MLB 07: The Show


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


After rushing a first time PSP effort aptly titled MLB in 2005, Sony’s baseball franchise made a dash for home in their 2006 edition. Demolishing a weak effort from 2K Sports in the process, Sony has continued their strive for quality in their handheld baseball product even without major competition. MLB 07 is a stunningly well-rounded sports title, and the best in the category for the PSP.

mlb07show1psp.jpg (31624 bytes)One nagging issue continues to plague this portable version of the Playstation 2 release. The lack of franchise play for three straight years is becoming inexcusable, possibly even becoming a breaking point for potential buyers. Thankfully, that’s the only legitimate complaint, and The Road to the Show in which you control only one player striving to gain a pro contract by working through the minors, is enough to make up for it.

In every aspect, MLB 07 slaughters all sports titles on the console. Presentation, including a loaded commentary from Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell, and Rex Hudler is well beyond the expectation for a handheld. Replays add immeasurably to the immersion factor. A massive variety of animation keeps the game fresh long into the season.

Game play improvements include better communication between the catcher and pitcher. The catcher now calls out what pitch he sees as appropriate, and changes as the game goes on to adjust for hot hitters. Of course, the player can override these calls as they want.

Morale comes into play as pitches fail. It’s harder to hit a specific spot or zone if you’re throwing a pitch responsible for giving up a home run earlier. A well thought out pitching meter adds unpredictability to this aspect of the sport, and makes wild throws a strong possibility.

Umpires now have their own personalities that can affect how strict their calls are. This can change the game completely in a tight situation. While it can be frustrating, it’s a layer of realism previously unseen in sports games. An umpire can turn a close strike into a ball just as easily as they could in real life.

Some frame rate issues do crop up. The transition from the pitcher/batter duel leads to a second or two of catching up, though this is rarely a factor in making or missing plays. A strong graphics engine is at work, including unbelievable stadium detail. A hiccup in the frame rate is almost acceptable when you view these locations for the first time on the small screen.

Online play has somehow managed to surpass the addictive nature of last year’s game. Not only will you be able to take part in a full, unified online community between PSP and PS2 users, you can view articles based on your preferences (team, league, etc.), view a live ticker, and post on a message board accessible from the lobby. In an actual lag free contest, you can receive live updates on your favorite teams current game with who’s on base, strike count, and score. It’s a seamless way to enjoy the real sport and the virtual one.

While it’s a shame to lose the involving franchise mode from the PS2, MLB 07 makes up for it in every other aspect. Rarely do portable ports of major sports franchise have a keen eye for realism. This is hardly another cheap conversion for the PSP. This truly is the Playstation 2 edition on a UMD.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 09:25 PM