MLB 11: The Show is now available on PlayStation 2 for those who are still getting some use out of the old console. A cheaper alternative to the far more fully-featured PlayStation 3 version, this is a fairly decent baseball experience for the budget-conscious gamer. If you don’t have a current generation platform, this is basically your only option if you want a baseball game with up-to-date rosters. Those familiar with previous PS2 baseball games won’t be surprised by anything, as the game play and overall design is pretty much standard issue.
Gameplay is challenging without becoming frustrating. Depending on your previous experience with similar baseball games, the pitching and batting mechanisms might take some getting used to. There is definitely a learning curve involved, especially when the game is set at the higher difficulty levels. The player animation is not quite up to par, and that’s compared to earlier PS2 baseball games. For whatever reason, probably the fact that this older console is obviously not a top priority any longer, the movements of the players are quite clunky and stiff. The stadiums are generally accurate, but details are almost non-existent. The crowds are lifeless and the scoreboard animation is glitchy.
I like the Road to the Show mode, in which the player creates a rookie and attempts to build a successful career. This is quite challenging, even if you try to front-load your created player with naturally awesome default skills. It’s more fun to create a modest player with realistic abilities and then work on crafting a skill set that will take him far. It can be a bit frustrating, however, when you get sent down to the minors for seemingly arbitrary reasons despite solid stats.
In addition to Road to the Show there are several other game play modes including Rivalry, Season, Home Run Derby, and All-Star Game. These modes were included in earlier versions of the The Show. New to this version are personalized batting stances, some new stadiums, and of course roster current as of preseason 2011. Players can either play against the console or with a friend in 2-player mode.
Overall, if you are limited to PS2 and want a baseball game with updated players and stats then you can’t really go wrong with this one. Just don’t look at any sample footage of the PS3 version if you haven’t seen it already, because you’ll definitely feel like upgrading to the current platform.
MLB 11: The Show is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PS3, PSP.