Last year, MLB: The Show's Vita debut had no presentation. This year, it... well, it has some.
In The Show '12, a home run--even a grand slam--would simply cycle into the next batter sans fanfare. With a year of development time, the base running sequence is there, although shortened with sharp edits. Most of the animation routines are like that. Generally squished onto the hardware, The Show still feels overly constrained by restrictions of the system, lacking density in transition animation and presenting itself clumsily.
Do not take any of this the wrong way. Even on PlayStation 3, the series is coasting to a late generation victory. What does it have to prove? The Vita is hardly late though, and lacking the new ball physics of the home console reveals a game in handheld form that already feels stagnating. Off the bat, the ball feels like it travels on a predetermined course. Nothing brings down the illusion like back-to-back clones of an identical hit. Maybe the repetition is the reason for excising replays from the virtual broadcast.
Reeling in lost presentation (and terribly clipped commentary that barely recognizes a color man or between inning fades), the focus shifts towards building what the game should be. Superfluous touch screen additions aside, The Show is bolstered by the enormity of its options. Three pitching styles, multiple batting icons, fielding meters, and difficulty curves are offered to suit everyone's play style. It is every change and addition since The Show found life back on the PlayStation 2. Suddenly, the Vita version feels a lot like home.
Also carried along are recognizable new faces. A pennant race puts the player right in the midst of the October playoff frenzy. It is simple, offers the usual range of options, and suits the rapid fire methodology of portable gaming. Serious types can dive into The Show: Live, which charts the actual MLB season roster moves, injuries, and results with the player's chosen squad in the thick of their own virtual fate. It is a fun idea, although it is locked behind Sony's persistently annoying online pass, along with the rest of the general multiplayer.