MLB 09 The Show continues to set itself apart from the other MLB games on the market with its attention to detail and unparalleled gameplay. Looking to build on that reputation, the game has added several new features and subtleties that play a huge role in bringing the baseball experience to life. Incredible stadium detail and signage, wear and tear on the field, dusk to night lighting transitions, and stadium JumboTron animations help immerse users in the ultimate baseball experience.
New and Improved A.I.
Year in and year out, with a development team that has a wealth of baseball knowledge, not only as fans of the game but development members that have actually played the game at very high levels, the studio dedicate themselves to making the most realistic baseball experience possible. That being said, there were a few things about last year’s game that were a bit frustrating and not as realistic as everybody would have liked. As much as the team would like to tackle every idea out there, they strategically had to pick and choose their battles. This year it was decided to work on a little bit of everything, so here are highlights on four of them.
1. CPU Fielder routes to the ball
In the quest to make the perfect baseball simulation, balancing the game can be a long difficult task. In order for the batters to reach the correct amount of doubles and triples in our game, a couple things needed to happen.
* The batter needs to get out of the box appropriately, round the bases correctly, and have his true-to-life times from home to first, first to third, etc…
* The fielders need to react naturally, the same way they do in real life. Basically, if the runners are going to behave realistically, then the fielders need to as well, otherwise you would not have balance. So this year, our infielders and outfielders will react and behave appropriately on balls hit down the lines or in the gaps. No more direct routes to the ball keeping you at first if you should have had a double. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, you will see outfielders rounding the ball, cutting it off at a BACK angle or just playing it off the wall. This truly looks and feels like you’re playing in The Show.
2. Infielder Hot Shots
Another part of last year’s game that needed improvement to bring it that much closer to real life was the fact that fielders would catch just about everything hit their way. For the most part, if they could reach it, they would catch it, with a few deflections here and there. This year, in MLB 09 The Show, the infielders become human again and are now vulnerable to Hot Shots coming off the bat of Albert Pujols. The SCEA team developed a system that will allow for the player to miss balls based on how hard they’re hit, the fielding ability of the player, and the player’s reaction time. Some balls are just too hot to handle for anyone, but if you are playing with the Gold Glovers, they’ll have a better chance of making some unbelievable plays. Balls will also take bad hops and hit off the player, and yes, your infielders will even make errors. Even though there have been errors in games past, the team focused a bit more on it to, once again, bring this game closer to real MLB. The cool thing about this is, with the addition of the new routes to the ball, a shot down the line can get by that third baseman and give you a realistic chance to stretch it in to a double. These are some of the favorite plays.
The developers used to have a very generic set of tags that basically set the facing direction toward the incoming runner and then would apply the tag. That OLD system would not account for the infielders set up at or around the base and the attacking angle of the runners slide. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, that is all being considered. There are all new setups that are tailored for every base and every direction the throw is coming from. The catcher also has his own setup and tag system, even an all-new system for pickoffs and back picks. This makes for some really exciting plays at the base that make you feel like you’re part of a real Major League Baseball experience
And just to mention this even though it really doesn’t have to do with the tag section. For those of you that play our game regularly, you will know that the game has always had a problem with “going the short way” with two outs. Well, you’ll no longer be frustrated trying to go the “short way” with two outs. With the incorporation of the “on the run catch system,” on a ground ball to the third baseman with two outs, you can branch your throw to second and get a really cool catch on the run by the second baseman for the out, without having to throw across the diamond. The CPU will do this as well. Another side note, the CPU will tag your runner in the baseline if he can, instead of ignoring the runner and throwing to the base. You guys that play our game know what I mean.
4. Pitcher / Batter duel
The Pitcher/Batter Duel has always been what makes or breaks a true to life baseball simulation. A whole year has been dedicated to improving this feature and the devs will continue to do this as long as they are making this game. This is extremely important to the MLB 09 The Show Team, and you’ll appreciate the advanced technology, logic and dedication that has gone in to it. Oh yeah…there is also have a new level for all you guys that brag about H.O.F. Mode being too easy. It’s called Legend Mode. Good Luck!!
The popular "Road to the Show" feature returns, giving fans the chance to play offense and defense and truly immerse themselves in gameplay from a custom-created player's perspective. This year, Road to the Show includes interactive training and coaching as users navigate through a career that culminates with a shot at the big leagues. "Online Season Leagues" are also newly available, allowing fully functional drafts and providing players with a flex calendar to play games ahead in the schedule. Also back for PS3 and PlayStation 2 is "Franchise Mode," complete with the long anticipated 40-man roster. In Franchise Mode, fans must think and act like an owner while dealing with issues such as salary arbitration, waiver transactions, and September call-ups along the way. However winning games isn't the only thing that matters, as users must deal with clubhouse chemistry, roster management, and other issues that arise over the course of a season.
MLB 09 The Show brings back the ability to create custom music tracks using the "My MLB Music" feature. However for this year, players will be able to edit music tracks to assign batter walk-up tunes using the "Custom Music" feature. Additionally, fans can record their own customized chants and yells and integrate them seamlessly into the ambient crowd noise to create an even more personalized rivalry.
The popular "Pitcher/Batter Analysis" feature returns on MLB 09 The Show for PS3 and PSP, detailing the breakdown of how a batter has performed based on pitch type and result. The game offers up 17 different pitch types for players to master and MLB 09 The Show details the different pitch grips and arm angles that hitters must address. Players can also hone their skills using a wide variety of "Training/Practice" drills, with each set of drills focusing on a different area of the game. Utilizing the "Progressive Batting Performance" feature, players are rewarded for superior skills at the plate but are also penalized for hitting slumps.
Once users master the basics and create highlights of their own, they can save each dazzling play to the PS3 hard drive with the "Replay Vault" feature, where every key play in the field and clutch at-bat can be replayed at any time. Also new to the highlight system is "End of Game Replays" where users are given an instant post-game summary of the most exciting and important plays of the game.
For fans who want to take their game on the road, MLB 09 The Show for PSP delivers big baseball action in the palm of your hand by utilizing core gameplay features found on the PS3 version. Unique to PSP, MLB 09 The Show will feature "SportsConnect News2Go" which offers fans the ability to go online to select and save the latest news feeds to their Memory Stick Duo and review at their leisure.
Exclusive for PS2 is the unrivaled "Player Creator", providing users with endless possibilities for creating players, including everything down to their player's face with EyeToy. Users can also adjust their personal rituals, swings, and even emotions as they create and place themselves in the heat of a pennant race.
MLB 09 The Show, in development for PSP, PS2 and PS3, is due to hit stores in Spring 2009.
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