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MLB 09: The Show
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a sports simulation based on Major League Baseball. Players control their favorite teams for individual games, and can even guide them through an entire season. Ads from baseball related companies such as Upper Deck are displayed throughout stadiums. The game is also playable online, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for children under the age of 12.
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What's it about?
Spring training has arrived, which means the return of the national pasttime to the video game realm. This season's star is Sony's MLB 09: THE SHOW, an incredibly deep Major League Baseball simulation. Players can take control of their favorite MLB team and lead them to victory in exhibition games, or guide them through entire seasons. Franchise Mode allows players to manage teams more closely, performing tasks ranging from signing new players to planning stadium promotions.
Since this is a game released yearly, the core mechanics of the game remain intact, but MLB 09 adds some interesting features to help players improved their skills. After each at-bat, players can click on the left analog stick to view the timing and approach in their previous swing through a small chart. The Road to the Show incorporates additional training features as well. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Road to the Show also lets players create their own athlete and guide him through the minor leagues into the majors. MLB 09 has also introduced online leagues and custom chants players can record and put inside the game.
Is it any good?
MLB 09 boasts the most authentic baseball experience available. The presentation is stunning. Players move so fluidly, it would be easy to mistake the virtual athletes for the real thing. Computer-controlled players are challenging both on the mound and inside the batter's box. They mix up their pitches, move swiftly across the field, and exhibit patience while waiting for the ideal pitch to knock out of the park. As a result, each at-bat feels rewarding when you earn that strikeout as a pitcher or slam a homerun.
While MLB 09 doesn't make major changes, smart tweaks have been made to the formula. The bevy of training modes provide a great avenue for new players to learn the game, which can feel complicated if you've never played. The game also adds more ambience compared to previous versions. Crowds jump from their seats to catch foul balls. In Wrigley Field, for example, the signature organ plays in between at-bats. The atmosphere complements the action in terms of creating an incredibly realistic baseball video game.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.