This is my first dive into America’s Pastime since the early 1990’s. My last brush being Ken Griffey Jr’s Baseball. With this in mind, I have no experience playing with Sony San Diego’s baseball simulator and I feel this is an advantage. Going in blind and experience what this game has to offer really paved the way for my review. I also think the Blue Jay’s as my hometown team deserve the World Series and I’m slowly getting that prestigious championship with the Franchise mode.
First, I love this feature and want to see it applied to other sports series in the future. Year-to-Year saves is something I haven’t been able to enjoy as this is my first time playing, but, the fact Sony San Diego worked this into release is most welcoming. Year-to-Year allows users to pick up their progress through Franchise, Season and, Road to the show progress from MLB 14 and incorporate it into MLB 15. Many times I have put forth so much time and energy into maximizing my teams potential and have to start the process all over once the next yearly title comes out is disappointing. Fans of the series will love this feature and hopefully I’ll get to use this next year.
MLB 15 The Show is graphically brilliant. The uniforms, the stadiums and the crowds are detrimental to making this title feel realistic and Sony San Diego did well in bringing these to life. The players look like their real-life counterparts, and have more skin tone variations, and the stadiums actually feel full and varied. A friend and I were playing against each other at Fenway Park and his reaction to playing there reflected how much he loved the detail put in. The crowds react to what is happening on the field – I’ve seen crowds with signs, crowds that dance, and the cheers and boos that come with it.
MLB 15 has added a real-time sun and shadow positioning based on real life satellite data from Google Earth. The sun and shadows move in real-time and gives the stadiums new life and personalities of their own.
Batting feels good, and I read up on last year’s entry not having the directional hitting. The allowance of lining up where I want to put the ball is something I’ve done since I was a kid playing on the street and feels just as good when you hit the ball out of the park. The controls are simple and intuitive for the most part, I still had some issues that I’ve been trying to work past with unclear tutorials but nothing that some practice won’t help get by.
Pitching has four types to choose from and is a blast to play as a pitcher. Striking out the opposing batter feels good and the way the crowd reacts when you get that strike out is satisfying.
Playing outfield for the most part I felt the AI assisting when I had no need, lining my players up to catch anything that came my way with ease, with only the smallest touch of the control stick to line up the ball with my player.
The commentary is rather bland and I found myself using the new Spotify app to replace the generic talk that Steve Lyons and Eric Karros rarely felt like they were actually broadcasting and more like they were reading lines off a page. It’s come of the poorest in a sports title I’ve had to endure, coming off the brilliant FIFA dialogue doesn’t help either.
Looking back at what last year’s title offered when MLB 14 was released, SCE San Diego listened to feedback and brought about some changes to this year’s Road to the Show and Franchise mode. Inside the Show is a new radio broadcast that can be heard each day and helps discuss recent game scores, the best performances, team news, records and more. This helps catch up in the league whilst trading, creating lineups and performing General Manager Duties.
Diamond Dynasty is SCE San Diego’s take on the Ultimate Team of EA’s sports titles, and buying cards to create that ultimate team. The mode is there and it’s fun if you’re into investing time and stubs into creating an all-star lineup. If you’re playing Diamond Dynasty you will be playing many games online and luckily I had minimal issues in the handful of games I played online, granted I looked into past years and have heard horror stories of how bad the online has been, it looks to be much improved this year.
MLB 15 is a solid single player experience through and through. Offering something for everyone to enjoy be it, creating teams worthy of praise or home run derby’s that prove who hits the farthest. As someone who hasn’t been in touch with America’s pastime in nearly 20 years, MLB 15 provides a solid base to slide into, with updated visuals, realistic crowds and endless fun between the various modes.