|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCEA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb.27, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
Sony is stepping up to bat once again with MLB 07: The Show. Although the series has always presented baseball as a fun game with great controls, the series has given us little to talk about lately. Sony always introduced little mini-game style modes with each game lately, but nothing serious to change the game or make it better. This time, it's different. MLB 07: The Show gives us the king of all baseball games.
The PS2 version of MLB 07: The Show delivers all the same goodies as the PS3 version, but with lower res graphics and no tilt controller, of course. It features the usual modes in a baseball game such as Season and Exhibition, etc., but it delivers a much deeper MLB experience thanks to the following modes and additions:
Besides being extremely accurate in the roster and stat area, the gameplay is now more realistic and accurate than ever, making the gameplay a bit more difficult, but more enjoyable for the baseball simulation fan.
Unlike last year's focus on batting accuracy, this year's MLB game has a huge focus on improved pitching. Even though your pitcher may be skilled at throwing certain types of pitches, if you rely on one type too much, the rest of your pitches may lag a bit in performance. No, that may not keep you from using the same pitch repeatedly, but the fact that your opponent will catch on will certainly keep you from repeating pitches. If you're a noob and don't know much about reading a batter, then you'll certainly benefit from the advice from both your catcher and the umpire. Also, pitching the ball is still easy as SCEA isn't copying EA's analog stick swing mechanism. You'll still be using triangle, X, circle, and square to perform pitches. One other new feature is a rating system which gives you an idea of what pitches are your strongest, based upon the pitcher you are currently using.
Your catcher will study the batter and give you advice on what types of pitches to throw, while the umpire's personality will give you an idea on how he will call the game. The batter benefits in this game as well, as the game will tell you if you missed a hit due to being early or late or due to being too far from the base. You shouldn't always worry about batting if you end up with an umpire who loves calling balls. You'll probably walk without having to try too hard.
Fielding has changed a bit due to a meter that determines how hard you throw the ball. The longer you hold a button down, the harder the throw will be. Unfortunately, sometimes the CPU will force you to throw with light strength no matter what. I suppose it makes certain a ball doesn't go past its intended point in case a fielder misses a catch.
Stealing bases before fielders can tag you is much easier as well, as base stealing is now programmable via the new Baserunner targeting system. Instead of worrying about trying to get your first basemen to run from 1st to 3rd, you just hit a button to direct a runner to a base. No physical button mashing work for you.
The other features in the game haven't changed, but they don't need to. MLB's main focus is on enhanced pitching and delivering a truly realistic MLB experience, even outside of the physical aspect of the game. One mode that was altered, though, was Road to the Show. Instead of traditional team focus, you'll focus on the create-a-player of your choice and do whatever he has to during the season. Some players have more benefits than others. Outfielders are at a disadvantage since they play based upon how far a batter hits or how far the basemen throw the ball. There's hardly anyway to improve the stats of such a player when there's no way to play constantly.
Most of 07 is incredibly realistic, and the only major problems you'll see in 07 is bad camera angles in Road to the Show mode and graphics that can't quite compare to the PS3 version. On the plus side, since you'll probably want to be logged in during your gameplay no matter what you're doing, you can do it free as most PS2 online games have always been free.
The new features add depth to a game that's already on top of its league. MLB is the only officially licensed baseball game currently available and has little competition even from 2K Sports and EA.
If MLB 07: The Show sounds too overwhelming for those who are used to simple pitching, I won't recommend it, but for those never bought a MLB game or those who love collecting each game in the series, I must recommend it for MLB 07: The Show delivers more realistic baseball action than any game I've ever played.
CCC Freelance Writer