MLB 14 The Show Preview: Time keeps on slippin’

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mlb-14-the-showThe team at Sony San Diego say the most common complaint they get about baseball games is the time investment. Baseball moves at a more leisurely pace, one reason not everybody is a fan.

New features Quick Counts and Player Lock will move you through games faster than Mike Trout moves along the basepaths. Quick Counts will use an algorithm to place players at a different point in the count. It could  be 1-1 or 3-0 before you take your first swing. Pitcher/batter attributes will affect how often particular counts show up. So if you take a light hitting team to the field against Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, expect to face more 1-2 and 0-2 counts.

If you aren’t exactly discriminating with the pitches you swing at (totally guilty of this) Quick Counts will help you be more selective. Sometimes as the batter you will start ahead in the count, giving you more freedom to take a pitch here or there. While playing as an ace pitcher, you will start ahead in the count more. This gives you a chance to throw fewer pitches, and managers are always trying to conserve their big arms.

The whole mechanic of the count can add a lot of length to a baseball game. While most times the the guy in a 1-2 hole is finished, some batters are masters of fouling off pitches. Their at-bats don’t really begin until they are in a hole. Then some batters, especially gamers, lack patience at the plate. After all, if you have been lobbying Sony San Diego for faster games, you aren’t looking to see 30 pitches in one at-bat. There is also a fast play option that limits presentation not important to gameplay. No 360 slow overhead views of Wrigley Field unless you want them.

Player Lock has its roots in the Road to The Show created player mode. At any point during season mode, you can lock onto a specific player. You are only responsible for his contributions to the game, and everything else is simulated. It’s possible to lock onto a different player at any time. I can see a few uses for this mode. Let’s say you are chasing a trophy for getting a certain amount of homers or strikeouts. You don’t care about anything else that happens in the game, including whether your team wins.

With the help of Player Lock, it’s possible to get a nine-inning game played in just 10 minutes.  Just the combo and Quick Counts and Fast Play can keep a game to 30 minutes. For players who consider that sacrilege, both options can be turned off at any time. This will really pay off in Franchise mode. A full 162-game schedule takes a bit of time. I’m a purist, but I’ll sim a few games this year I’m sure.

There is one thing in Player Lock that will take some getting used to. It’s played from a fielder’s perspective, so the controls will be reversed. For example, you will push square for a throw to first. Be prepared to start with a few missed double plays as your muscle memory grasps that. MLB 14 The Show – PlayStation 4 arrives April 1 on the PS3 and Vita, and is coming to the PS4 in May. Who’s ready?

Site [PlayStation Blog]


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