MLB 12: The Show is the latest instalment in the hugely popular PS3 and PSP franchise. This time the PSP has been dropped in favour of the Vita, bringing a much more robust experience for those who like their baseball on the go.
All of the game modes have made it to the Vita, save Diamond Dynasty (sorry, trading card lovers). Season, Franchise, and Road to the Show can all be saved to the cloud and picked up again any time, whether you're at home or away.
Hardcore fans are likely to appreciate the attention to detail and customisation options in these modes, from team rosters to the colours of the players' hats. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to let the Vita do the hard work - you can even let the game play through whole seasons for you.
Steal second base
The gameplay offers a broad range of difficulty settings and play methods to cater for all. Thanks to an incredibly sensitive left stick input, placing a pitch is easiest using the touchscreen, with a simple button-press to send the ball flying.
Using the new Pulse pitching mechanic, you can improve the accuracy of your pitches, as long as you have good timing.
When you're hitting, the simplest controls require only a well-timed button-press. Analogue hitting uses the right stick to allow more direct control over the hitter. Zone Plus Analog, a new mechanic to the series, takes this one step further by bringing the twitchy left stick into play to place the bat more precisely.
Perfecting your chosen method will take time, but the fist-pumping joy that comes with a home run makes it all worthwhile.
From detailed player and ballpark models to complex ball physics and crowd reactions, this is an incredibly realistic-looking baseball sim.
The music is rather good, too, but with only ten tracks it quickly becomes repetitive. As with the hit-or-miss commentary, a simple solution is to switch it off and just enjoy the atmospheric sounds of the game. The satisfying crack of bat on ball and the cheers of the crowd add authenticity to the experience.
Connecting to play online is simple, and finding a randomly matched player is quick enough. At times the gameplay isn't as smooth as offline, but the flaky connectivity is a bigger issue. From time to time the game simply stops due to a dropped connection.
This is embarrassing if you're well behind and so end up looking like a sore loser, but it's downright annoying if you're actually winning.MLB 12: The Show is a great baseball game and a faithful reproduction of the home console version. For the serious baseball fan, it's hard to knock. The level of detail and accuracy is astounding, making for a superb handheld baseball experience.