MLB: The Show 13 (Vita) review

As a companion pieces to the PS3 game, the Vita version is incredible - but suffers as a standalone game
As a companion pieces to the PS3 game, the Vita version is incredible - but suffers as a standalone game
As a companion pieces to the PS3 game, the Vita version is incredible - but suffers as a standalone game

Highs

  • PS3 cloud saves transfer
  • All the PS3 modes are present
  • The tweaks to the PS3 version also work on the Vita

Lows

  • The game often looks ugly
  • the Vita's thumbsticks are ideal for the gameplay
  • High cost for what should be a package with the PS3 version

DT Editors' Rating

The PS Vita is a system that has the potential to change the way people game, but it still has a long way to go. One of its biggest selling points is, of course, cross play. With MLB 13: The Show, that feature is very much at the forefront of what the game can do.

Vita MLB 13And that really is the best way to play this game – arguably the only real way to play this game. If you only purchase the Vita version and not the PS3 offering, you are missing out. It’s like eating fast food instead of a restaurant burger. You get an imitation of the real thing that may hold you over, but it’s sustenance rather than a good meal. 

In one very specific way, The Vita version of MLB 13: The Show is a true success. All the game modes from the PS3 version are present, and thanks to cloud storage you can continue your Franchise, Postseason, Road to the Show, and Season – as well cross play with PS3 user in the home run derby – on the go. As an extension of the PS3 version of the game, MLB 13 on the Vita makes for an excellent companion piece to the PS3 version. As a standalone game though, it has flaws.

PS Vita MLB 13The thumbsticks are difficult to use for some of the more precise maneuvers, and the graphics take a notable hit. That is to be expected, of course, but there are some moments that feel as if the game were using only a portion of the Vita’s power. Some of the things that look great on the PS3 version – things like the shading and lighting – are only fair on the Vita, while things that didn’t look great to begin with, like faces, look like something from the pits of Hell.

For the most part though, the game works. The Vita port brings with it all the things that worked in the PS3 version, including nerfed hitting, a beginner mode, and minor physics tweaks to help build on the already solid gameplay.  But without the power of the PS3, the game just feels like a bad port. Rough edges and poor frame rates plague it at every turn. It is a downgraded version of the PS3 version, and unless you look at it like an extension of that game, there are unmistakable flaws.

Conclusion

The PS Vita version of the game is perfect for the hardcore MLB: The Show fan that won’t mind the hit in quality to make room for the cross-platform functionality. As a companion it works, and highlights how the Vita could change gaming. As a standalone though, the benefits aren’t there. There is still a passable baseball game, but an ugly one.

The biggest downside to this game is the cost – you’ll have to pay full price for the convenience of being able to continue your game on the road. At $100 for the pair, that cost is a bit extreme for a game that has a lack of innovation from the last year’s model. If paying more for moderate value doesn’t turn you off, then there may be a job for you in the Yankees front office. But for fans with the money to burn, you could do worse.

(This game was reviewed on the PS Vita using a copy provided by the publisher)

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