MLB: The Show is a solid must-have for fans of baseball video games and sports simulations in general. This year, Sony handed over cover athlete duties to four-time All-Star and Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez. But that’s hardly the only new addition. Here are three improvements fans can expect when MLB 12: The Show hits shelves on March 6, 2012:
1. Ball Physics
Past games have lacked the variety of hits one would expect from a baseball simulation. That’s why a member of The Show’s engineering team made it his business to rewrite the ball’s physics code for a more authentic experience. Now when a ball hits the bat or playing field, everything from its speed to its spin will be taken into account.
2. Collision Awareness
The key to making a sport simulation feel real has always been ensuring that the athletes respond like athletes, as opposed to like the lifeless AI they really are. This year, Sony is applying their collision awareness model all across the field and improving the animations at the plate and during double play balls. Baserunners will look real as they try to avoid a tag or show off their cleats to disrupt a sweep tag.
3. Pulse Pitching
Last year’s edition offered only analog pitching. This year, The Show gives you the option of going back to the old-school controller setup, increasing the challenge of pinpointing your pitches. After selecting your pitch and target—like in the old games—you’ll have to time your button press with a pulsating “X” to ensure an accurate pitch. The more you’re in sync, the smaller the X will be when you throw the ball, giving you a better chance of smoking one by a perennial slugger. If your timing’s off, you might as well wave to the ball as it goes soaring over the fence.