MLB 14 The Show Is Broken

There are only a handful of games that I play all year long. MLB The Show from Sony San Diego is one of them. It's always missing out on the spectacle of E3, because the latest release has already hit the streets. If you want info about arguably the greatest sports game franchise ever created, you'll usually get it in January as we get closer to spring training. MLB 14 The Show is actually the first baseball game to have no competition on game consoles. With MLB2K finally being put out of its misery, PlayStation owners had the only game in town, literally.

Normally this would not be an issue. MLB The Show is actually worth the price of a PlayStation 3 console for just this one game IMO. In fact, it was the only game I've repeatedly played on the aging console since 2012.  The game is not without the occassional bugs. Online play included a 3rd strike pitch in the dirt that would freeze the catcher allowing the batter to score an inside the park home run while the ball sat a few inches from home plate. Thankfully, that bug is gone this year but what's worse is that the game people consider the best simulation of a sport, has some serious visual glitches and high weirdness that makes the game mostly unplayable online against other human opponents.

This is not a problem for the millions of gamers who buy MLB The Show for the single player and franchise modes. The problem is a result of the developers rebuilding the online codebase from scratch. After a disasterous release in May, the developers issued this statement regarding the horribly sync issues occurring in online games.

This year, we strove to revamp our online gameplay from the ground up. The goal was to provide 100% parity with the feel and input response of our offline gameplay. We have accomplished much of this: input and timing for Batting, Pitching, and Fielding online all feel the same as offline with virtually zero latency. As a result of this overhaul and our emphasis on a minimal latency experience, a number of visual anomalies and issues of synchronization have manifested that we are actively identifying and working to resolve.

It is a process, one with growing pains, but we are confident the significant changes we’ve made this year will help to lay the foundation for a vastly improved online experience, both in terms of fixes we will deliver in the near future and also for subsequent entries in the series. We can also assure you that our highly anticipated PlayStation 4 debut will benefit from many of our immediate learnings and fixes from day one."

Some of the visual anomalies are just jarring, like when a ball disappears in mid air instead of being caught by the player standing a few feet away. Or when a ground ball that seemingly makes it into the hole is magically caught by a time warping 2nd baseman. Other anomalys affect strategy as you see a ball sail past the catcher, which causes you to advance the runner from third to score. But the ball didn't get by the catcher on your opponents screen, so you are called out at the plate. This happens all the time in various ways throughout the game.

The worst problem the game faces is freezing. Yep, frozen players, frozen games, frozen PlayStation. Most times you'll need to power off the PlayStation and start all over, taking a loss and a disconnect mark on your profile.

The development team released a patch, but it didn't fix the glaring issues of freezing, warping, and visual anomalies. Here it is over 2 months after release, and the problems still exist making online gameplay a crap shoot. Spend a half hour playing a glitch filled game, only to have it freeze up and force you to start over.

You can't return a video game for a full refund if the mode you play is broken. The majority of customers play offline modes, so they aren't really complaining that much. It's like having a copy/printer/fax machine that works incredible when directly connected to your computer, but leaves smears, smudges, and streaks on documents when connected via wifi. 

I'm pretty sure I'll be skipping launch day releases in the future, the only way publishers will stop releasing broken games is if people don't buy them. Sony put out a press release about record breaking sales, while the people that bought the game for online play were left rebooting their PlayStations and wasting time


An Open Letter To The People Who Run Xbox One's Upload Studio


On the night of the 24th I recorded a video of me racing my friend in Forza 5 on XBL using the Xbox One's Game DVR feature. It was a good race, so I decided to upload a clip and throw in a funny voice over. I recorded myself taunting my friend in a goofy Sacha Baron Cohen voice from "Talladega Nights" because my friend's name is Bobby. Get it? Ricky... Bobby? Anyway, in the video during the race I referred to his car as a piece of S and also told him to suck my Bs as I passed him. I uploaded the video, which he found hilarious. A few hours later when I went back to use Upload Studio (which is an incredible feature btw) I was greeted with a message saying I was banned due to "past profanity" and I should "go play something else."
Baffled that such a minor offense would cause this reaction I contacted XBL Live Chat, which was very helpful. I was told my ban would last 48-72 hours and I said okay. No problem. Lesson learned. Well I'm here, past the 72 hour mark and I'm still banned. No word on when it will lift. Nothing. Now I'm unable to fully enjoy the console that I just paid over $500 for.
I was also told I received an email explaining things. I never did. 2 separate reps checked on this email. I never got it. And no, it isn't in my spam folder.
Now, I have a few points to make concerning this issue. I understand that there's a terms of service and that it states all of the regulations for using any service or product. What must be understood on the part of those who run Upload Studio is that no one has ever read the terms of service on any product ever released, ever. Xbox Live has been incredibly profane for 10 years. You can't play a match of Call of Duty without having your race, sexuality, intelligence, everything sacred put under fire. So obviously I was a little surprised that me dropping a few S words in a French accent would cause ME to lose access to one of my favorite new features with no warning, and no hint of when I'd be able to use the service again.
Ironically, right after getting off of the chat with the Xbox Service rep, I logged into Killer Instinct, won a match, and for doing so had my opponent yell the F word, P word and C word at me through my Kinect for everyone in the room to hear.
The point I'm making is you're not cleaning up Xbox Live by monitoring Upload Studio. I understand the intent, and Microsoft's desire to keep things family friendly. I commend them for that. But let's be honest, someone who is playing Grand Theft Auto 5 or cutting arms off in Ryse isn't going to be affected by me saying the S word in a random parody video They've already heard and seen far worse.
Which also brings up another point. If I upload a clip from a profane video game where the characters in the game are cursing, will that get me suspended too? Is me saying the F word in a clip different from the guys in the car at the start of Battlefield 4 saying it? Are they selective F words? What If I repeat their filthy dialogue word for word and say it along with them? Someone explain this to me.
So in closing I would like to make a few suggestions...
1. Instead of just banning unsuspecting gamers, how about a warning first? If I had turned on Upload Studio and it had said "You broke the rules of conduct. Do not use profane language again or you will be suspended for a week" I would have followed that rule. I think most would have.
2. Make it clear when the ban will be lifted. I LOVE Upload Studio and no one seems to know exactly when it will be active for me again. Cleary it's not "48-72 hours".
3. And finally, how about giving us the option to ONLY upload to Skydrive? Right now you can't upload a video without it going out for everyone to see on XBL. If I could have only uploaded to my personal Skydrive, I could have sent the video directly to my friend or Youtube, and this entire issue would have been avoided.
Again, I commend MS for trying to clean things up a bit. I've been a loyal XBL user for 9 years. I just wanted to throw out my experience and offer a few suggestions.
Anyway, back to Dead Rising 3.



Star Trek Online 4th Anniversary Event and Season 8.5

January 30 2014 was Star Trek Online's 4th year anniversary, and besides the fun and prizes normally included in an anniversary there will also be a release of an episode of Season 8.5 called “A Step between Stars” with actor Tim Russ starring as Admiral Tuvok. Season 8.5 will be introducing a Brand-new Ship Management System, new episodes, a new PVP arena, and so much more. There will be three rewards you can receive by playing episode “A step between Stars” three times or you can receive a single one for playing through once. On the first playthrough you will be rewarded with 400 Qmendations. The Qmendations can be used for the Anniversary event reputation project.


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