Video game review — MLB 2K13 vs. MLB 13 The Show

Video game showdown: MLB 13 The Show vs. MLB 2K13Opening day has come and gone, yet many debates still linger: Who is the best pitcher? Who will have an MVP-type of season? What two teams will represent in the World Series? Who will be the next Mike Trout and Bryce Harper?

How about we dip our toes in the gamer pool instead?

The NFL has Madden and the NBA has the 2K series, but what about MLB? It’s a little murkier than that. There have been a number of baseball video games to represent Major League Baseball. Who could forget the boxy players in Earl Weaver’s Baseball or the brutal beanball beat downs that would leave pitchers twitching on the hill in MLB Showdown. Remember the Triple Play series? Yeah, it’s forgettable. Only two games have broken through the interest barrier to compete for top game: MLB The Show and the MLB 2K series. So let’s put some the debate to rest, well, for this year.

Right off the bat, pun intended, MLB 2K13 has a slight advantage. It’s available on all platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, PC and even the Wii. MLB 13 The Show in only available on PS3 and PS Vita. This ticks off many gamers who own Xbox.


Both games are definitely ahead of the curve. Controls are easy and the overall play flows exceptionally well. MLB 2K13 made sure to integrate the “skill stick” a while back, which makes for a more challenging experience. In MLB 2K13, there are times when the ball does some crazy movements that even R.A. Dickey couldn’t pull off, so that is a tad disheartening.

MLB 13 The Show’s difficulty levels are the same. MLB 2K13’s difficulty levels are a little more accurate and user friendly. Plus, the load times in The Show are aggravating.

Winner: MLB 2K13. This is a hard one. Both have advantages for the casual and hardcore gamers, but in the end, MLB 2K13 has an easy to use, fun and competitive format you can play for hours.


Who is the more appealing cover athlete this year?

MLB 2K13 has David Price and MLB 13 The Show has Andrew McCutchen. The Canadian version of MLB 13 The Show has Jose Bautista and the Taiwan release has Wei-Yin Chen of the Baltimore Orioles. Let’s stick with the United States release.

This is more of an AL versus NL showdown. Looking back at 2012, Price had a phenomenal year. He led the league in ERA, tied in wins and took home the Cy Young. McCutchen, like usual, led his hapless Pirates in most categories and was electric all season. Price’s overall rating in MLB 2K13 and MLB 13 The Show is 98/97 to McCutchen’s 97/99, so still, this category is a close one. The Pirates don’t win in anything; they deserve a little love, too.

Winner: MLB 13 The Show. McCutchen is going to pick up where he left off last season, and again, carry the Pirates. Plus, did you see the commercials for MLB 13 The Show? Hilarious. McCutchen’s acting is horrible, actually.


MLB 2K13 didn’t change a single thing since last year. They’ve stuck to what works. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for people who have grown bored with last year’s version, there isn’t much to look forward to other than roster updates.

Back again in MLB 2K13 is the popular $1 million Perfect Game Challenge. There are different rules this year, but it doesn’t take away from the game. Same opportunity applies: Pitch a perfect game in the mode, and you’re in the running.

Winner: Tie. Would we like to see more from year to year like with the Madden series? Yes. But both games have stuck with what works and it still plays well this year.

Online play

MLB 2K13 has always taken the gold here, but one unnecessary change was with the online franchise feature. No more will we see online leagues. For those who enjoyed the head-to-head battle of the online world in a league setting, similar to the actual MLB, it is now gone. Some speculate the developers only had four months to make the game due to the contract expiration date. Needless to say, this hurts MLB 2K13.

MLB 13 The Show has made huge improvements to the overall look of its online format. The leagues are better and the settings give you more options than ever before.

Winner: MLB 13 The Show. It’s unfortunate that MLB 2K13 didn’t put more time into this. This was the one category that they’ve always led in. MLB 13 The Show has just surpassed them.


Eh, you be the judge.

MLB 13 The Show:

  1. ZZ Top – “I Gotsa Get Paid”
  2. A Good Fight – “Rips Like a Motor”
  3. Youngblood Hawke – “Rootless”
  4. Anberlin – “Someone Anyone”
  5. Big Boi ft. Kelly Rowland – “Mama Told Me”
  6. The Royal Concept – “World On Fire”
  7. Blink 182 – “Heart’s All Gone”
  8. The Rolling Stones – “Doom and Gloom”
  9. Bombay Bicycle Club – “Shuffle”
  10. Dispatch – “Not Missing”
  11. The Mowglis – “Slowly, Slowly”
  12. Fenix TX – “Spooky Action At a Distance”
  13. Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”
  14. Soundgarden – “Non-State Actor”

MLB 2K13:

  1. Blue Oyster Cult – “Take Me Away”
  2. Peter Bjorn and John – “Young Folks”
  3. Peter Bjorn and John – “(Don’t Let Them) Cool Off”
  4. Passion Pit – “Take a Walk”
  5. Passion Pit – “Little Secrets”
  6. Infusion – “Natural”
  7. Manic Street Preachers – “Peeled Apples”
  8. Kasabian – “Club Foot”
  9. 2AM Club – “Faster Babe”
  10. Sean Kingston – “Fire Burning”
  11. Funeral Party – “City in Silhouettes”
  12. The Vaccines – “No Hope”

Winner: Tie.

MLB 13 The Show vs. MLB 2K13 graphics comparison
The Show’s graphics are more realistic than 2K13.


MLB 13 The Show really wows when the game starts. This looks about as photo-realistic as any game I’ve ever played. The texture detail is so spot-on that it looks real.

MLB 2K13 is so-so. The texture detail on the jerseys is decent and the stadiums are up to par, but it falls short when scanning the crowd and players. It just seems like things are missing. Players like Joe Mauer, Albert Pujols and Justin Verlander look okay, where as Prince Fielder and Jimmy Rollins couldn’t look any more different than the actual person. It’s almost insulting. Player faces on MLB 2K13 come off as a lazy attempt at realism. For lesser known players, most have an expression like they’re about to relieve themselves in the bathroom and their physics are pointy and slightly contorted.

Winner: MLB 13 The Show. No question here.

Commentary and presentation

MLB 2K13 brings back the trio of Steve Phillips, John Kruk and Gary Thorne to deliver the commentary. The Show features Eric Karros, Steve Lyons and Matt Vasgersian.

All bring a sort of realism, which makes it seem like you’re watching a real game. The in-depth analyses are accurate, and the facts and stats of the 2012 season go for miles. However, MLB 13 The Show’s trio of the are sharper and more finely tuned than MLB 2K13.

The designs of the CG stats and banners for both games are well displayed. Each has its own unique twist. Both make sure to include holiday themes as well as record-breaking numbers into account, which makes this enjoyable detail all the more appealing.

In the audio department, MLB 13 The Show stays right on track. The crack of the bat, the ball hitting the glove, the crowd’s excitement and dismay over the field’s play, as well as batter intro music, are details that don’t go unnoticed. Don’t get me wrong, MLB 2K13 isn’t bad, it’s just that it’s dated and comes off as generic.

Winner: MLB 13 The Show. Designers made sure to go the extra mile with this game and it shows.

Franchise/career modes

A lot of critics are back and forth on this. Some do not like how detailed both series are. Some just want to play ball. I always thought having more is a good thing; the more options the better.

MLB 13 The Show’s “Road to the Show” remains addictive as does MLB 2K13’s “My Player” mode. Each are hours of fun, which you can pick up and leave off at any time.

Winner: Tie. Both are similar. You get the option to control the minor leagues as well as all financial aspects of your chosen team. Editing players is easy, and the MLB Draft is an enjoyable addition to look forward to during the season.

The winner for best video game is … MLB 13 The Show. While both games play very well, MLB 13 The Show’s dominance in visual and presentation excels. It hits a near-perfect balance between simulation-style realism and the pure arcade fun of smashing the ball with the bat. So, if you have a PS3 and are deciding on what game to buy or rent to get into the baseball mood, The Show is the obvious choice. Sony’s hard work creating the ultimate MLB experience is much appreciated.

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