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If you're a fan of baseball, it's a given you own one of Sony's systems (such as the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4), due in part to them being the only company putting out baseball games. When some companies own an exclusive license, it gives them a reason to slack; after all, with no competition, you're buying the next iteration of MLB: The Show whether it's good or not just to get your baseball fix. Luckily, MLB 14: The Show hits a proverbial home run: Its not content to sit on its laurels and provide only a simple roster update but instead, it gives baseball fans the definitive experience they deserve.


At its core, MLB 14: The Show is largely the same game mechanics wise as it has been in past years. The hitting, pitching and fielding are rock solid, monuments to a system that Sony has spent years perfecting. This year, the focus is on speeding up gameplay, which Sony achieves with two new features: Quick Counts and Player Lock. With these two systems in place, it's now possible to complete games in under ten minutes, letting you get through whole seasons in a weekend's time. You can mix and match various aspects of the two systems to create your ideal game length if under ten minutes is too short for you to enjoy.


If you're a gamer who likes to take their time with the game, preferring statistics and backroom deals to on-field action, you'll be pleased to know that both Franchise and Road to the Show modes return and are both as amazing as ever. Accompanying them is a full suite of online play in addition to bonus modes such as Home Run Derby. Whether you've got ten minutes or ten hours, you'll find something in MLB 14: The Show to occupy your time.
The major improvement to this year's version comes when playing on a PlayStation 4. While the MLB: The Show franchise has never been a slouch in the graphics department, playing this year's version on the PlayStation 4 will blow your mind. It's like being transported directly to the stadium itself, with your seats located on the field: The graphics are that real. Every minor detail, from the grain of the bat to the strands of hair in an unkempt beard, are rendered immaculately. If you own a PlayStation 4, this is the version to purchase, as it also includes all the features of the PlayStation 3 version.


It's not all home runs and World Series wins for the show, however, as two problems hamper the experience. The first is the load times, which run in excess of twenty to thirty seconds for such simple actions as navigating through menus. Load times should have been obliterated on the PlayStation 2, not carried forward to the PlayStation 4. Lag in online play is also a problem, causing you to miss that game winning hit through no fault of your own. It's rare when it happens, but the fact it happens at all and can cost you the game is a problem.

Despite its flaws, MLB 14: The Show is the definitive baseball experience. While the game is at its best on the PlayStation 4, it's no slouch on the PlayStation 3 either – you can't go wrong picking it up for either system. If you're a longtime fan of the series, you likely already have this game in your collection, but if you haven't picked up a baseball game in awhile this the perfect one to start with. MLB 14: The Show sets the bar high for not only future games in the franchise, but for sports games as a whole.

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