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March 4, 2008



- Awesome game to watch and listen to

- Enough options and features to satisfy fans

- Takes some practice, just like the real thing

- Online play



- Might overwhelm anyone who hasn't followed videogame baseball games



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MLB 08 The Show

Score: 8.0 / 10


After Intellivision’s version of baseball in 1978, I was pretty much put off the whole baseball thing; at least as far as video games go.  Of course, that was 30 years ago – about a billion light years ago in terms of how far video games have come, especially when it’s a game like MLB 08 The Show.


mlb 08 the show          mlb 08 the show


The visual and audio fidelity is awesome.  Bar none, The Show is best-looking sports game I’ve probably ever played.  From the small touches like rippling fabric to the big ones like the expansive playing fields, this is a great game to just watch, which I did a lot of with Manager mode.


In Manager mode you get to play from the bench!  Tell your pitcher to walk a player, play it safe, or assign pinch hitters and so on.  Whenever I took the 




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mound, that’s when trouble started.  Besides being completely out of my depth when it came pitching and hitting, I couldn’t understand the appeal of such a slow game.  The fastest part is the pitch then the swing and then… well, if you hit the ball the other team catches it you’re out.  And so goes the most boring game since golf arrived on the scene during the mid-15th Century.  I suppose what I’m 


saying is that I really had to give The Show a chance.


Maybe the reason I played so much of Manager mode, was that it didn’t tax my brain so much.  The two beefiest modes – and therefore most taxing – are Road to the Show and Franchise.  The former is so robust that it’s pretty much reserved for diehard fans of the genre since it saddles you with taking a player through the process of getting to “The Show” which includes stops in Spring Training and the Minors.  Franchise mode is just as full of extra things to keep in mind other than the actual game.


mlb 08 the show          mlb 08 the show


It might surprise some but the games often feel a lot like they were sprung from a fighting game.  The pitching, batting, and strategy in running and stealing bases is a complex balancing act, especially when it comes to the reflexes needed for positive results in the field of, uh, batting.  For the novice – that’s me! – it takes a long time to learn all the moves that are available; Wii Sports, this ain’t.  After some effort is put into actually learning it, the flow of the game actually feels pretty good, even to me.  That should speak volumes about The Show’s success at growing on people – even if you do have to put in the effort before you get to that state.


And if you want to have any hope against human opponents online, you’ll have to put in that time, because the competition can be fierce.  That’s not to say that the AI can’t put up a good fight; it just feels better to loose to a human being rather than a computer.


I will admit to being at a disadvantage of not knowing a whole lot about Major League Baseball in general – I’m really good at performing batter and pitching analysis – but I still know a good game when I see it.


- Omni

(May 2, 2008)


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