Review: MLB 14: The Show knocks it out of the park on PS4
Platform: Playstation 4
We already know that MLB 14: The Show is the best baseball game in town – and not just because it's the only baseball game in town since it shut down MLB 2K in its tracks. There's just something that works so phenomenally well about it, whether you're tooling your way through Franchise Mode with the Mets or trying out a Home Run Derby with a few friends.
A couple of months ago, Sony slugged out PS3 and Vita versions of the game, which were definitely good when it came to delivering the baseball experience on familiar formats. But now we've come to the ultimate test, as MLB 14: The Show arrives on PlayStation 4. Does it balk at the plate, or hit the kind of homer that would leave fans flabbergasted at the mere feat? Thankfully, it's the latter.
Granted, it does take a bit to get started. The game requires a 40+ GB install, one of the largest you'll see on the PS4, and even after it's all set to go, loading times can take up to about a minute before players take the field. But no matter – once they've got their bats in hand, it's all about The Show, and what a show it is.
First off, all the modes you've come to expect from the game are still front and center, which is a welcome sight. Road To the Show continues to be MLB 14's biggest draw, mainly because of everything that you can do with it. Creating a star from the minor leagues into a full-blown MLB career won't necessarily be easy, but for devoted baseball fans that can't get enough of this mode, it will be worth it. The Show continues to be one of this series' biggest components, especially on the PS4. You'll be here a while.
If you prefer to just take your team to championship glory, you can hop into Franchise mode, making some off-season moves to turn your team from last place to first place triumphs – if you have the right management skills, that is. You'll also be able to make some key decisions about your park, and it's just about the next best thing to having your own private box at the stadium. Devotees will dig this as well.
For those who prefer a more casual approach to baseball, MLB 14 has plenty to offer. Along with sliders that cater to your every need – from requirements to hitting the ball to getting some assistance in an outfield – you can take part in other contests, including online battles with friends, leagues where you can keep track of your team's standings, and a Home Run Derby that really lets you hammer it home the best way you can, whether you've got Prince Fielder or Troy Tulowitzki at the plate.
Finally, the new features add a great deal to the core game. Player Focus enables you to center on a specific player on the field – yours or someone else in the MLB – just to see how they fare over the course of a contest. In addition, the Quick Counts mode makes it easier to get through a long, strenuous game, without losing any of your precious stats. These are welcome additions that should stay with the series for years to come.
The gameplay continues to be second to none for the series. The fielding still needs some minor work when it comes to some responsiveness, but other than that it's solid in just about every way. The pitching is spot-on with meters aplenty and the ability to smoke a few past the batters for some K's. The batting is also incredible, thanks to analog-style play (if you prefer – push button is still an option) and the ability to homer a good one out of the park, if your swing is just right. Sony San Diego has this dialed in like a science now, and it absolutely shows.
Where MLB 14 will probably floor you, however, is in its presentation. As expected, the graphics are gorgeous on the PS4, with player models that look almost like the real thing (apart from some hair issues and occasional "dead eyes"), and ballparks so real, you can practically smell the digital grass. On occasion, the lighting effects look weird, and some of the field growth isn't as natural as it should be, but these are small flaws in an otherwise wonderful-looking next-gen debut for the Show franchise.
The commentary from the three-man booth of Matt Vasgersian, Eric Karros and Steve Lyons continues to be dead-on as well, and they're a solid team that digs in deep with every player. It repeats every now and then, but never to the point that fans will be annoyed. The arena music is authentic and fun to listen to as well, and the crowd sounds more into each contest than ever before. You should hear the Mets fans when they're losing -- it's not pretty.
If you have MLB 14 for PS3 or Vita, it's more than likely going to suit you just fine until the next season rolls around. However, if the PS4 is your machine of choice, or you want the absolute best product as Sony San Diego can crank out, MLB 14: The Show on the PlayStation 4 is a must-have. It's got all the nuances that make the game feel just about right, and the presentation that truly says "next-gen." MLB 14: The Show absolutely knocks it out of the park.
Here are the criteria I consider most important for judging MLB 14: The Show.
Despite a few blemishes, this is a sports game done just right for the PS4 hardware.
About dead-on from what you could expect from a baseball experience, mind a little repetition from the announcers.
Covers basically every aspect of the sport, from Franchise to Quick Counts.
Some slight imperfections, but still a well-rounded game of ball when it comes to pitching and hitting.
Overall score: 8.8
MLB 14: The Show has made a welcome arrival on the PlayStation 4, and will only get better from here. Can you imagine the future possibilities?
GameCrate reviews represent the opinions of the GameCrate writer who wrote them, and not necessarily those of Newegg.