Tuesday October 27th, 2015, the day the 2015 World Series starts — which subsequently is today and MLB 15 the Show becomes more exciting than ever.
MLB 15 the Show with her vast features, amazing graphics and high replay value is what makes this game great. It’s PS4 exclusivity and zero competition keeps it from being the best MLB game to date — this isn’t to take anything away from the game itself and not for lack of trying but, with nothing to compare it to, how can something be the best? However before being nixed in early 2013, the MLB 2k series was vastly inferior to it’s counter part.
Namco does have it’s newly revamped R.B.I. Baseball series since 2014 but, both the ’14 and ’15 installments are of the arcade genre and have little to no simulation to the game. Just pure, quick baseball action.
While The Dads will get to a full review later, one monumental flaw will be dissected now.
When you download or pop in the disc for the first time, the installation process is — interesting. The 2014 version wasn’t any better, mind you but, I’ve digressed. Instead of taking you through the opening video, copyrights page and then straight to the main menu — while you wait out the installation. It will throw you into the 2014 World Series between the San Francisco Giant and Kansas City Royals.
In the top left hand corner of the screen you’ll see the installation bar and it’s onto the installation process or game. Matt Vasgersian will greet you and explain the all new features of the game. You’ll take control of Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. Vasgersian will continue to go through his spiel during a half inning, each inning.
The pause menu will be available but, until the game is fully installed you will not be able to quit the game and head to the main menu.
LagDads had some issue with the install. The game finished and, the installation progress bar had never moved. Naturally the PS4 was restarted and, again started the installation process. Thank heavens the game installed the second time around before the 7th inning.
As was stated earlier this is somehow better yet, still worse than the way the 2014 edition went about it. It can seem faster because you’re playing the game and Matt is explaining the all new features. As opposed to just sitting there at the main menu not being able to use each mode until said mode is installed.
2014 also varied in installation time. The first time took nearly seven hours, while the second and third time only an hour or two. Thankfully you won’t need to wait this long. Unless of course what happened here at LagDads, happens to you.
MLB 15 the Show installation is informative and, at least interactive but comes with it’s flaws in the form of needing to install more than once (maybe) and trying to play whilst not just listening but, grasping everything Vasgersian has to say. Of course if your team isn’t in the AL Central, NL West or you aren’t a fan of the Giants or Royals this introduction of sorts can rub you the wrong way, as well.
You’ll be asked to choose the difficulty level (which can be changed at anytime) and, then into the game we go.
Play Now – This is broken into three modes; The Show Live, Exhibition and Online Rated.
The Show Live – Is at its most exciting point of the year. Every individual game is a match-up corresponding with the day. This includes updated rosters, probable pitching match-ups and, daily line-ups. You can also play any game from the first game of the year and, beyond — as long that game is scheduled for said day or already finalized.
Exhibition – This mode is rather self explanatory. Play with any MLB team including AL/NL All-Star teams. You can also play with any Triple-A and Double-A team. Exhibition is against the computer or with friends and, up to four players.
Online Rated – Pick your favorite team or a team that suits the way you play best, then a a pitcher and choose how you want to play. You will then be able to choose your hitting/pitching difficulty, guess pitch and whether or not you want quick counts. Finally the CPU will match make an exhibition game for you against another player online.
Franchise – within this mode there is three types of play.
Franchise – A more in depth mode of play. Start out picking your team/s and then options that customize the experience for you — things like fantasy draft or your team/s true roster, making trades for all teams or allowing the CPU to trade for team/s you aren’t playing as and more.
After all is said and chosen, you will take the reigns as the GM, manager, as well as playing or simulating all preseason, 162 regular season (possibly more) games for each year. At each seasons end you’ll be thrust into the off season where you can make each and every choice a GM and FO would have to make or simulate the whole thing and/or both.
One of the more exciting parts of the game is controlling your MiLB affiliates and growing your franchise from the inside-in, if you choose to. Farm your whole team or sell the farm to try and make a run at the Fall Classic each year.
In Franchise your seasons will continue year-after-year until you choose to retire.
Online Franchise – In a nutshell; is playing franchise with a fantasy baseball twist online with 6-30 teams and 14-162 games. Both publicly and/or privately. You can draft players, use current rosters and all kinds of other customizable options.
Start your own franchise, join other franchises or let people know you’re looking for a franchise. You’ll only be able to create two franchises and, join four more for a total of six.
Season – Is a less in-depth version of franchise where you only play for a single season.
Community Challenges – Here you can earn rewards for RTTS and DD by playing challenges created by you, other players who play The Show and the developers as well. Challenges can be nearly anything — i.e. Miggy vs Trout; where Mike tries to rob three home-runs by the former Triple-Crown winner or something to the effect of; trying your best to throw Dee Gordon out at home plate.
Each challenge has it’s pros, cons and difficulty levels.
There are thousands of challenges to keep you engaged for months at a time.
Diamond Dynasty – Inside MLB 15 the Show you’ll earn, be rewarded or buy cards to build a fully customizable team (within developer boundaries) that is all your own. were talking Logos, Uniforms and the like.
You can play online or against the CPU and collect more cards to upgrade your team and player/s.
Mini Modes – A collection of simple and to the point modes.
Home Run Derby – Play as two to ten players from any MLB team, online or offline, in a winner take all Home Run contest.
Batting Practice – Pick a batter, pitcher, stadium and then get better and better at hitting at any difficulty.
Pitching Practice – Pick a pitcher, batter, stadium and refine your pitching skills at all levels.
Post Season – Play as one or each of the Post Season teams from 2014 including wild cards and repeat or change history.
Challenge of the Week – The developers create a challenge that can earn the top 5 players some pretty sweet prizes. Like 75,000 stubs, ten standard packs or anything they come up with.
Road to the Show – Create a position or pitching player, enter the draft or choose your team with rosters intact and rise yourself to stardom.
In RTTS you’ll have one player (though you can create as many individual RTTS players as you like). Play season after season starting in the minors while trying to get yourself into the MLB Hall Of Fame before you retire. Choose your position, hitting and throwing handedness and start customizing.
You can customize everything about your player and make all the decisions a MiLB and/or MLB player would make. Play as little or as much as you’d like with your RTTS avatar or simulate everything. Fielding, hitting, pitching and running the base pads is included in the fun. Not to mention if you do well, you can earn yourself a start or a back-up role in the All-Star game.
Each graded hit, pitch, strike out home run and the like will earn you points to gain experience for your RTTS player or purchase stubs in the store and let the juicing begin.
Your RTTS player can sometimes interact with management asking for a position change, a club change or ride off into the sunset and retire.
RTTS realism is previously unparalleled in any MLB game. Don’t think you can hit .800 in the minors, .700 in the Majors, win MVP/ROTY/Triple crown, MVP in the CS/WS and win a WS twice and you’re in the Hall Of Fame. Your avatar will have to have a more consistent track record to make his way into Cooperstown.
You can purchase equipment cards with stubs or purchase packs for your RTTS player — Bats, fielding gloves, batting gloves, cleats and ritual. Ritual is something you do before each game and like the other equipment cards, the higher the grade (bronze-platinum) the more of a boost it gives your avatar.
With RTTS, baseball becomes more of an RPG and less of an arcade style sports simulator.
Inventory – The area where you can keep up with all the cards you have including; Equipment, Sponsorship and Rituals. Cards can be used in either DD or RTTS modes and sometimes both.
Card Collection – Card collection is where you can lurk which Players (of legendary status, new and free agents). These cards are specifically designed for DD.
Pack Management – Where you go to find and open your unopened packs.
Community Market – A place to buy and sell cards of all variety’s.
Show Shop – Purchase packs and stubs to upgrade your RTTS and DD players and teams.
Game Rooms – Like online rated, without the rated part. Play online with other MLB 15 the Show players with your set of custom rules.
Leader Boards – Pretty obvious.
Vaults – Download, upload or rate settings such as; rosters, players, sliders and logos.
Game History – Again fairly obvious.
Announcements – Every important announcement San Diego Studios has, so you can make sure you’re up to date on all things “The Show”.
Media – MLB news as seen on MLB.com or @MLB on twitter.
Options – Doesn’t seem as if a bunch of elaboration on this is in dire need. You can make the game your own in this section and if you feel so inclined the credits can also be seen here.
From game presentation, to sliders, to creating/editing players, to saving data and, choosing the music you listen to as you play. These can all be adjusted to your liking, here.
There is a whole lot packed into a baseball game. Thanks to modes like franchise and RTTS there is a break in the simplicity of fielding, hitting and pitching. Each mode adds a fourth element to the game in that you can play for something. Playing just for a win is fun but, playing for a career or to build a dynasty, is all together something much more satisfying.
Let’s breakdown the LagDads rating.
MLB 15 the Show is phenomenal. The game-play itself is almost endlessly customizable. You can make your experience as simple or as complicated as you’d like. The Show even features a difficulty that is dynamic, the CPU understands, sees you getting better and, will adjust difficulties accordingly.
You can also just choose how to play the game the way you’d like to play. Meaning you can press a single button for the pitch you want and, when putting the bat on the ball or use the analog sticks for the perfect pitch and/or swing.
Another neat game-play option is the ability to make the game as fast or as slow as you’d like. Play a game like you’d see on Television — without the commercial breaks of course, or jump into the batters box with a 1-2 count and see what you’re made of.
You can simulate innings, manage the game from the bench or just sit back and enjoy the AI playing. You’d be surprised the people that think the game is actually on network TV.
You have the ability to move sliders to make the game more realistic or so easy you can bang out a home-run right after striking out the side on nine pitches. Really the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
As with any game somethings don’t always work the way you or the developers want them to and the online play is no exception.
Online play can be horribly lop sided. Not sure how the connection parameters are established but, never played an online game rated or otherwise that wasn’t; so laggy that the batter never even saw the pitch or when a swing was initialized at what seemed to be the perfect moment — nothing but air. Pitching in this manner can be just as irritating. The ball is placed exactly where you want it, a down and away slider but, somehow you hung it right over the middle. Suddenly instead of an inning ending strikeout, your facing yet another batter.
While playing off and online the CPU will choose when you commit an error, no matter how perfect the reaction time, dive, jump or what have you. Suddenly the ball will sail over the First baseman’s head or be ridiculously short or wide of home plate. Turning the sliders all the way down doesn’t even seem to help with this.
The CPU can also make some strange decisions when playing RTTS or Franchise with regards to trades, FA signings and, bringing up/sending down players to and from the Minor Leagues. Managers are also CPU run (unless you’re playing manager mode) and will sit you and other good players, even when you or they are on fire and with tons of energy. There are sometimes you’ll be used as a relief pitcher when you’re in the starting rotation and pitched a 9 inning game two days ago. This can really mess up your energy, the manager may leave you in while exhausted and really mess up your stat lines.
That being said, outside of online play, the game-play is rather seamless.
This is a beautiful game. From top to bottom it looks nearly real. Stadiums and their backdrops are glorious. Most of the players look great and their swings, wind-ups and other such things are spot on. Even the menus look sleek and well put together. Camera angles along with realistic broadcasting really pull you into the game.
Of course with all the customization and hundreds of ball players (created or otherwise) the game can definitely look tweaked from time to time. A hitter, pitcher or fielders head may come through their cap or helmet. A player may even suddenly have no face or no logo on their uniforms. Also, players added to the MLB rosters, will for a time look nothing like their actual selves.
Crowds at stadiums are generic, cloned and are very repetitive but, do add to the realism of the game. Scoreboard art for a home-run or a strikeout could have been attended to a bit more.
Glitches here and there do happen all around yet, seem to be rather rare.
From the music to the noise of the crowd, this games sound is more than realistic. Players will cheer or jeer each other and fans do the same. When the announcer comes over the PA the reverb is spot on. Music in the stadium whether it being walk up music or something to pump up the crowd is a small nugget of joy.
Eric, Matt and Steve are great and add that last finishing touch to an already awesome sounding game game.
Music at the menu screens can get old. Not being able to turn off the play calling from great games during the 2014 season; makes what could have been a neat and what should be rare addition to the game a tad annoying.
No licensed music for the walk-up or when a pitcher comes out of the bullpen is disheartening and should have been added.
The play-by-play and color announcers (if you play the game enough) will say the same things over and over again and, may even make a call or say something that does not pertain to the situation at hand.
Overall the sound is great and really adds to the whole experience.
With so many modes plus having the ability to create as many RTTS avatars, franchises and being able to play any actual MLB game, with any team, before of after the game has finished, this game will leave you coming back for more. Over and over again.
Don’t forget to come back each day for a free player, equipment or sponsor card. One is available everyday after 7 p.m. (PST)
Whether playing with the kids, the wife or anybody for that matter MLB 15 gives you the opportunity to play with more than online players. You can play one-on-one or play a rotating four-on-four match up and anywhere in-between.
While you may dominate one of your kids, with practice and the customization to go along with it, this game can be a real team builder, as it were.
Dad can use the Legend difficulty and pure analog, while Junior can use beginner with just the one button pitch and swing to set the handicap straight. The little ones can also play on the same level with Mom or Dad and get better over time — skies the limit.
LagDads recommends this game for all ages — just like the song says; “from one to 92.” Though 92 isn’t the cut-off.
Sexuality – There is zero anything resembling sexual content in this game.
Violence – I believe the benches can clear in a game (though I’ve never seen it) but, no violence ensues. Players and managers alike will be yelling and screaming in reaction to a bad call or being thrown at but nothing is audible, just the gestures, non-of-which are vulgar.
Language – Music may contain language but, is bleeped out and any play calls are void of anything explicit.
MLB 15 the Show maybe the only true baseball game on the market, that doesn’t keep it from being a rad game. Could it use a few things and lose a few things? Of course, like any good game. Doesn’t keep us here at LagDads from being excited about what will come in 2016 and beyond for this series.
Verdict: If you love baseball or are a casual fan; buy this game.