MLB 14: The Show as a series has joined an exclusive club of games that has stood for a mark of quality each and every time they come out (Ratchet &Clank, Halo, Arkham). They’re almost great by default. A fine line that can leave a franchise feeling stale, but for its first outing on the PS4, MLB 14: The Show delivers an entry that –while not perfect– is one worth picking up for baseball fans.
The game has some great features new and old; player-made scenarios, road to the show, and Vita cross play support. But just to get this out of the way, our one big complaint about the game is that it doesn’t fully take advantage of the power PS4 has under the hood. When you first launch the game, you’ll be treated to an almost 40gb game data load, which wouldn’t be so bad if it helped in game load times in any way. Personally, I heated a TV dinner, sorted my dirty laundry, and opened my mail in the time it took to get everything set. It’s an annoyance but not one that will deter from all the visual goodness inside the game, to which there is plenty of.
Players look and animate marvelously. Backhanded flips to second base, end-over-end bat flips look gorgeous and blend in the gameplay seamlessly. All the stadiums feel fleshed out. If you go in the replay mode and use the camera you can see every fan in the stadium feels like they have a personality. MLB makes these stadiums feel like the cathedrals baseball fans know them to be. There’s almost as much detail in the nuances of baseball as there are in the striking player models. Oh and on the PS4, MLB 14: The Show runs in full glorious 1080p.
Like every MLB, the big hook here is Road to The Show mode where gamers can take a custom nobody all the way to game seven of the World Series. Community challenges let you craft and upload scenarios both realistic and improbable for others to play, like the two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth-in-Game-7-of-the-World-Series situation I made. It adds a clever crowdsourced twist. There’s also an addition to the game that will keep your progress going in future MLB games, which is something fans have been craving for a very long time.
Overall those looking for the next evolutionary leap in baseball simulators may feel like MLB 14 comes up a bit short in terms of features, but there’s no doubt MLB 14: The Show is one of the most visually stunning next-gen gaming experiences. Baseball fans need this game on PS4.
[Own it/Used Game/Rent it/Skip it]
MLB 14: The Show is available now on PS3, Vita, and PS4