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One For The Money, Two For The Show � Skip Three & Four For A Moment

Saturday, Apr. 07, 2007 1:09 AM

A few words about Sony's MLB '07: The Show on the PlayStation Portable (PSP).

As in, how the frack did this get out of beta testing and onto the shelves???

Seriously. Sony went from a stable game in MLB '06, and while they added some interesting features, those features came with bugs that should have gotten squashed flat during testing.

� The game routinely drops hits off your batting record. Get onboard with a base hit, and you'll be surprised to find you're 0-for-1 at your next at-bat. This is basic math! How can you flub the stats, unless you rewrote the code or copied over a buggy version? (Another review states that the game adds hits to the other team's tally!)

� The game routinely leaves your player standing motionless between first and second base. When he does move, it's to fall prey to an easy out.

� The game's assisted base-running mode is inconsistent. Some times, it will freeze you to watch a fly ball, allowing you to get back to base in time; other times, it will let you run unchecked, and unable to get back to base in time. Once, it decided my career player was going to try and steal home plate � a rare event in any game. Naturally, I got tagged out easily.

� There's an occasional quirk that, when running towards first base, your player makes a sharp turn and heads for the mound. In one instance, the player then headed for second; in another, he headed back for home, then towards first, then towards the mound �

� When playing outfield, the graphics have pinwheeled twice, leaving me unable to see anything. The graphics resolve after the play is complete (usually at least a double for the opposing team).

� When pinch-hitting for the pitcher, game and color commentary continue to refer to you as if you were the pitcher, including Rex Hudler commenting, "It almost looks like he knows what he's doing out there!"

� An odd sound bite from Matt Vasgersian that concludes, "� gets all the way out to E-7." Either that's the parking lot behind the stadium, or it's another piece of buggy code (where E-7 is a variable that can be one of several locations, like 'left field,' 'right field,' or 'the bleachers').

� The game manual refers to 'Historic Greats' and 'Game Sharing' features that are nowhere to be found.

� In a bug that is likely to be registered as 'unrepeatable,' the game shows the next three hitters in the lineup going into the bottom of an inning, with my career player being third. The game fast forwards � to the end of the game. Um, didn't we skip something? How do you get three outs on two players?

� Similarly, there's a man on first when I come to the plate, and after getting a base hit, the commentary refers to a leadoff single.

� Mystery features. The 'Road to the Show' career mode introduces a new training system, but nothing tells you what the colored bars mean. Do my stats increase when the blue bar is full? Or when the blue bar is empty?

The game is still playable, but the bugs sharply detract from what is otherwise a fairly immersive and enjoyable experience.

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