PlayStation has been home to the MLB: The Show video game franchise for many years now and it’s hard to find a better alternative. However with the VR market starting to take off have you ever wondered what it would be like to play virtual reality baseball? Now you can with MLB Home Run Derby VR which is now available on PlayStation VR. Having spent some time with it myself, it does some things well but the price of admission to this ball game may be a little too high.
To play Home Run Derby VR you’ll need a single PlayStation Move controller. With it the controls are extremely simple and intuitive enough so that you could hand the Move controller to anyone and they could have a good swing at this game. I’m just going to say it now to get it out of the way but one of my major problems with this game is just how much it lacks content. I’ll touch on what all this means through this review but to start there is only one mode to play in it. You step up to the plate, Move controller in hand, and look at the pitcher who then tries his best to strike you out while you try your best to knock the ball out of the park. The game feels great to play and I had no tracking issues at all while playing the game. How fast you swing the bat is also important but just be careful not to let go of your Move controller by accident. You can also choose for the ball to be pitched to you either slower or faster with the normal and pro pitching options.
The whole purpose of this one mode is to hit as many of the balls as you can within the short 90 second time frame. You can also rack up points by hitting targets scattered around the ballpark. Each one you hit will serve to multiply your score and give you a better ranking on the online leaderboards. For a game that doesn’t have much content the online leaderboards were a welcome addition so that I could see how I stacked up to the rest of the baseball community. That said the game still starts to grow old very quickly. I played it for about an hour before I kind of grew tired of it and I feel like this will pretty much be the case for anyone. You just play the same mode over and over for 90 seconds at a time trying to set better scores.
Along with only having one mode the game also only has three different MLB stadiums to choose from. These are Marlins Park in Miami, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and Progressive Field in Cleveland. While it’s cool to step into these real life ballparks the visuals here aren’t great. Everything from the fields, crowd, pitcher, and even the bat itself all look a little pixelated and blurry even on a PS4 Pro. There is no music in the game but you do get a little bit of environmental sound from the crowd as you swing at every ball. There is a commentator present as well but he doesn’t offer much of anything interesting to say.
One of the other few reasons you may have to continue playing the game is the trophies but there appear to be problems here as well. The game has 21 trophies including a Platinum if you can earn all of the rest of them. These range from hitting so many home runs in each field to hitting so many in a row. You also have others for earning so many points, hitting a certain amount of targets and hitting a home run a certain amount of feet. However in my time playing a few of the trophies seem to either be glitched or not obtainable. One trophy is for hitting the ball at a very fast speed but try as I might I never could and it doesn’t appear anyone else has either. Then there are a few trophies for hitting a certain score that I couldn’t get to unlock either. Hopefully these will be fixed in a future update but at this point who knows.
So as it stands MLB Home Run Derby VR is a tough recommendation to make currently. The price of admission is $20 is that’s asking a lot for a game that only has one mode and three stadiums to play in. The fact that the visuals of those three stadiums isn’t great doesn’t help its case either. The gameplay is great and you actually have to put effort into swinging the bat in order to get those higher scores. If you’re a baseball fan and you catch this one at a more affordable price at some point it’s worth checking out.
*MLB Home Run Derby is available on PlayStation VR. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher.