Is MLB The Show on Vita Held Back by Cross Play?


Cross play is a great concept. In the case of MLB: The Show, players can take their PlayStation 3 Show save file, and continue their franchise/season/playoff/etc. on the Vita. Also, vice versa.

On the PS3, the franchise is winding down this generation. While hardly hitting a rut (this remains a premiere simulation), how much more can be done with a yearly edition within a seven year hardware cycle? On the Vita, things are different. MLB: The Show 13 marks only the second iteration for San Diego Studios baseball sim on the platform. In its debut, the game lacked any sense of presentation, dying out even after a home run. Players would not even be shown running the bases. How quaint.

This year, they run the bases in an edited cinematic, chopped down for time. Players occasionally hang out on base, and there are small flourishes for fielders and such. That remains it however. Color commentary is almost removed entirely, animations are slim, and other concessions are notable when dropping down.

Yes, this could merely be the hardware itself laying on limitations. Maybe space concerns restrict the amount of potential. Both are valid lines of thought. But what about Cross Play?

The kicker with Cross Play is that all of the features need to be there for it to work. MLB 13 carries a ridiculous number of control schemes dating back to the PlayStation 2. Franchise mode needed revamped, Road to the Show retooled, a new playoff mode inserted, plus the refresh of stadium visuals, jerseys, and more. That seems like a lot of work for a game being released on hardware with such a limited user base, and with only two years of development. No doubt without Cross Play, some of those could have been cut, limited, or changed to better suit the handheld. That would leave more time for the little things The Show does so well.

This has no basis in any reality by the way. Consider it thinking out loud and something to ponder. Is Cross Play worth it if the experience is so dulled on the Vita? Would you want critical games decided on the Vita, knowing you could be missing certain elements? Is The Show a better game for it?

Maybe we will find out next year.