MLB 14: The Show

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Currently out on PS3 and Vita.

PS4 owners will have to wait until May 6. If you can't wait, you can "upgrade" a PS3 copy to the PS4 version for $20 at GameStop.

I ordered it digitally for the Vita this morning. I like the idea of being able to play a quick game on the couch while watching a real game on TV.

I have read reports of FPS issues when the ball is put into play, hopefully it's not a big deal or will be fixed in a patch.

I went with the PS3 version this year--I've never had much luck with the PSP/Vita versions of The Show. It's always hard for me to pick up the ball on the tiny screen.

Played one Exhibition game so not much more to say. Interface a bit different as far as getting somewhere (I like it). Animations and graphics look as good as usual (PS 3 of course, 4 not out yet). Want to try the 'Quick Mode' and see the new additions to RTTS.

More later. (oh, and I'm happy to have it to play:)

One more thing as a heads up. Give you a choice of a 5 or 10 GB install. After deleting allot of my old videos of plays from previous two games, AND a couple games I haven't played for awhile, I still couldn't come up with 10GB. But really, I didn't see that much of a delay in loading screens and such. So I guess no big. (you can still install the larger install after the smaller one from with the game. There's a option for it).

Another under-the-radar feature, if you're not sure which level to play on:

"Dynamic Difficulty (All platforms) – Baseball is a sport the dedicated love to master, but also one that can intimidate newcomers. In this year’s version of The Show, players who don’t feel like veterans yet can opt to start on a lower difficulty level and jump right in. An advanced logic system will then grade the user’s skill and adjust the challenge level up or down based on their overall performance. Batting and pitching are evaluated separately, so it’s possible for one to increase in difficulty while the other doesn’t, or even reduces. On-screen notifications will advise when the difficulty setting has been adjusted."

Quick Counts is the sort of thing that would make me pick up The Show again. Games that are a half hour or less? Yes, please.

A bit more to say: Graphics are basically the same as last year. I guess most of their effort in that area went to XBO. However, the ball tracking is different and I like it as it comes off the bat and you follow it along (not replay, but a hit in game). There are more and 'cooler' animations on how player's move and such (but of course allot of the old too). Game play seem's to be fined tuned. I really can't put my finger on it, but it just seem's better.

I tried 'Quick Play' mode and after I got my head around it it was a way to go to get thru a game quicker. (I'll say one thing, I get more walks then I ordinarily get *chuckle*). Counts can be all over the place when you come to bat, or start to pitch to a batter, probably based on some equation of who the player is against what pitcher (or batter, for the count is in progress when you pitch too). I saw, what I guess is an anomaly. The pitch count of my pitcher was like 118(!), but when I went into the 'pitcher/batter analysis' area, it showed him only pitches the actual count of what I actually pitched, i.e. 46. So a bit weird there I guess.

Also, during quick play, I led a guy off, had steal ready, and the pitcher thru over to 1st Base 8 times in a row(!). I finally relented and didn't do it again. I tried this again later, but it didn't happen, so maybe a rarity of randomness (huh?), but there you have it.

I imagine it's because I had a 5GB install, but it took a good long way to download the 'Weekly Challange'

From a programmer, over at Operation Sports, re: Dynamic Difficulty and Quick Counts.

For those interested, this is the exact Strategy Guide text describing Dynamic Difficulty. Feel free to share and use as you see fit:

Dynamic is a special difficulty setting, available in both the pitching and hitting difficulty options. When set, Dynamic Difficulty will track your hitting and/or pitching results and automatically adjust your difficulty over time. Your current progress is reported at the start of each inning, on promotions/demotions, and when Dynamic Difficulty is first turned on during a game.

The difficulty levels are: Rookie, Rookie+, Veteran, Veteran+, All-Star, All-Star+, Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame+, and Legend. The default starting difficulty is 'Rookie+', which is halfway in-between Rookie and Veteran. In addition to listing difficulty, a 'progress' field may appear to show whether you are about to promote or demote. For example, a '++' denotes that you are almost halfway to a promotion, while a '----' denotes that you are near demotion. Your Dynamic Difficulty progress is tied to your game settings profile, and discarding your game settings profile will also will reset your Dynamic Difficulty progress.

The difficulty adjustments are 1/2 difficulty steps. The primary criteria for difficulty promotions/demotions under Dynamic Difficulty is your team OPS (in the case of RTTS, your individual OPS). A promotion may only happen if your team is winning by 3 or more runs, and a demotion can only happen if your team is losing by 3 or more runs. This rule is waived for relief pitchers starting mid-game. Promotions/demotions are checked after each at-bat, and after a promotion or demotion no further changes or progress may happen until the next game.

Also, this is the exact text for Quick Counts:
Quick Counts allows you to significantly speed up games with much shorter at-bats. Instead of starting counts on 0-0, counts will start on middle and late counts. The most common starting counts are 1-1 and 2-1, followed by the 3-2, 2-2, and 2-1 counts. Pitcher versus batter attributes have an influence on how often 3-0 vs 0-2 counts show up, but every batter will see each count. There is a small balancing bonus that helps a batter put the ball into play more often, to compensate for the reduced number of pitches he'll see in an at-bat. Overall, you'll see an increase in strikeouts and base on balls balanced by fewer fouls. Every pitch you throw will be more critical, because there are far fewer of them.

As a rough guideline, if a game would have had 145 pitches thrown without Quick Counts, then with Quick Counts on that would translate to about 80 pitches 'actually thrown' plus an additional 105 'simulated pitches' for a total of 185 pitches. As a compromise for realism, the game corrects for this inflated number by subtracting 1 pitch per plate appearance for display purposes, so that a pitcher's individual pitch count will appear more comparable to a regular game.

The 'Simulated pitches' in Quick Counts drain less energy, to balance out fatigue loss. Quick Counts is set globally when entering a game, and CPU hitters and pitchers will adjust their strategy to take adapt to the higher leverage gameplay balance.

I'm using both these features, and dig them a LOT.

I think Quick Counts are the devil. I come at this as someone who vastly preferred Diamond Mind Baseball over other text based sims specifically because they had pitch by pitch. And in MLB 2K13, the batter/pitcher interface is so good, that part of the joy is working counts in order to create better situations.

That might mean running a hit and run instead of a straight steal on 2-0 because I fast ball makes a straight steal more difficult. Or making that straight steal on a 0-1 count when you think the pitcher is going to go breaking stuff in the dirt. When I had Adam Wainright going, his pitch count began to balloon, and it affected how I approached batters. And when facing a team whose bullpen is battered from a tough series before, I work counts to force advantageous match-ups. By the same token, you know how important pitch counts are for your team, because you can drain your own bullpen and leave your team shorthanded. You actually see how few pitches your relievers have in them based on their use in previous games when a game starts.

I have a ton of games to play when I don't have much time, and MLB 2K13 has a great Save and Quit mode, so I often pick right up where I left off. While I can't get through as many games, the fun of the games I get through are worth avoiding anything that is designed to let me play the game without playing.

We'll OOTP gives u a choice to pitch each pitch for each game u play (and many do that!).

But I see your point. I love ambiance and game play situational aspects in pitching. But I do believe you are more hard core then I.

For my part I like the 'quick play' option because I'd never get to the end of a season otherwise. And Dynamic system is cool IMHO.

Slumberland wrote:

The new batting camera (which sorta lingers in a home plate perspective) does a good job of simulating that "man I thought I KILLED that ball" feeling as you watch it die in an outfielders glove.

Also doesn't help that the ball gets that yellow trail behind it, too

Has anyone else seen an increase in errors this version? I've seen at least one or two in just about every game I've played--mostly on pop flys too.

The new batting camera (which sorta lingers in a home plate perspective) does a good job of simulating that "man I thought I KILLED that ball" feeling as you watch it die in an outfielders glove.

I'm pretty enamored of the whole package. The dynamic difficulty removes that lingering question in the back of my mind of whether or not I'm playing on the right difficulty (I usually feel stuck between All-Star and Hall of Fame) that usually sends me futzing with interface stuff trying to mitigate challenge... and while I recognize that quick counts remove some agency, the succession of key moments is a lot more pleasing than the odd phenomenon of non-intervention that patient play of a baseball game requires, if you're really trying to work deep and advantageous counts.

My walk numbers are also more realistic. It's just so rare that I'll make enough mistakes with metered pitching to issue four balls. More likely when you're handed a 3-1 count.

I'm 'enamored' by it too. It does help my walk numbers!...on both sides of the plate. But again, the Dynamic system is helpful in this case.

The ball flight from the bat is great as I mentioned earlier. I really like it!

No too many errors, but I swear getting a double play seems really tough to me. It will hit green and still be late to first for the turn. It may have to do wether to hit the beginning of the green or end of the green for more power. I just haven't quite figured it out yet.

In, Road to the Show I really like the new 'International Competition' for a getting a decent draft. Then the draft itself to see when you go. AND you can choose a team if you want, but it's better to just go with the team that drafts you imho. (I would hope the depth chart for that team is more upward mobile:)

Oh yeah, and kudos for the new "drifting" fielding icon that makes things a bit more dicey and interesting, and demerits for the lack of fatigue info in the bullpen quick-menu. I can't keep track of who needs a night off.

Slumberland wrote:

Oh yeah, and kudos for the new "drifting" fielding icon that makes things a bit more dicey and interesting, and demerits for the lack of fatigue info in the bullpen quick-menu. I can't keep track of who needs a night off.

I think the tiny green bar under the giant red bar shows the pitchers fatigue at that time. I could definitely be wrong about that, though.

I tried MLB Live game mode. Basically you play a real scheduled game from the MLB schedule. (I'm pretty sure MLB 2K already did something like this, but I can't remember for sure). There is not 'quick play', but there is 'fast play' which is basically taking away some of the presentations one would ordinarily have.

And although it adds to your xp, but it starts your from the very beginning if you pick 'beginner'. Not where you have advanced to if playing a Franchise etc.

Slumberland wrote:

OMG that's beautiful. But it still won't make me buy a PS 4 for just one game. (and what the hey, all that power and they can't make the grass spray around McCutchen's lay out catch on the grass. Or show some 'dirt devils' from running or sliding. Oh well, can't have everything:)

In box scores when I'm doing franchise, I'm not seeing LOB in game box scores (and I had plenty in the games I've played). I really can't believe this is absent.

Am I missing something?

I'm having issues with the Vita version crashing upon exiting a franchise game from time to time... just hangs on the loading screen, and requires killing the app before it gets to auto-save. Lost a handful of games to the sands of time this way. Sad.

I'm sure everyone knows this already, but I didn't 'get it' till recently. But if you are playing a franchise and playing each game, you can not only quicken it up with 'quick counts', but also just locking on one player. This essentially becomes a Road to the Show' type game with you just coming on field to bat or field with that locked player you chose ala RttS. With just 'quick counts' I was still playing around an hour for a games (versus maybe an hour and 20 minutes without 'quick count'.) But with 'quick count' AND 'locked player' enabled I get thru a game in about 15 minutes, give or take. Pretty nice when you are actually(!) trying to finish a year of 'playing' each game (more like 'participating' in each game really).

That's too much loss of agency for me (we all have our line), but I applaud all the new options to speed things up!

By the way I'm still in post-game loading screen freeze hell. Happens in about a third of my franchise games.

Slumberland wrote:

That's too much loss of agency for me (we all have our line), but I applaud all the new options to speed things up!

By the way I'm still in post-game loading screen freeze hell. Happens in about a third of my franchise games.

I've not had any issues with screen lock at all (PS 3). (playing Franchise and RttS, and Weekly Challenges)

Slumberland wrote:

That's too much loss of agency for me (we all have our line), but I applaud all the new options to speed things up!

By the way I'm still in post-game loading screen freeze hell. Happens in about a third of my franchise games.

Upon further thought, I initially agreed with you about it being, '...too much loss of agency...'. But, (and this is probably depends on the person playing the game. For me, I'm not that great. Whereas others may be really good at fielding and batting), if you play just one player, then aren't you actually getting true values of the statistical database 'The Show' is giving you? If people are siming a season to see how this or that happens, aren't you using the 'lock player' and 'quick counts' truer to what the database is projecting. And further, if you end up playing one player (i.e. the 'locked player), and you pick say the weakest hitter, wouldn't this show how good you are if that player hit's better then projected? Further, it allows your better hitters to hit 'better' according to the stats, then 'you, the player', if you don't bat that well (for me, it's fielding and allot about base running).

Does this make sense? Your thoughts?

That's too many thoughts!

Totally sounds fun, I'm not poo-poo'ing player lock.

I started an RTTS today… I like the new draft showcase and draft stuff. I got picked up by the Marlins early in the second round.

Oh the freeze stuff is a Vita problem, not PS3.

Slumberland wrote:

Oh the freeze stuff is a Vita problem, not PS3.

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Donan wrote:
Slumberland wrote:

OMG that's beautiful. But it still won't make me buy a PS 4 for just one game. (and what the hey, all that power and they can't make the grass spray around McCutchen's lay out catch on the grass. Or show some 'dirt devils' from running or sliding. Oh well, can't have everything:)

There are dirt devils at times at least. I tend to notice them most frequently when I cut into my shortstop's fielding chance ... a dirt devel often pops up, because apparently I just dropped from the sky or something.

I've only been playing RTTS (I don't think I can go back to franchise mode after picking up OOTP). Fielding feels a bit more fluid than in 12 and 13 ... I tended to either skip fielding or stick with 1st base with those. If you I any mistake in direction, 'momentum' would somehow take me half way around the field in the wrong direction before I could step the other way. That doesn't seem to happen to me in 14.

It's definitely not perfect. If I field a grounder on the run, I can typically make a good quick throw right after fielding it. If I'm not already moving, something like 50% of the time my guy will take his sweet time, make sure his feet are perfectly set, and toss over to first like we're playing a game of catch. If the hitter has any speed when this happens, I'm toast. If I'm too close to second base when fielding a ball, he'll sometimes make a very awkward and slow flip, killing off the double play. And, it seems like inevitable when this happens, the other team will score (though, this may just be because my team has the worst pitching staff in the league). I suspect this would irritate me a lot more if I were running a team instead of just one guy. It's annoying enough that I wanted to skip fielding, but you no longer receive any training points for anything done while simming, and I can use all of the training points I can get my hands on.

I haven't picked up a baseball game on console in ages (I think we're talking Sega Genesis era). I am really liking the show and find that if I set it for dynamic difficulty that I can get up to all star level for pitching. The low end of all star, that seems to be the sweet spot, typically if I make progress from there the game will knock me down a few pegs.

Conversely, when batting, I can barely get to the high end of rookie and if I break into veteran at all, its for one game and then I get knocked back down to rookie. I read pitches terribly and swing at junk pitches way too much. I even chant to myself dont swing on the way to the plate and my compulsion to swing at everything takes over anyway.

Does anyone have some good batting pointers? How to read pitches better?
Anyone have any camera angles they feel work better for seeing the ball? When I play offline I set my camera to custom 1 and modify the catcher view by pulling it back more (makes me feel like I have more time to react). But when I play exhibition or leagues online, my custom cameras are never saved, so I can not use the camera I got comfortable with. So looking for a new angle to use. Currently Im batting with "zone" option and using "wide" camera.

If I had a PS4, I would get this in a heartbeat, but sadly I went with XBO so no baseball action for me, at least not next gen. I do still have my PS3 and have last year's The Show, but from what I can tell there isn't much of a reason to upgrade to this year's PS3 version. I expect Christmas will bring me a PS4.

My wife tells me how spoiled I am and I can't deny it. But it's cheaper than heroin!

Bean wrote:

Conversely, when batting, I can barely get to the high end of rookie and if I break into veteran at all, its for one game and then I get knocked back down to rookie. I read pitches terribly and swing at junk pitches way too much. I even chant to myself dont swing on the way to the plate and my compulsion to swing at everything takes over anyway.

Does anyone have some good batting pointers? How to read pitches better?
Anyone have any camera angles they feel work better for seeing the ball? When I play offline I set my camera to custom 1 and modify the catcher view by pulling it back more (makes me feel like I have more time to react). But when I play exhibition or leagues online, my custom cameras are never saved, so I can not use the camera I got comfortable with. So looking for a new angle to use. Currently Im batting with "zone" option and using "wide" camera.

Well really dynamic setting should help you stay at around your own batting skills. I will say the obvious tho' if that isn't working to make sure you adding you skill points to left and right hitting. Plate discipline and...heck I can't think of the name right now, but where it gives you better ability to hit in clutches. Other then that there is a batting practice module and train every time it comes up in your team schedules.

Good luck!

One last thing I forgot that is very helpful. When you have two strikes, use the circle key for 'contact hitting'. Much easier to not strike out for it allows you to tip allot of balls that may be just out the strike zone.

And to clarify that 'adding points to the left and right hitting'. That means don't waste points on 'power'. Just 'hitting' against left or right handed pitchers (or a bit of both).