|System: PS Vita, PS3|
|Dev: SCE San Diego Studio|
|Release: March 6, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 544p|
Some hunting did reveal an in-game "strategy guide," but when I say that it's in-game, I mean that one must actually enter a game and then pause the action to access it. Why this isn't available from the game's so-called "Front End" menu is a mystery. The guide explains not only the game's mechanics in depth, but also at least the basic strategy of various aspects of a baseball game, from hitting to choosing pitches based on count. It's a potentially powerful resource, but since it's presented as incessant walls of text, it's an absolute chore to read through, and a pain to constantly reference. In a day and age when a title like UFC Undisputed 3 can come out with a solid tutorial available for both its actual gameplay engine and built into its career mode, it's frustrating to see this antiquated approach in another sports title, especially when it's based on such a deliberate and strategy-heavy game. It's very off-putting for a new player, and places the barrier to entry unnecessarily high.
Between its presentation woes and lack of the PS3's new core mode, Diamond Dynasty, the PlayStation Vita version of MLB 12: The Show feels less like a complete, standalone product and more like a rushed and stripped down port, brought out to serve as an early example of the Vita/PS3 Cross-Play functionality. This is supported by the game's price at retail: while it's $40 by itself, purchasing it alongside the PS3 version nets one a $20 discount. Since the core gameplay is identical to that of the PS3 version, it serves admirably in its role as a portable extension thereof, but it becomes incredibly difficult to recommend it as a standalone product. It's even harder to say that a casual fan of baseball sims should get it, since the learning curve is so steep, closing the title off to those who don't have prior experience with The Show.
None of this means that MLB 12: The Show is a bad game. It's unwelcoming, has some technical hiccups, and the experience has been shaved down to the necessities, but those necessities are incredibly solid. They would just be better if they had the trappings to go with them.
Date: March 8, 2012