For those upgrading from MLB 14 The Show to MLB 15 The Show on Sony’s PlayStation Vita, I thought I would share a few of the gotchas I experienced so you can avoid them. First off, I had the digital version of MLB 14 The Show on my Vita on the largest memory card available. However, thanks mostly to the wonderful monthly PlayStation Plus freebies, space is still at an extreme premium. With that in mind, and the stated promise of MLB 15 The Show being able to continue an existing Franchise or Road to the Show experience from MLB 14 The Show, I decided to delete MLB 14 The Show before downloading MLB 15 The Show directly from the PlayStation Store. I felt safe in this maneuver because I used the Upload to Cloud feature in MLB 14 The Show, which allowed me to continue where I left off in the mode I play on a daily basis, Road to the Show, on either the PlayStation 4 (PS4) or Vita.
Unfortunately, MLB 15 The Show is looking for the local save file, not the cloud save file. Panicking for just a moment, I exhaled and quickly gathered my wits, deciding I had to re-download MLB 14 The Show (deleting some other games off the memory card first, of course, to make room). After the usual glacial download completed, I opened up the cloud save, then made sure I created a local save. I then opened up MLB 15 The Show, it saw my existing Road to the Show experience, and I was finally in business on the new version. I assume this same process needs to be followed on the PS4 side of the equation, but I have yet to upgrade that copy of the game. Frankly, I’ve played 98% of my games on the Vita for pure convenience. It’s a better audio-visual experience on the PS4, of course, but the pick up and play nature of the handheld in deference to my busy adult life wins out.
As I discussed in an older blog post on the previous iteration of Armchair Arcade, I considered MLB 14 The Show one of the best action RPGs (role-playing games) of all time when playing its Road to the Show mode. Since that blog post, I’ve played countless more games, more seasons, and leveled up (a new character) to new heights, raising my already exceedingly high opinion of the game even further. Amazingly, the more I play, the more new stuff I uncover. It’s really a stunning programming achievement with phenomenal depth.
Having only played MLB 15 The Show for a day, my initial impressions of the upgrade are mixed. I like the low cost of entry, just $20 (you can even buy a mostly empty box on Amazon, but it’s still a digital only release, i.e., no physical media), and the background music seems far less oppressive. Having only the Vita version so far, I have mixed feelings on the rest of the audio-visual changes.
While blissfully the game seems to load things faster (keeping in mind the Vita version already loaded faster than the PS4 version), the menus seem a bit more garish and show info in a bit more consolidated of a manner, which sometimes means you get more info than before, but also means you often get less, which I really don’t like. The old menu system and info displays I thought were quite effective and could have only used minor tweaks, not complete overhauls.
There’s also extensive use of italics. While normally not an issue, it’s not especially attractive on the small screen, and that, combined with other “bold” font choices, make things a bit hard to read and/or overly jagged at times.
I was also hoping that the Vita version would have the three man commentary from the PS4 version finally, but it’s still mostly just the one guy calling the game with occasional interjection from the other guy. There’s also a delay now when your batter steps up to the batter’s box before the commentary starts. I’m an aggressive batter and find that I’m often swinging away just about when the commentary finally starts, creating a new tangent. In any case, it seems there are few, if any, real functional advantages over the previous version (e.g., no automatic, just manual, instant replays).
I also have mixed feelings on the updated graphics. In some places, like the occasional player animation, I notice some improvements in smoothness, but for the most part, from the overall look to the occasional stutter, it’s either more or the same or even possibly a bit worse/something to get used to (e.g., camera movement is a bit different).
In any case, I suspect I’ll still be playing the game on an almost daily basis, and may even break down and get the PS4 version for the best possible experience, however rarely I’ll get to play it on there. I hope that over time I get used to the changes on the Vita version so it once again becomes second nature and a comfortable, familiar experience. We’ll see.