I’m several months behind in my review of The Show since it came out back in March, but I just recently started playing it. All I can say is….WOW. It is, in my opinion, by far the best baseball game on the market. Each year it seems to improve and you think to yourself “it can’t get any better”, but then the next year it does!

I’ve only played the Road to the Show (RTTS) option in this year’s game, and the improvements made are fantastic. RTTS is an option in the game where you create yourself at any position, and then you can choose to enter the draft or pick the team you’d like to be on. To keep it as real as possible, I entered the draft. I was a LITTLE disappointed because there really wasn’t much to it, the game simply tells you which team drafted you and you’re assigned to that team’s AA ball club. In the very beginning, you do receive a “bank” of attribute points to which you can assign to a wide variety of areas – stamina/durability, pitching cluth, HR/9, K/9, BB/9, and for each pitch type you select, you can assign points to velocity, control, and movement.

I created myself as a closing pitcher, so I chose to focus more on the velocity of my pitches and pitching clutch. My fastball at the very beginning came in around the 90-92 range, and is now up to 96-97 regularly, with good control. How do you earn points during your season? That’s the best improvement to this year’s RTTS, or at least I think so. In years past, you would have a goal for each at-bat or for each batter you faced as a pitcher. The flaw was if your goal was to force a ground out, and the batter flied out, it was considered a “fail”, when really an out is an out.

In the 2011 version, player progression has taken on a whole new level. Rather than the all-or-nothing type points last year, you don’t have a specific goal for each batter you face. If you force a ground out, double play, fly ball, or even a strikeout, you get points (ranging anywhere from 0 to the low-20’s). Strike somebody out on 3 pitches, and you’re rewarded with a “great batter” which earns you 20-something points. Give up a single on 1 pitch, or a home run, and you’ll most likely lose a point. Which, I’m ok with, since I’m being rewarded more fairly on other aspects.

During the season, you also have various training sessions, which range from pitching simulated games to hitting targets that are in the strike zone. Achieve those goals, and you get “free” training on the different attributes of your pitcher. I’m still in season one of my RTTS pitcher, but I’ve earned the closing spot in the bullpen, and currently have 10 consecutive saves. With only a AA club and a AAA club, it shouldn’t take a whole lot of time to get a call-up.

Next week, in part 2 of my review, I’ll focus more on the specific attributes…but in the meantime, anybody else have suggestions on how to make your player better? Or any differing opinions on the gameplay itself?

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Bob Inferapels partners with Cheri Nobel to write a weekly column on entertainment and recreational activities. Read all of Bob’s articles in The Playground.

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