A while back, I picked up MLB 06: The Show for the PS2 in part because the guys over at the Sports Gamer Blog and Bill Harris loved it and in part because I was bored and curious. Baseball, it seemed to me, was a hard game to convert over to the video format because of the need to potentially control so many players.
On the PS2, the game never really connected with me. I couldn’t figure out the hitting. The pitching interface seemed random. It was also tedious to get into and out of games, what with needing to dance back through all the startup screens and file loading.
Still, the Career Mode was intriguing. You can make a pitcher, play some games, go into the “Training” screen to bump up some stats and then go again. This seemed like an obvious way to take up time on the PSP.
Eventually I gave in and got the portable version of the game. And I have learned something nice about baseball video games.
First, start the Career Mode.
Second, set the game up with the old style pitching interface without the kick meter.
Third, set the game up with automatic fielding and base-running, so you don’t have to worry about that crap.
Now here is how the game works:
To pitch, mash the X button. Wait a while. Hit it again.
To hit, mash the X button, wait a while, hit it again.
Once in a while, go to the training screen and increase your R. Repeat.
It’s the perfect game for where my head has been lately, which is in a place where I don’t want to think about plot, puzzles, complicated jumping, or anything requiring coordination of lower and higher brain function.
The Show also has some of the best audio in the sports game that I have experienced. The announcers do repeat themselves, but not as much as in other games, and they never sound stupid. The other night, Karen even thought I was listening to a real game. The player A.I. gets the job done. The only real complaint is the load times on the PSP. But that’s not too bad, since it can take a session or two to get from load to load.
The game has managed to replace Madden in the PSP, and is the perfect companion to whatever else I might have in the DS, which, right now, is Super Mario in semi-permanent suspension as I try to figure out how to clear the next world.
Recommended for anyone interested in baseball, or anyone looking for a nice slow paced X-button mashing game.