Graphics:
9.1
Gameplay:
8.8
Sound:
9.0
Control:
8.6
Replay Value:
9.0
Online Gameplay:
8.7
Overall Rating:
8.9
Publisher:
SCE
Developer:
SCEA San Diego
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Sports
Release Date:
May 6, 2014


For the record, I waited to review the PlayStation 4 version because I knew it’d be the definitive edition of MLB 14: The Show . I also knew the differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions would be entirely graphical, so it was unnecessary to pen two separate analyses. The bottom line is that this is undeniably a fantastic experience for fans of our national pastime, and it gives us a hint of what Sony’s new machine is capable of. The new title has the requisite depth to satisfy any hardcore baseball fanatic, and that’s that.

The upgrade's visuals really do take center-stage, as the team at SCEA San Diego rebuilt all 30 stadiums for the superior PS4 iteration. They’re unbelievably detailed and authentic, as realistic lighting and gorgeous textures take the graphical presentation to a new level. The crowd models are markedly better, the player characterization and animations are sharper and smoother, and in brief, this is what virtual baseball should look like. As always, graphics don’t dictate the experience, but if you’re seeking a believable baseball environment, the PS4 version is head-and-shoulders ahead of the PS3 version.

The sound even seems to be better, although both versions feature the same excellent commentary and stellar in-game effects. If someone walked through the room and you were playing, the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd might convince that person that you were watching the real thing. Then, if that person turned and saw the dynamic, TV-like camera angles, heard the spot-on broadcasting (complete with some appreciated humor), they’d probably be awfully impressed. The soundtrack is too much on the generic side, with some unnecessary licensed music, but that’s more of a subjective complaint. On the whole, the technical elements are a big highlight, as you might expect.

Know why baseball aficionados will appreciate the latest effort in this acclaimed franchise? The feel. While it’s true that this year’s iteration doesn’t offer a lot of new features – a definite drawback – the general experience is what matters. The physics are realistic and rewarding, as absolutely every movement on the field feels just about right. Whether you’re trying to stretch a double into a triple, chasing after a tough fly ball, or playing mind games with the pitcher, this feels like baseball. I played competitively for a while and I’m always surprised at just how accurate each The Show entry is, at least in terms of physical realism.