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MLB 15: The Show

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: SCEA San Diego Studio
Media: Download/1
Players: 1; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Sports (Baseball)/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

MLB 15: The Show is a lesser experience on PlayStation Vita than it is on PlayStation 4, but not because the game is fundamentally worse. Instead, it's simply because there aren't as many features. On every other level, it's every bit the game you'd want it to be. Portable games are a ton of fun, but I believe that on some level, their success hinges on their intrinsic on-the-move playability. Great games are released on portables all the time, but several of them would have been better-served on PCs or home consoles. Sports simulation isn't the first genre I'd think of as a perfect portable game, but upon retrospect, it works beautifully. It's got the potential for both steady progress and quick fix sessions. So while MLB 15: The Show on Vita isn't as complete as it is on PS4, it's still a fine release.

I've owned a Vita since the beginning of its lifecycle, so I'm well aware of its capabilities. That being said, wow. This is an incredible looking game, and I'm able to say that even after reviewing the PS4 version. Don't take that as "It looks as good as the PS4 version," because it doesn't. The Vita's OLED screen is still as gorgeous as it's ever been, but there's no substitute for a good HDTV. So there was only so much that Sony San Diego was able to fit into that tiny little screen. What's here is absolutely gorgeous, though. Much of the effort was clearly saved for the player models and animations, as the mind-blowing stadium and crowd detail from the PS4 version are, well... not there. But let's face it: the differentiation is best left to people who review the games. Nobody else will (or should) complain.

Most aspects of the sound design make the jump to Vita admirably. Crowd ambience, baseball noises, and stadium sounds are good enough to establish the illusion of a real ballgame, but there are some natural disparities that come with the territory. The Vita's speakers do their best to give your ears the best show possible, but as is the case with the visuals, there's only so much that the hardware can do. If you've got a decent pair of headphones or earbuds, the game will do you right through them. I didn't notice any differences in the commentary or the soundtrack, and that's a very good thing.


MLB 15: The Show for PlayStation Vita offers the same core experience as its console counterpart. It's still the same great baseball game with the same excellent simple-but-deep mechanics. The only considerable difference is the lack of certain features.

Missing modes aside, there's a rich offering of single player content to be enjoyed in MLB 15: The Show on Vita. The star player, as it is on PlayStation 4, is Road to the Show, the excellent career mode that puts you in the role of a single player as he progresses from newbie to veteran. As I keep playing this mode, I can't help but imagine how amazing this mode would be if I could round up eight buddies and go through the entire experience cooperatively.

The bevy of solo options continue with modes such as Exhibition, The Show Live, Franchise, Home Run Derby, and Postseason; they are as fully featured as they are on console. We have some modes that are missing in action, however: whether or not this is a potential dealbreaker for you depends entirely on what kind of sports gamer you are. If you're a super hardcore management fan, you may lament the absence of the card-based Diamond Dynasty Mode. If you like to take your game online, you may be put off by the online, which is restricted to local infrastructure play and no community-based challenges.

If the last paragraph makes it seem like I'm down on the game, don't think on it too hard. MLB 15: The Show still plays wonderfully on Vita, and retains all of its most important facets.


If you're a longtime player of either the series or games in general, MLB 15: The Show won't be too difficult to get into. The controls are elegant and simple, and the interface is clean and direct. You won't get lost at all. That being said, there are some nuances to learn if you're going to become a legend of the diamond. Practice Mode is a fine way to start, but there's no substitution for simple immersion.

In terms of challenge, MLB 15: The Show's difficulty level is variable, resulting in an experience that can appeal to the greenest newcomer or the most hardened veterans. Artificial intelligence is good across the board; it's just a matter of how much it holds back, among other factors, of course.

Game Mechanics:

MLB 15: The Show hits the sweet spot when it comes to its control scheme. It's really able to do quite a lot with just a few buttons; since the Vita has fewer buttons than the DualShock 4, there may be a couple of remapped mechanics that you will need to get used to before becoming a pro. But all the broad strokes of the original scheme remain intact. And that's a very good thing: it's an extremely elegant system.

The power/accuracy bar returns to govern the player's pitching game; as always, the game presents you with your choice of pitch types before momentarily showing you the projected trajectory of the ball as it approaches the plate. The rest is up to your timing and reflexes.

Fielding is also handled identically on the Vita. The button faces represent the baseball diamond, with each button serving as a base. If your fielder has the ball and you press one of the face buttons, he will throw it to the base it represents. Unlike in several other baseball games, there are no directional inputs involved in fielding apart from catching fly balls or retrieving base hits.

Batting is handled simply as well. Power is governed by the button you choose to press, whether you go for a homer or settle for the relative safety of a contact swing, you'll have it mapped out in muscle memory before long. Directional batting returns as well, and you get visual confirmation of where you're aiming via highlights on certain boundaries of the square that represents the strike zone. It's a neat mechanic, but by no means one whose mastery is absolutely essential.

I wouldn't call MLB 15: The Show a quick and dirty port. It's a clean but sparing one. As long as your expectations regarding features are reasonable, you'll be happy with what Sony San Diego has accomplished here. If there's one thing to take away from this review, it's this: if you want to take your baseball on the road, MLB 15: The Show is your best option, by far.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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