Thursday, March 23 2006 @ 12:00 AM CST
MLB ’06 The Show may just be the best baseball game to ever grace a handheld system. Not since RBI Baseball back in the day have I become so addicted to a baseball title. While overall it is not perfect, the package is delivered in such a way that you can’t help but fall in love.
The controls are one of the issues I can gripe about though. The PSP has limitations, and while I’m sure the analog stick was a great idea at the time, my wrist has felt the effects from playing this game for too many hours on end. Pitching breaks down the strike zone into nine areas. You can aim a ghost baseball in the desired zone you are looking to fire the pitch down and press a key that corresponds to the pitch type you want to throw. Pitching uses a meter to set the effectiveness and accuracy of each pitch.
Hitting the pitches is fairly straight forward as well. Before the pitch pressing the right shoulder along with a corresponding button will allow you to predict the pitch. Rather then a swing stick you simply press a button and the game will judge where the pitch was and begin the swing. This allows for good control over if the hit can be pulled or not.
Play modes include exhibition, season, career, home run derby, king of the diamond, and online. The season and career modes allow multi-season play, but only include basic trade and lineup management functions. Also, aside from the lone character you can create in the career mode, you can't edit rosters or customize players. The king of the diamond mode is basically a contest between pitchers and hitters, without any fielders involved.
Commentary is provided by a three-man booth of Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell, and Rex Hudler. Vasgersian does all of the general play-by-play while the other two have the color duties. Overall, the commentary is chatty and accurate sometimes giving me information I would have not otherwise known. For being constricted the size of the UMD, MLB ’06 does a great job of fitting as much as it can allow in a tiny package.
Online play allows head-to-head play in exhibition games and king of the diamond contests. Overall, the smoothness of online games is highly dependent on the speed and quality of your Internet connection. If your connection is solid, online play is just as smooth as offline play is.
Overall while the PS2 version of the game packs more content such as Rivalry mode, the PSP version of MLB ’06 The Show is worthy of your on the go baseball fix. Since getting this game it has yet to leave my PSP and looks to stay on there awhile longer. With the ability to track multiple season of play now and the career mode MLB ’06 has shown that they are able to add more features to the PSP after a year. If anything the title has only raised my expectations of the changes I would like to see many of the sports titles make this coming year!