I’ve always been an enormous baseball fan. Over the past eight years I’ve become one to a nearly illegal degree. I have far too much information stored in my brain about 16-year-old Dominican shortstops than any normal human being should. So it’s natural that I’d fancy myself some baseball video games, particularly, the MLB The Show series. I’ve sunk hundred of hours into that series, especially last year’s version in which I made Peter Aerts into the ace of the White Sox. Move over Chris Sale.
When MLB The Show 14 wasannounced for the PS4 I was giddy, bubbling with excitement to jump into the next gen of video games. Boy oh boy was I disappointed. First of all, I’ll talk about the first thing that you’ll notice. This game has longer load times than The Simpsons Hit and Run. Believe me, those load times were painful. You can read about the load times more in depth here. From my experience, some of those numbers are a bit kind too.
The Show added a new feature in this year’s addition called quick count. What it does is, it starts you out with a count whether you’re in the field or at bat. They have a mathematical formula which will start you out based on the pitcher and the hitter. So you can start off in an 0-2 count or 2-1 count ETC. Now while I’m personally not a fan of this, I can see where it could be useful. If I played franchise mode, this would be a god send. It’d make the 162 season go by much faster and you’d actually have a chance to play every game in a season with quick count. Unfortunately they made a cardinal sin when it comes to quick count and how it’s implemented, they used it in ranked matches. As someone who plays ranked matches as their primary mode of The Show, I couldn’t be more disappointed. First of all, while like i said in franchise mode, I’d probably use it, in ranked, no way. I’m at the mercy of a mathematical formula to determine whether or not Yoenis Céspedes comes up to the plate in the 9th with a 0-2 count or a 3-0 count? This is not okay. I’m not an elitist when it comes to video games and video game skill but adding luck based things such as this to a sports game is iditoic. I understand some people might want shorter games when they play their friends online but you know what you can do? Have it as an option in unranked. Now, let me just clarify something. You can go to a lobby and you can try to find a match with our quick count. But if you’ve ever been in a sports gaming lobby it takes minutes to find find a match. You’ll find yourself sending invites to anyone and everyone in the hopes of finding a match. Add this to the long load times, turns something that should take seconds into minutes. I can’t begin to express how silly this is. It would’ve been very easy to have a clearly labeled quick pitch section of the online. It would cater to the people who want to play an entire game and those who don’t.
Honestly I’m returning my copy of The Show because of this. I know some of you might say I’m overreacting and I can see why someone might say that. Before you do though imagine this, you’re playing your favorite online game, be it Call of Duty Battlefield whatever. What would you do if it took five minutes to get into a match? This is what I have to deal with if I want to play a game without quick count.
Now the core gameplay is essentially the same as last yeara, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s It’s a very solid and tight expeience. I can’t complain about that at all. The Road to the Show mode is still as fun as always even though at a certain point your player becomes so good it just becomes masturbation.
I know some of you are saying I should just suck it up and play vs. the computer but… I can’t. Even though I do enjoy Road to the Show, I can’t play a game vs. the computer. I know my colleague Jason Nawara has done hundreds of careers in every sports game he’s ever played. I just can’t bring myself to do it, the AI is never good enough and I don’t see that changing in the near future. The thing is, in every sports video game, it’s simple to break the computer and beat them every single time. Either that or the computer becomes unfair. They don’t have the same flair as a human, they don’t make adjustments based based on the way you play. That’s where the fun in lines for me, people people making adjustments to me forcing me to adjust to those adjuatments. Which computers have never done.
I realize I come off as a whiney elitist jerk, which I’m not, I’m just a man who’s disappointed in something he was excited for.