Game review: MLB The Show 22 (PS5)
Historically the MLB The Show series has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles, but now the franchise is expanding.
This is because MLB The Show 22 is available now for all modern PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles.
While you still need to pay full price for MLB The Show 22 on PS5, PS4 and Nintendo Switch, some players will be happy to know the game is also available on Game Pass for Xbox gamers. Game Pass is a bargain because the price is way less than a new game.
Anyway, MLB The Show 22 is the newest iteration in the franchise, although it's hard to tell how different this is from last year's MLB The Show 21. It's sad for me to say that this year's game does not offer many new features to separate it from its predecessors.
One thing that disappoints me about MLB The Show 22 is that the graphics have not changed from last year's game. Even though this is the second year the game is available for PS5, MLB The Show 22 still looks like a glorified PS4 game instead.
That's not to say that the graphics are bad, it's just that it doesn't have the photorealism that other PS5 games have showcased recently. The stadiums look nice, but the character models still appear video game-like. Even WWE 2K22 saw graphical improvements when it was released for new hardware earlier this year.
While the graphics have not changed, there are a few new features that have been added to this year's game. One of the major differences that you will hear is that this game has an all-new commentary team.
Matt Vasgerian had been the commentator for the MLB The Show series for many years, but in MLB The Show 22, he has been replaced by Jon ‘Boog' Sciambi and Chris Singleton. It's a breath of fresh air hearing new voices because Vagerian's sound bites had been recycled over and over again. Now you hear all-new material in all the game modes.
Another new mode that has been added this year is online co-op. You can team up with a friend or family member online for 2v2 or 3v3 matches. It's a fun new mode, although it can be annoying when it's not working, thanks to the inconsistency of the online servers.
The last new feature of MLB The Show 22 is its cross-platform capabilities. If you play on PS5 first, you can save your progress and cross over to the Switch and Xbox versions if you own more than one console and copy of the game. Cross-play is also available so that you can play with more people online.
Aside from a few small new features, the core gameplay of MLB The Show 22 is almost identical to that of MLB The Show 21. Pitching, fielding and batting are really the same, although you have options to change the controls to suit your playing style. Since I'm not a baseball expert, I always choose the more casual settings.
However, I did notice that in MLB The Show 22, I managed to hit more home runs than ever before. It seems like if you play on the casual setting, it's much easier to hit the baseball. That being said, it's much harder to hit home runs if you play in more challenging settings like veteran difficulty.
Several of the game's other modes return from previous iterations. The mode that most people will sink their teeth into first is Road to the Show. This is the mode where you take control of a single rookie, and you go through the MLB Season in hopes of winning the World Series.
While you create the rookie, you will control him as a pitcher, fielder and batter. The only thing that this mode is truly missing is voice acting and a storyline. The career modes in other sports games feel more fun and engaging in comparison.
The other mode I spent a lot of time with is the more streamlined March to October feature. Unlike other sports games, what I like most about March to October is that you don't need to play the full nine innings. Instead, this mode allows you to play small segments of each game.
In fact, you may only have to play one or two innings. This can include trying to hit one home run to allow your other teammates to score a run. Other times you may need to pitch in hopes to strike the opposing team out. It's a really fun mode and is arguably the best feature of the game as a whole.
A feature that will appeal to hardcore baseball fans is the returning Franchise mode. Here, you manage a baseball team and try to go through the entire MLB season. It provides a lot of depth for those that want to manage a team, although it's a completely offline experience. There is no online Franchise mode for those that want to compete with others around the world.
The last major feature of MLB The Show 22 is Diamond Dynasty. This is where you collect random cards to form a team of your own. As you progress, you may be able to attain better cards and players. You can alternatively pay real money to unlock things faster if you want to speed up the process. Due to the pay-to-win nature of this mode, I didn't spend too much time on Diamond Dynasty.
Some side content in this game includes the usual Moments mode and very enjoyable Home Run Derby. Not much has really changed about these two modes, although it's fun to play through if you want to do something different. Moments is still pretty hard as some segments are in Veteran difficulty.
Overall, MLB The Show 22 is a fine baseball sim if you don't mind getting a roster update. That being said, the visuals and gameplay are almost the same as MLB The Show 21. Hopefully, more visible improvements will be made in next year's game instead.
A game code was provided to use for review purposes.