MLB 15: The Show Initial Impressions

Posted April 2nd, 2015 at 3:15 pm


Expectations for MLB 15: The Show were high heading into release, and justifiably so, as the series is arguably the most consistent in all of sports gaming. It was easy to anticipate what would be great about the game and know what likely wouldn’t be up to par. That allows for a high level of confidence in buying from those interested in the product.

For the most part those expectations have been precisely met. MLB 15 is a fantastic game that has improved on its strengths but done little with its weaknesses. 

The digital launch of the game went much smoother than last year when the game was delayed reaching the store for download. The process was considerably smoother thanks to the ability to pre-load. The game then unlocked at midnight eastern and was ready to play immediately in its entirety. Those who bought physical copies were met by a limited demo while the game was installing. In similar fashion to NBA 2K15 they found themselves stuck in that for hours without an indication of why that was (because it had yet to complete its installation).

The first thing I did in game was to migrate my saves from MLB 14 to MLB 15. The process was super simple and went off without a hitch. For those coming from PS4 last year the game scours the hard drive for the saves. Anyone that desires carrying over progress from the PS3 or Vita have to make sure to use the Cloud Saves feature.


Gameplay and graphics will be familiar to anyone who played the game last year, or even going back further, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t progressed. Framerate problems have been cleared up and player movement feels more responsive and realistic. The new Directional Hitting makes for a good option to consider at the plate. I’ve enjoyed using it so far even though production has yet to follow. Those struggling to hit may want to try changing the hitting camera. Each one offers advantages and disadvantages in reading pitches and judging timing. Graphically the game looks great and improvements to lighting are well worth noting.

The Show is known for its attention to detail and authenticity, but there are a few things that immediately appear somewhat opposed to that. The biggest is with the equipment that can be assigned to players in Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty that boost their ratings. It’s somewhat understandable to assign boosts to licensed equipment but things like chewing gum, candles, having a sleeping companion, and four leaf clovers are a little more questionable. Ultimately if it’s looked at as just a fun thing that’s fine, but people who value realism may not like the implications of equipment and rituals having “powers”.

Road to the Show is essentially a copy of last year with the only exception being the ability to assign that equipment to players. Franchise mode is similar also but now incorporates sponsorships which go towards building a bigger budget for the team, includes an option to have contracts for General Managers, adds in a mediocre radio show while in the menus, and legends can be turned on to make them available in the free agent pool.

Baseball fans, and certainly those that play The Show religiously, will always be able to identify things from watching real games that didn’t make the translation to the video game. As a fan of the Mariners several of them stood out immediately. Fernando Rodney doesn’t do the arrow celebration after a save, his hat isn’t crooked, the fantastic new Sunday uniforms are missing, Safeco Field’s roof doesn’t close, and there’s no King’s Court for Felix Hernandez starts. Surely there are things similar to those missing from every team and that’s the next level of authenticity for The Show to work on achieving.

One disappointment so far is with the lack of emotion and personality that was promoted for the product. Very few instances of this have been witnessed. The crowd seems to be enhanced, especially in the postseason with the towels back after not making it in last year, but for the most part the players all seem to act the same. Maybe some instances will be found as the game is played more but I would have expected to witness more of it by now.


While SCEA has worked on making the great qualities of The Show even better they’ve let the troubled aspects linger. Commentary desperately needs to be rebooted – there’s really no question about that – and Online Play is still unreliable. Online seems to have improved in terms of performance as lag isn’t affecting timing and the result has been better hitting averages and fewer strikeouts. Despite that crashes to the dashboard and opponents seeing different things happen on screen remain serious problems that need attention.

Loading times have been improved significantly and that benefits everyone who spends any time in the game. Diamond Dynasty though seems plagued by slow server response making navigation and tasks tedious to complete when server errors aren’t booting you out of the mode completely. Conceptually the changes to Diamond Dynasty represent a move in the right direction however it still feels somewhat overwhelming for beginners. Getting bonus stuff through Universal Rewards is a great idea that promotes playing the game more, even every 9 day stretch of signing into MLB 15 will get you a free pack, but then there’s the marketplace where it would cost you $616 to buy this one Brooks Robinson card!

There’s much more to dig into with MLB 15: The Show. Look for the complete Hits & Misses review to go up on Monday! Until then make sure to check out the two Press Row Hangout shows discussing the game (Day One ImpressionsDay Two Impressions).