MLB 15: The Show
is a typical baseball arcade sim in that it is quite straightforward to pick up and play. When you first step up to the batterís box, there are options presented that allow for an attempt to guess the next pitch coming in and a strike zone is shown to help with determining when a pitch should be swung at or let pass. When anticipated correctly, the ball will blink which can be just enough of a hint to help determine the action or speed of the pitch. That said, batting isnít as easy as one may think in that making solid contact requires not only timing, but also the ability to follow pitches into the nine possible positions around the strike zone, as well as lying off anything just outside of it.
Sticking on the offensive side of the field, base running is a crucial part of being able to turn a hit into extra bases or an RBI. The reality of the situation is that taking control of the diamond isnít the most intuitive thing. However, with some practice and likely a few learning-lesson pickoffs, it can be attained.
Pitching actually became one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. Just like in the big leagues, every ball thrown over the plate becomes a game of inches. To start, each pitcher has a small handful of specialties and each one requires a slightly different approach to get it across the plate for a called strike. Pitching is done via a standard 3-click meter, with an emphasis on accuracy over power. At the start of the pitch, it is important to define where you want the ideal pitch to end up, then stick your accuracy or purposely miss to help slide the pitch just a hair away from perfect to get your man swinging. While this can be learned and manipulated, missing your mark on the meter does result in randomized balls thrown, including beanballs and pitches in the dirt.
When it comes to fielding, the biggest help is in the form of a superimposed baseball that helps indicate where pop flies will land. As long as you navigate your fielder into the vicinity, he will generally make the catch. The way you come into the catch and the timing of your subsequent throw will have a lot to do with how well you can control the bases. Fielders also have a host of moves to help with defense, although if you leave your feet, it can be a bit slow to recover.
MLB 15: The Show comes with a host of gameplay modes both online and off. In addition to the standards, including Play Now and Franchise, the heavy hitters this year include Road to the Show (work your way to the majors) and Diamond Dynasty. For those familiar with Madden cards, the latter is going to look familiar. Collect baseball cards to build a team and challenge other players (or the CPU) with your custom teams. It adds a bit of an interesting twist to standard drafts and other ways to play, which hardcore fans will certainly appreciate. Finally, for the seventh inning stretch, there are some Challenges and Mini-games that will take a bit less time to play through.