Hitting is exactly the same as it was last year and allows you to guess the pitcher's throws. Pitching lets you pinpoint the location of your pitch. Once a pitch has been selected, you simply hold the trigger on the controller and swing back, as you would a normal pitch, to get the amount of power you want in your throw. For accuracy, pitching uses the old pitching meter; letting go of the trigger in the sweet spot results in an accurate throw.
Though both the pitching and hitting work well, the Move loses its appeal when used for fielding and baserunning. To collect a ball for fielding, you have to properly time your press of the trigger button for a successful grab. Pressing the trigger too soon or too late results in the ball going past the fielder. To throw the ball, you have to gesture in the direction you want the ball to go and release the trigger in time. Not only is timing important here, but the response to the action of the throw also feels a bit off and often results in a baserunner getting extra bases.
The issue with baserunning has a lot to do with your body's position in relation to the screen. While hitting has you standing with your shoulder to the PlayStation Eye, all baserunning notifications require you to stand facing forward. The gestures you make are pretty standard, but the transition from hitting to baserunning, which can result in missing the opportunity for a better offensive play. Because of these issues, the Move support is little more than a curiosity, to be tried once for a few innings and then abandoned.
Just a hop, skip and a jump from GameSpot HQ.
One aspect of baseball in which The Show has always excelled is its presentation. The three-man team of Matt Vasgersian, Dave Campbell, and Eric Karros still delivers a solid listening experience. All three are extremely knowledgeable, and their spot-on references to events happening in the current game, throughout a given season and historically, are always interesting. The latest installment of The Show has amplified the broadcast presentation elements to better replicate the feel of a televised game. Cuts between pitches and innings focus on certain players on the field and in the dugout, frequently showing them from different angles. This makes it feel like there are 1,000 cameras in the stadium covering everything. Additionally, player animations and ball physics have been greatly improved. Players move much more realistically and try to avoid colliding with each other. The transitions between an infielder receiving and throwing a ground ball are also much more fluid.
The online experience for The Show is still very much a sticking point. Match performances vary greatly, depending on how busy the servers are, but even at low periods, slowdown during games may occur. Issues, such as slow-reacting outfield players, momentary pauses between a pitch and catch, and other smaller questionable scenarios occur. They're also a factor in determining a match winner and loser. The Show has struggled in past years to fix online net code issues, and people who want to take their game online may have to endure some less-than-stellar games.
Although the pitching and hitting changes, as well as the increased emphasis on delivering a true-to-life baseball viewing experience, are welcome additions, it's likely that only those who have played the game for years will appreciate the new stuff included in MLB 12: The Show. For newcomers, especially casual players, most of these features won't be apparent. Those who prefer to rush through games and skip as many out-of-game sequences will completely miss out on a lot of the improvements and additions made to the presentation.
Trying to get some offense.
Another issue that has hurt the series in past years is its inaccessibility. Unfortunately, even on the casual setting, MLB 12: The Show requires a big time investment before you can start to really enjoy the game. It can be quite discouraging to play a game and struggle, even on an easy difficulty setting. But if you take the time to come to terms with it, you'll find a fun baseball experience underneath that initially intimidating complexity.
The changes and additions made to MLB 12: The Show are welcome ones. Fans of the series should be able to instantly make use of them and become a dominating force. There is still one month before the start of the baseball season, and MLB 12: The Show manages to fill that void nicely.