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Game review: MLB The Show 21 (PS4 and PS5)

By Damian Seeto
Fri 23 Apr 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

For the past few years now, the MLB The Show franchise has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles only. This is due to the fact that the developer behind the series is owned by PlayStation Studios. Well MLB The Show 21 is different because the game is now available for Xbox consoles for the very first time. 

To be more specific, MLB The Show 21 is available for the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles. We reviewed the game on PS4 and PS5 and there are slight differences between the different versions of the game. 

MLB The Show 21 is a visual showcase if you play the game on PS5. The game runs in full 4K and at 60 fps. However, I will admit the graphics of the game aren’t a huge upgrade like how NBA 2K21 looks vastly superior on PS5 than it did on PS4. 

I still played MLB The Show 21 on my PS4 Pro and the graphics still hold up well by today’s standards. Don’t feel too bad about the previous generation version, because I know there are many gamers out there that still cannot purchase a PS5 and/or Xbox Series X/S console. 

The only thing last generation console owners will be missing is the new Stadium Creator mode, which is exclusive to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. As the name suggests, in this mode you can create your own baseball stadium from the many props and items that are available to you to use. 

The Stadium Creator mode is pretty cool because you can choose the number of fans in the venue, and also the surrounding environments. Some of the environments you can choose include many trees, a sunny beach or a downtown metropolis to name a few. You can even add some cool animal statues like a tiger and more too!

It may take you some time to understand the ins and outs of the Stadium Creator mode, but there are Easy and Pro options for you to choose from. Pro mode gives you more options, but Easy mode makes it useful to use for beginner designers. 

Outside of Stadium Creator, the rest of the game modes are identical. The main game still has Road to the Show (RTTS), Diamond Dynasty, March to October and Franchise modes. RTTS is the most fun out of all of these as you take a rookie can make them play through their entire baseball career. 

RTTS doesn’t have a lot of voice acting or a story like the NBA 2K games, but it’s still fun to experience. Some people may find this mode to be a little repetitive, although hardcore fans of the sport can relive their dreams by playing through it vicariously. 

Diamond Dynasty is like the MyTeam modes in NBA 2K where you collect cards to build the ultimate baseball team. This mode is fun, although it can take a long time if you want to get the players you want. The other two modes like March to October and Franchise allow you to experience an entire season of baseball. 

Other than the main game modes, there are also ‘Moments’ and the ever fun ‘Home Run Derby’. In Moments, it plays like a mini-game as you have to complete small tasks to succeed in the missions you have to undertake. Some of the things you have to do in Moments include hitting a home run in one pitch, or even strike out batters if you’re pitching. 

There are tons of famous moments that you have to cover and it includes the many different eras of baseball history. A lot of older fans will love to replay their favourite moments from players like Babe Ruth and more just to name a few. 

Home Run Derby has always been my favourite mode in the MLB The Show games, and MLB The Show 21 includes it with minimal changes. You can play as anyone you want with the goal of hitting the most home runs in a short amount of time. If you’re new to the sport of baseball, it’s fun to start here to practice your batting skills. 

In terms of core gameplay, MLB The Show 21 does not change too much when it comes to overall batting and pitching. The only major feature you can watch out for in this new game is the freshly added ‘Pinpoint Pitching’. This gives you a newer way to pitch the ball to your opponents. 

It’s a little tricky to use Pinpoint Pitching because there are several meters for you to look out for. Not to mention you will also have to aim your throws using the right stick too! It’s hard to master, but it is rewarding once you know what to do with it. If this sounds too difficult for you, you can always choose the more beginner-friendly ways to pitch the ball instead. 

I didn’t notice too many differences when it comes to batting though. You still have three types of swings that you can do. You can choose to do a Normal Swing, Contact Swing and a Power Swing. The latter is recommended if you want to blast home runs. 

As for online play, you can choose to do a normal game or the Home Run Derby. The online mode of Home Run Derby is fun as you play simultaneously instead of needing to wait your turn. Normal games are also enjoyable, although I did notice small lag when you are pitching or batting. It’s not a game-breaking issue, but it can mess with your timing when the game lags. 

Anyway, if you love the sport of baseball you will find MLB The Show 21 to be very enjoyable. It’s also worth mentioning this is the first time the series will be available on Xbox consoles too. Even if you are unfamiliar with baseball, this is still fun to play as it’s accessible for beginners too. 

Verdict: 8.5/10

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