MLB: The Show is a Major League Baseball video game series that has been developed by Sony San Diego and since its initial release in 2006, MLB: The Show has been exclusively produced for the PlayStation consoles and published by the gaming giants themselves. Since 2014, MLB: The Show has been the sole official MLB baseball game available on the market. Fast forward to 2021 and MLB: The Show finally makes its way to the Xbox ecosystem including day one availability as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate while still being developed by the talented Sony San Diego studio.
MLB: The Show is a sports simulation game and therefore reflects a typical game of baseball which has the player controls every aspect of their team among the roster of the 30 licensed MLB teams and across a variety of game modes.
As soon as the player fires up the game, they are thrown into learning how to play. MLB: The Show offers a number of options for every aspect of the game, from how to bat and pitch, automatic and manual fielding, base running and more. From the tutorial the player has free choice of where to spend their time next.
Road to the Show: This is the FIFA “Be a Pro” equivalent. In this mode the player creates a character, assigns their attributes and throws them into the start of their baseball career in the Minor League Series. It sees the player play season after season in the hopes of making it to the major leagues. Each season is up to 90 games in length and the player may or may not take part in these depending on their selection in the team. Each game can run over30 minutes in length, but the option is there to simulate from part games to full seasons to make it to the major leagues quicker. A word of warning though is that each character receives a better boost to its skill set when the player actually controls the participation in the games. To get the most out of this game mode the player will want to participate in all games or strategically pick those that will provide the best opportunity to increase those skills, making a possible transition to the Major League faster and easier. Through Road to the Show, the player will often be presented with chances to change their fielding position, improve personal stats and even renegotiate current deals allowing the player to evolve their character based on what they enjoy or prefer. To add to the immersion of the mode are cut scenes that see MLB commentators reading pre-recorded talks about your player’s current performance and the team’s position in the League. These are fun in the beginning, however largely skippable in the overall aspect of the game if you’re just wanting to play ball.
Diamond Dynasty is the mode that a lot of players of MLB: The Show come for every year and can be compared to FIFA Ultimate Team. In this mode you create your own team from current players to past legends of the game. This mode relies heavy of the collection of player cards through achieving certain in-game goals including getting a player on base or scoring a home run within the first three innings. These cards are designed for players to drop real world money on in-game packs and currency in order to field a roster of the greatest players in MLB history.
March to October: The player partakes in the MLB Season across approximately 162 games, not including Post Season. March to October is akin to an arcade mode for MLB: The Show where players can choose their favourite team from the 30 MLB teams and take on the 2021 season. This mode allows players to jump into a key game or two each week and play from a key point in the and achieving a certain goal from something as simple as getting your runner on base to more complex like helping your team come from behind to win. This mode was my favourite as it gives the player a challenge and if the challenge is complete, the players teams momentum is boosted towards better results during the simulated games.
Multiplayer has an assortment of online modes that take the player and faces them off against a random player online. During my time with the game, I had trouble connecting with or staying connected to online matches. I was successful in playing a friendly match against a member of the One More Game team and while there are a few bugs and lag, the ground work is there for some fun with mates. Online mode also brings cross platform multiplayer available increasing the chance of finding a game as the player base is across Xbox and PlayStation.