Friday, March 21, 2008

The Show

Well, this game is making me jump in with both feet. I decided to take a 'personal day' yesterday and after doing my regular Gameshark duties I spent the rest of it fiddling with The Show.

This really is a great game. It gets SO many things right that other games simply...don't. And a lot of it is subtle. Here's an example:

Yesterday, playing as the Reds, I had speedster Ryan Freel on 2nd, with 2 outs. Adam Dunn at the plate and he hits a soft liner to center field for a routine base hit. OK, nothing revolutionary there.

But Freel scores without a throw, jogging across home plate for a run. While a baseball fan might read that and think , "Yeah...and?" you need to understand how RARE that is in baseball videogames. In fact it took us a LOT of trial and error and tune file tweaks to get this to work right in High Heat Baseball. We did get it to work, but it took some doin'. Try that little move in MLB 2K6, 7, or 8 and watch what happens. Freel better run his ass off...

With his confidence shaking, Reds starter Aaron Harang walked back to back batters last night. I was using Harang and could NOT find the plate. Finally, with 2 on and 2 out I tried to throw a pitch low and away but Harang was now a mental mess and ended up throwing the ball right down the middle and Chase Utley ripped it for a double, clearing the bases.

That's not going to happen in any other game. First off, I'm not walking back to back batters unless I want to and no way will I aim low and away and end up serving up a gopher ball. Harang is a damn good pitcher but he was tired and his confidence was shot to hell. Lesson learned -- call the bullpen.

Now, there are issues. There are things that need tweaked and it's here where I truly miss the intricate detail of the old High Heat tune file. I can't decide if the outfielders are too fast or quick to react or if the base runners are a shade too slow, but doubles, like the one mentioned above, aren't too common -- particularly hits down the line. This was an issue with this game on the PS2 a few years ago and it's still here.

When a batter hits the ball down the right or left field line, over the bag -- unless a major defensive shift is on -- that's GOTTA be a double. Has to be. Here, it's not, unless the ball was tattooed and rattles around in the corner. But hitting the ball into said corner is tough because the outfielders cover so much ground -- quickly. Almost all of the doubles in the game are gappers, and even those aren't too common. I usually see 1 double per game, which is about 2 or 3 too few. That may not sound like a big deal but the outfielder reaction and speed has other effects as well.

There are a lot of sliders in the game, including "reaction speed" but that slider doesn't seem to do a whole helluva lot. Turns out you can edit player ratings IN franchise mode (nice) but even after lowering reaction speed attributes it's still just a

So I'm still messing with stuff to see if I can find a slider or attribute solution. This is by no means a game killer considering everything else that this game does so spectacularly well, but it's just the baseball geek inside me that wants to see if I can find a workable solution.