About 14-15 years ago there was quite a large quantity of baseball video games out in the wild. You had series such as MVP Baseball, All-StarBaseball, High Heat Baseball, MLB 2k and MLB from 989 Sports. In what was a very opposite EA/2K situation, Acclaim went into bankruptcy: ending that series, 3DO went belly up, ending the High Heat statistician’s man’s baseball game was gone forever, leaving MLB, MVP and 2K standing. But that wasn’t enough for 2k as they secured the Major League Baseball exclusivity license around ’05=’06 forcing MVP to morph into a College Baseball game. Still, there was one ENORMOUS flaw in this plan by Take-Two Interactive, EA was better at making a baseball game than them. In retrospect, every dev was better than Vicarious Visions at baseball games. Unfortunately, they are now latched onto the WWE 2k series since Take-Two after the Fall of THQ. The last attempt at making good baseball games was done by Sony Computer Entertainment who had success using “the voice of God” Vin Scully since ’98. A change was to come shortly after Scully departed the 2005 edition of the game as Scully would be replaced with San Diego Padres play-by-play man and former XFL play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian, 989 sports would be ousted as the developer of the series with Sony San Diego Studios taking over for the 2006 rendition of the game. This my friends is where “The Show” was conceived. Starting 12 years ago in 2006 “Big Papi” David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox who almost single-handedly killed the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 would grace the cover of MLB 2006: The Show. This is where we begin.
“Our National Pastime, All The Time”
MLB 17: The Show is different than all baseball games that came before with just two words: MLB Network. Select games of the season or exhibition games are presented the same as they are on the Network. After only two to three years the commentary crew shakeup happens which, while I’d normally have a problem with this as Eric Karros and Steve Lyons are still new-ish but the replacements are more than welcome. In keeping with the theme of the MLB Network in come Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac to join fellow MLBN colleague Matt Vasgersian. After putting in many hours so far I have heard some lines repeat but not all so I assume there’s hope. Regardless, you feel like you’re in the game. I don’t like the original playlists used for The Show 17 so I used a USB thumb drive to import the music from the MVP Baseball games.
“It’s Deja Vu All Over Again”
After years of feeling stale Road to the Show finally got some work done and feels fresh again. This is due to the RPG-elements added to the game mode. My experience so far is a starting pitcher in the New York Yankees farm system. After 5-6 quality starts the manager of the Trenton Thunder asked me to move to the Closer’s role as an experiment naturally I had options along the lines of refusing, complying, or doing whatever was best for the team. After notching six or several saves I was moved again, this time to the bullpen as a long-relief man. It’s a more than welcome addition to the mode which, like I said, was starting to feel stale. There’s another new feature/game mode that has been added to MLB 17 and that is Retro Mode. Retro mode is exactly what it sounds like: a throwback to the classic arcade baseball games where the emphasis is more on hitting as many home runs as possible rather than trying to pitch a perfect game.
“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”
Franchise mode this year IS feeling stale. You can look at the last two iterations of MLB The Show and they are the exact same. The only difference this year are “Quirks”: special feats and abilities a player can have such as playing better at home, having an extremely strong throwing arm and excelling at hitting home runs. Financially, franchise exists the same as real life. With luxury tax, revenue sharing and more playing a factor in your season. Still, there are certain game modes from All Star Baseball that can be utilized perfectly one more than any other and that is Expansion mode. Creating a new Baseball team in a location that currently doesn’t have one. It is the one feature I pray Sony includes EVERY YEAR but am disappointed to not see it. Because I believe that Sony San Diego could expand upon the feature perfectly!
“It’s Not Over Til’ It’s Over”
The graphics in this game are absolutely phenomenal. Then again, you can say this about every version of this series but Clayton Kershaw LOOKS like Clayton Kershaw. Long gone are the days of having to look at the players from a different perspective to see that it is them now it is blatantly clear who you are looking at.
- Amazing Graphics
- Fun New Game Modes
- Great Commentary Team
- Role Playing To The Show
- Stale Franchise Mode
- No Expansion Mode