A new mode aimed at beginners, along with several touch-ups, make this one of Sony's best baseball games yet.
For the past few years, Sony has put aside its other sports franchises (anyone remember NFL Gameday?) in favor of making its single standout, MLB The Show, the king of the baseball field. A hasty decision, to be sure, but since EA Sports and 2K Sports are dominating the other franchises, baseball seems like an ideal focus. And for the past few years, the team at Sony Santa Monica has done variably well with the sport, though its dedication more to fans than newbies did leave a few players feeling burned – and turning to the competitors at MLB 2K.
But MLB 13: The Show feels a bit different. It's as if Sony San Diego remembered that rookies are players too, and added a great new mode that caters to them, helping them get into the rhythm of the game while not losing 10-0 to the Cubs. (With the Giants, no less.) This Beginner Mode enables them to get better contact with the ball at batting, and also aids a bit with pitching in terms of adjustments. The end result is a game that caters more than previous versions have, and that's a step in the right direction.
Don't get me wrong, MLB 13 doesn't go soft by any means. It's still as realistic as baseball gets, with home runs not coming that often (even the power hitters aren't quite guaranteed, unless their contact with the ball is perfect) and players still making catches in the outfield, as expected. You can adjust sliders to work things towards your benefit, but you'll still need to provide an effort to become championship caliber. That's the way it should work with any sports game, really.
But MLB 13 feels more accessible than ever before, and that's a feat in itself. Being able to make contact with the ball – and be a force to be reckoned with in the Home Run Derby – is magnificent, and getting the hang of solid fielding and pitching controls is nice, too. Once you become accustomed enough, you can change up your options to make the game even more challenging, or just coast along and see how you fare. Oh, and you can pummel the Cubs. Yay!