While still lacking a few key features, the technical ability of this PSP version of MLB 08: The Show is always stunning. From the physics, to the graphics, to the audio, right down to the small touches that makes this series come alive, the new version of The Show maintains them all. However, improvements from 07 are minor.
The biggest adjustment doesn’t come with a new mode or feature, it’s a fix of the frame rate. When the ball is hit, the game no longer struggles to switch to a fielding view. The smooth transition makes fielding less jarring, and gives the overall game a better flow.
Other gameplay nuances are intact and unchanged. This is still the best portable baseball game money can buy. The Show is loaded with details, and allows for mistakes like wild pitches to occur on a regular (and realistic) basis. It makes a baseball videogame what real baseball is.
Off the field, this portable edition still lacks a full franchise mode. The depth this mode carries on its PlayStation 2 cousin is loads of fun, and it’s a shame that after three years, fans are still waiting. A new feature does however let you save your progress at any time in the middle of a game, a welcome addition for a portable title.
Small touches such as custom soundtrack support are nice too. The career mode, "Road to the Show," returns with some changes, though it suffers the same problems as the PlayStation 2 version. It takes forever to level up or make anything resembling a pro ball player. Attribute points are rapidly drained preventing training that allow you to beef up your character. The camera is also bothersome during fielding.
Online play is remarkable for a handheld, even ahead of anything on the Wii. Score tickers, real MLB news, text chat, message boards, e-mail, 30 player leagues, and individual player cards make this a busy (and fun) community. Play is smooth and relatively lag free aside from some minor hiccups.
If this is your first go with The Show, you’ll be stunned by the amount of content and detail. If you’re familiar with last years version, you’ll be underwhelmed. Baby steps have been taken to improve the overall experience, so veterans will find this a better playing baseball game. Still, this title is dying for franchise play, and without it, this platform's version will always feel like the lesser of the PS2/PSP battle.
MLB 08: The Show is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.