MLB The Show 22 Review
Since 2006, MLB The Show has been a driving force in bringing new generations of baseball fans into the world of gaming. Like many other sports gaming franchises, San Diego Studio regularly works on minor tweaks to The Show’s game modes to deliver a more polished product, but last year’s installment changed the MLB The Show 21, the face of the game. Although developers are restricted to a year to prepare each game, they are able to tweak or add new features more often than not hitting positive notes with its player base. The release of MLB The Show 22 is a prime example of a game that changes just enough to keep its fans happy, but doesn’t quite recreate the magic of its predecessor. In the months leading up to its release, MLB The Show 22 gave fans the impression that some changes were coming. While somewhat true, some of the game modes have received improvements, and the broadcast commentary team has received an overhaul. This year’s title starts to bleed into what MLB The Show 21 delivered a year before when looking at the cosmetic differences. Despite this, the game is engaging to both newcomers and veteran players and offers a rich experience through many gameplay options. Both offline and online modes offer hours of play in one sitting, while Diamond Dynasty mode remains one of the best sports experiences across all platforms. On the surface, MLB The Show 22 is another baseball game that delivers enjoyable gameplay, intricate details, and beautiful visuals that keep players engaged for a long time. The shortcomings, however, are notable and may turn off some veterans of the franchise. All of the modes from last year’s game are present in MLB The Show 22, but the March To October mode has received some much-needed depth. San Diego Studio created the fleeting experience with a multi-season game mode where players can take over a team and play in key moments while using the offseason to sign free agents and upgrade their club before the New Year. If players want to be more focused on a more detailed environment and a more hands-on approach to managing the ins and outs of a team, Franchise mode is more involved than March Through October. Meanwhile, Road To The Show takes players into the world of MLB with created roster players and challenges them to rise to the occasion and become the latest big legend. Where MLB The Show 22 excels is in the two main playable parts of the game: pitching and batting. Here, players will spend most of their time in almost all game modes, and each side of the coin offers a realistic and enjoyable strategy. Whether a player is pitching a game for the first time or has years of experience, there are many ways of setting up the pitching controls for maximum comfort. Players entering their first game can choose the style of pitch they want to throw, the goal they want the ball to land on, and release. Those looking for more strategic power placement and control will be equally pleased with how deep the controls are. The batting side of the game is as refreshing as the previous installments, and it all comes down to timing. With a new feature that allows players to anchor the location of their swing, MLB The Show 22 puts total control in the player’s hands. Playing on beginner difficulty will give those new to the franchise some freedom to get used to the timing aspect, as pitchers often throw fastballs in the strike zone. Playing with dynamic difficulty changes how hard the game feels based on player performance, allowing players to get used to the pace of the game on the easiest difficulty first and let the game decide if they’re ready to go the next step. The Diamond Dynasty mode is constantly being played by players at launch. The combination of online and offline capabilities allows players to build experience simply by playing and doing well, and XP accrues rewards to players over the course of series packs and other perks. Players can use these items to build their fantasy team to compete online or stay offline and continue to build experience through daily and weekly challenges. Daily key moment challenges are straightforward and lean toward the easier side of difficulty, featuring tasks like striking out a certain amount of batters or hitting a home run to clinch the game . As it goes for most sports titles directly after launch, MLB The Show 22 comes with a plethora of bugs and issues, some of which have been fixed in recent patches while others remain. Some of the more notable are issues like the “magnet glove” problem, where guaranteed home runs are sucked back into play, or systemic glitches that cause players to freeze at the plate after strike out. While it sounds funny at first, it’s surprising how some issues surfaced during the technical testing phase. It will be a long time before the San Diego Studio fixes things in the future, but for now, players are still suffering from growing pains. While the new commentary team is refreshing, with new voices joining the panel for the first time in four years, it comes with its weaknesses. After playing the game for more than 30 minutes, players will discover how limited and superficial the script really is. The “swing and a miss” call is one that players dread hearing, and other feelings can become repetitive after just a few innings. While the delivery of newcomers Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton is on point for the most part, and the excitement is believable, it’s hard to get past the nagging issues regarding the script they had to work on. There’s room for improvement in future patches, but MLB The Show 22 is an enjoyable experience no matter how it’s played or how new a player is to the franchise. There’s nothing quite like hearing the crack of a bat on a perfect swing and watching the ball sail out of the park. For veteran players, small improvements will go a long way in the near future, making this game true to the actual sport and giving players a realistic feeling of being on the field. MLB The Show 22 is available on PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Today Technology was provided with a PS5 code for this review.