had done nothing but update the rosters I would consider the game awesome, so what I have seen so far deserves A+ in my opinion. Secondly, let me add that I have no interest in analog control. I tried it for about 30 seconds. I don't see that it adds to the experience for me at all. I am all about playing Franchise on All-Star level with my Cubs and Yankees and I have only played some pre-season games so here is what I can offer.

Graphically I see improvement in terms of the appearance of the players. The biggest thing I have seen with limited playing time is that the movement of the players in the field is, to my mind, significantly more life-like. They move toward the ball in a more natural fashion and I have noticed that if you try to change direction they are not able to turn on a dime, but have to slow down and will move in a much more realistic way. Each individual player's range is actually a factor. I noticed that Soriano will bumble a little bit in LF--I have personally seen him drop flies like a little leaguer (those of you who know Strat-O-Matic will understand when I say he is a definite "5" in LF)so no one can claim this is not realistic.While I am still feeling my way through the settings (that's what Spring Training is for) I am starting to really appreciate the broadcast camera view. I am still getting used to it and it can be a little deceptive when fielding , but the look of it is really pretty.

I have also noticed that the hitters will take their sweet time in between pitches. It can be a little frustrating if ,like me, patience is not your best trait but it is very realistic and really adds the relaxed pace that is a game. And on the subject of issues that arise with a lack of patience, I loooove the balk feature. And I learned you have to be careful. I was getting beat and getting frustrated so I started to hurry and balked a guy from first to third and he scored on a hit. If you don't like it you can turn it off, but I love having to come set . Again--the real feel of the game comes through.

I think the commentary, while largely the same, has improved. Karros is heads and shoulders above Hudler--he speaks in a more relaxed,conversational tone that adds to the leisurely ambience that is baseball--not goofy and on fire all the time.I almost fainted when I heard interaction between him and Vasgersian, when Matt asked him if he agreed that C.C deserved CY Young consideration!

Hitting is very challenging (see edit) challenging, and it almost seems like pitchers are mind readers in foiling your location guesses. You have to be patient, work the count, be aware of pitcher (and umpire!) tendancies. After I had a strike called on a high pitch clearly out of the zone, I took a chance that the wiley pitcher was going to try and get away with that location again, and roped it for a single. I have not tried the contact swing too much, but love the idea that with a 2 strike count you have the option to try to protect a little bit and cut down on the strike outs. The cancel throw feature is also a great idea.

The game is even more visually stunning than last year and I haven't even scratched the surface of what I will see as I am planning for the first time to play all the Spring games to really get a feel for the game and my roster and build that anticipation toward opening day!

If you really love baseball and have the patience for hitting, with no arcade expecatations that you will hit a homer every at bat this game is a real loving tribute to America's past time, and really done in a first rate fashion.

A tape measure home run on this one for me!!

I have played several more games as the Yanks and Cubs in Spring Training and I think that my experience is consistent with the general consensus that hitting is definitely more challenging this year.I am really struggling on All-Star level. I did not have trouble at all in last year's model, but I am averaging like 1 run a game with a team BA of .177. I have won five games out of the twenty-odd that I have played. One, I was down 7-0 in the third and got miffed and simmed it to the end, and lo and behold the CPU had the Yanks win 13-7.One I won against the Nats 1-0 on a suicide squeeze in the 11th after Burnett had a no - hitter thru 8 1/3. The CPU is clearly even more develish than last year with spotting pitches, and focus and patience at a much bigger premium. I have never been a slider adjuster, but have found that with this version it is a must to tweak the sliders a bit to generate some offense. As I write I am still perfecting that, but I can say that, unlike Madden in my opinion, this game can be adjusted to play beautifully and the graphics are really just stunning.
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on August 26, 2011
"Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex, and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem." - Saul Steinberg

"This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." - Bull Durham

For hardcore baseball fans, especially those who write for a living, it's easy to get swept away in the romanticism of the game. Our National pastime has inspired more overwrought purple prose and misty-eyed recollections than anything else in American culture. To the non-fan it may seem silly -- indeed many non-fans outright hate the game -- but the yearly approach of opening day is something akin to Christmas to us fans, regardless if you loved the game from in front or behind the backstop.

Fans of video-game baseball have been less lucky over the years. A number of different baseball game series -- both of the simulation and arcade varieties -- have come and gone over the years, with varied levels of quality, making it rare to be looking forward to the arrival of baseball video game season. But for the last five years, Sony has been delivering a product exclusive to their PlayStation platforms that not only has continued to improve each year, but has developed into a baseball simulation so good that I'm almost as excited for its release as I am for opening day itself.

Those who've seen but maybe not played MLB 11: The Show on PS3 are aware of the game's impressive graphical fidelity. It's easily the most realistic-looking sports video game ever, with highly realistic lighting and very believable player models. They're not all perfect matches, but most are easily recognizable in the game. Accurate stadium recreations and uniform designs are just scratching the surface of how deep the presentation goes to recreate every little detail of what it's like to watch a real game. Even the crowd animations, which include things like fans reaching into the field to grab foul grounders and beach balls bouncing around the stands -- which can be highly annoying to purists in real life -- contribute to that real feeling of being there. The designers at Sony's San Diego studio couldn't do much more besides shipping the game with a free hot dog and a beer.

But presentation means nothing if the core gameplay isn't nailed like a fat slider over the plate. Thankfully, it is. New this year are analog controls for hitting, pitching and throwing, and while many baseball games have tried to take better advantage of the dual analog sticks over the years, MLB 11: The Show seems to have refined the idea almost to perfection. Pitching makes total sense, as your ability to accurately place the sticks at the necessary angles to place the ball on the inside or outside of the plate defines whether or not you throw unhittable strikes or leave pitches out over the plate in very hittable areas. The focus is not on complex shapes to the movement to throw different pitch styles, but rather a balance been pitch choice and simple execution.

The analog hitting controls are similarly focused on accurate timing, which is of course meaningless if you choose to swing at bad pitches. So much of the pitcher/batter duel in real life is dependent on working the count and picking your pitch to hit, that actual execution is oftentimes a secondary concern. At least with great hitters. They know how to hit, and have refined and practiced their swings for years, so the strategy element almost outweighs the actual delivery of your swing or pitch, though mistakes are easily amplified if you don't have those mechanics down or are controlling a player of lesser talents.

The analog throwing while in the field is the weaker point here, with a smaller risk/reward disparity that almost makes it a bit too easy. Occasional hiccups in the animations are just that, occasional, so most of the time it looks really smooth and sweet. But throwing errors seem a bit dialed up at times too. It's not a bad or broken system in any way, but it doesn't quite have that same polish and overall nice feel that the pitching and hitting have.

Baserunning is my other big complaint, as it almost always is in baseball videogames. Just getting a guy to smoothly round a base or try to leg out a shallow double feels clunky at times, and controlling the on-base action while you're at the plate can often feel like a distraction. More than anything this feels like an A.I. tuning issue, but considering it's one of those things that seems to be so hard to get right, it's a little more forgivable. It wasn't often I felt like the game cheated me out of an extra base -- I just want my players to be a bit more like real players, and take that extra base when they obviously can.

With core mechanics mostly down pat, and a visual presentation that might have you mistaking it for a real game on TV, MLB 11: The Show would have me right there. As a purist, that's mostly all I need. But The Show turns around and goes a couple of extra miles by providing a plethora of modes beyond the typical Franchise and Exhibition modes (which by the way, are great on their own.) Road To The Show is back again, with greatly improved progression through your minor league career and tons of training based mini-games that really make the mode feel like a true RPG. But with orcs being replaced by the Dodgers, armor with myriad uniform options, and enchanted swords with customized bats. Some of the specific positions you can play in RTTS have even been improved, with catchers calling the pitches for an entire game now. It's good to see the backstops getting the respect they deserve -- they're the real quarterback on the field, not the pitcher. Or maybe the defensive coordinator, something like that.

MLB 11: The Show is so full of the heart and soul of baseball that even jaded baseball video gamers have to admit how close it is to the real thing. The inclusion of so many modes -- from RTTS, to Rivalry, to even playing co-operatively with another human player on your team -- is just icing on the cake, and more material to keep you from getting bored in the middle of a long season of adjusting your rosters and playing each and every one of the 162 games in a season. Real fans, like yours truly, don't find that boring at all, but I still appreciate everything MLB 11: The Show has to offer. It's the best baseball game since 3DO's High Heat series from a decade ago, and could quite possibly be one of the best and most complete sports games I've ever played. To put it cheekily, Sony has absolutely knocked it out of the park.

PROS: Captures not only the core mechanics of baseball, but also the little details in the crowd and player animations that make the game so unique; one of the best applications of analog controls in a sports game ever; more modes than you can shake a fungo at; Road to the Show treats your athlete like a character in an RPG.

CONS: Baserunning and analog throwing controls do still need a little work; the beach balls bouncing around the crowd may be realistic, but they still annoy me in real life; the announcer AI is well-programmed, but because I'm a Giants fan I could do without Dodger color man Eric Karros in the booth. Give me Kruk and Kuip!
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on June 21, 2011
Its an awesome game. So realistic and the picture is amazing. I love the Sox and its so cool to see all the updated players and play as my team in different parks. I bought PS3 for this game and I'm glad I did because it is that awesome.
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on March 25, 2011
This review is mainly for those who are fairly new to the series and/or interested in the 3D content. I'm going to limit this review to the batting/pitching gameplay and the 3D content.

I received this game as a present from my brother once I got my 3D LED TV. I own MLB '09 and '07 but did not spend too much time on those games. MLB '11 has been different for a few reasons.

First off, I view the batting/pitching interface to be the most important feature of a baseball game. The batting/pitching interface in the MLB series has always been top notch but I've found that you had to fiddle around with the sliders to achieve "realistic" gameplay (i.e., resulting realistic stats, realistic physics, etc.). In my personal experience (playing at All-Star difficulty), I found hitting to be challenging and pitching to be near impossible. One of the nice things about this year's version is that the difficulty seems to be toned down a bit (especially the pitching). I always viewed pitching as taking a break from hitting but this year I really enjoy pitching and the results I'm getting. Hitters don't crush every mistake you make and at the same time, your pitchers seem to have less command than previous years which adds to the tension and excitement of the game.

Hitting is also a lot of fun this year with very life-like hitting stances and animations. I've found that I get decent result by decreasing the pitch speed slider by 1 tick and lowering pitcher control down to zero. I can work a few walks a game this way and stay below double digit strike outs. If you're new to the game, it's very important to wait for pitches you can handle (out over the plate as opposed to down or up and in). Unless there's two strikes, I don't swing at a pitcher's pitch even if it's in the strike zone. Working the count is very important. I usually use normal swing early in the count and switch to power swing when I'm ahead and the pitcher is likely to throw a get-me-over fastball or contact swing when I have two strikes. I'm getting good enough where I'm starting to decrease the hitting solid contact rate. The hitting is extremely fun and immersive. I've never played professional baseball but the mental aspect of hitting seems to have translated very well. It's also very important to experiment with the camera angles. I've found that wide offset works best for me. I have not extensively tested the analog controls of hitting or pitching.

Finally, I've really enjoyed the 3D content in this game. It's the only game that I always play in 3D mode. It's subtly well done and adds another element of realism to the game. The pitches don't jump out of the screen (at least on my TV) but you do get a sense of how fast the pitches are coming at you. I find that it helps me time my swings a lot better. My only complaint is that I wish I could exaggerate the 3D effects slightly more without distorting the image (there's some shadowing effects on the pitchers).

Overall, this is a great game. The animations, graphics, physics and 3D content are very life like and well done. The batting/pitching interface has always been great and this year seems a little more forgiving. I would highly recommend this game to those who are interested in this series and/or own a 3D TV.
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on July 10, 2011
Here's a really quick review. MLBTS11 uses the same formula as MLBTS10, with a just a few (but MAJOR) updates. Of course, we have purely analog options for hitting, pitching, and fielding. My personal preference is to use analog control for hitting (which makes hitting infinitely more possible but also more fun and intuitive/engaging) and pitching (which is more fun, but also more challenging than simple button pitching) while leaving the fielding option as button control only. To me, this makes the game 100% stronger than its immediate predecessor. They also modified some of the in-game physics so a baseball hitting the outfield wall doesn't go bouncing away like its made of rubber. There are still frustratingly slow field-to-throw transitions for fielders, but this is minor really. Some of the Cooperstown and Minor League options are no longer available (very limited selection of Minor League fields to play at), but again these are minor. My biggest complaint is that, like previous iterations, almost every game has this inexplicable feeling of predetermination to the outcome is already set and the computer adjusts its own play to achieve said outcome. Whether this means the computer giving you too many opportunities to win or breaking out of a scoreless rut to hit 4 HRs in the 9th, I'm often left wondering whether (like pro wrestling) each match is fixed. Who knows. All in all, this is the game I'd hoped MLBTS10 would have been.
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on March 21, 2011
The Analog controls are much better than I ever imagined. Road to the Show is much better as well. The rating for each plate appearance in RTTS is a much better way of getting training points. Great game in every aspect.
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on August 6, 2011
So I'm a cubs fan so obvisouly waited til mid season to buy the game since we have bought of the last 3 years and this game stops all of them..Fing AMAZING in every way shape and form..

Not only the best sports game of all time so far..maybe the best game on ps3 ever released..true to life and feels like you are really on the field..never had an experience like it in my life playing video games..
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