Sony San Diego has done a commendable job at scaling the console baseball simulation experience of The Show and bringing it to the PlayStation Vita. Every game mode, gameplay mechanic and the newly improved animations can be found in the Vita version, allowing you to continue where you left off on the PS3 version and still get a similar experience.
Unlike MLB 12, there isn’t a cross-buy option for this years offering, so if you want to get the full MLB 13: The Show experience, you will have to buy both games separately. While you won’t be able to play a complete baseball game cross-platform, the included online Home Run Derby turned out to be quite addicting. The next logical step would be to expand the cross-platform experience to include complete baseball games in the future. The third base coach is waving you home Sony San Diego – make it happen.
Cloud saving makes a return, allowing you to easily continue a Season, Franchise or Road to the Show save from the PlayStation 3 – if you end up buying both versions of the game. I actually enjoyed playing my Road to the Show player on a handheld more than I did on the PlayStation 3. With games that take less than 10 minutes, I found the Vita is better suited for this style of play. Combined with the Vita’s included Sleep mode and it becomes the easier choice if you need to step away for a few minutes and don’t want to power down completely.
The various pitching and batting options from MLB 12, haven’t been touched, resulting in the same solid gameplay from last year, but with one notable caveat – pulse pitching. The pulse pitching option on the Vita once again features a delay when attempting to stop the ring to determine the accuracy of the pitch. This only occurs on the Vita version of the game, forcing myself to choose a different pitching method only on the Vita version of the game.
Trying to target a pitch to a specific location in the tiny batters box using the PlayStation Vita’s thumb sticks is an arduous task. The sticks don’t appear to be able to handle the light touches required when trying to hit a fastball on the outside corner of the plate. Since letting go of the sticks resets them in to the center of the plate an option that would make pitching slightly easier would be to remove the reset allowing players to make small adjustments before pitching. It really should be an option in the pitching settings, so if you think it would make things too easy, then you don’t have to use it.
The Visuals are cleaner and smoother than last years and all the ballparks closely resemble their real life counterparts. While the minor details appear blurry and constructed from lower quality models, the details have at least been included. The occasional slow down can be seen due to the game not being able to handle a certain point of view or when too many characters appear on-screen. It’s not game breaking and usually doesn’t last too long. Dugouts on the other hand appear to be empty at a distance, but as you approach closer everyone inside the dugout will suddenly appear.
While the PlayStation 3 version features all new camera angles, scenes and replays that succeed in creating a live broadcast feel to the game, none of those have been transitioned over the Vita. The game feels much faster paced than the console version, which is perfect for on the go bursts of gaming.
I was overly impressed with the offering on the PlayStation Vita for MLB 13: The Show. I didn’t feel as if I was playing a dumbed down version of the game. Keeping an eye on the ball or the third base coach when rounding second in Road to the Show are a couple examples of nice additions that add to the overall experience to the game. These small details and improvements help create a vastly superior experience.
Note: The MLB 13: The Show Vita review was written based on the Vita version of the game provided by the publisher.