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Game review: MLB The Show 23 (PS5)

It’s hard to review sports games every year and find new ways to talk about them. The only reason it’s hard to say anything new is that many of the sports games play and look the same. Although MLB The Show 23 shares lots of similarities with MLB The Show 22, the former does have one new game mode that I actually enjoyed.

The biggest and newest mode to MLB The Show 23 this year is the addition of ‘The Negro Leagues’. Since racial segregation was still a thing in the early 20th century, several African American men were unable to play baseball with and alongside white people.

Due to whites and blacks being separated, the African American community founded the ‘Negro Leagues’ to allow young black men and women to play baseball professionally across the USA. The Negro Leagues was pretty popular back in the day as they played in front of many happy fans wanting to see baseball from undiscovered talent.

The Negro Leagues in MLB The Show 23 is similar to the Showcase modes featured in WWE 2K video games. In this mode, you get to play through the careers of many famous African American baseball players learning more about their history and careers.

Some of the legends you get to play include Satchel Page, Jackie Robinson and several other legends of the sport. Many of the objectives that you have to complete include striking out players, hitting a run and more. You need to complete eight objectives in total to finish each legend’s episode.

Another cool thing about the Negro Leagues is that it includes narration from Bob Kendrick, the current president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Aside from his narration, you also get to see some old archival footage and entertaining illustrations that highlight the careers of black baseball legends.

The Negro Leagues is the only major new thing that has been added to MLB The Show 23 thus far. Sadly, everything else about the game is nearly identical to that of MLB The Show 22. All of the same game modes and familiar gameplay mechanics are still here if you’ve already played last year’s game.

Graphically, MLB The Show 23 looks nice playing on a PS5, although it does not appear as if any visual improvements have been made. Even though the game looks colourful, it still doesn’t have the photorealism appearance that the NBA 2K games currently have. The character models just aren’t as realistic as other PS5 games I have played since 2020.

The overall visual and audio presentation is pretty much the same as last year too. The developer did not even bother changing the HUD or main menu to freshen things up. Not to mention the commentary team is the same like it has been for several years now.

Several game modes return in MLB The Show 23, including Road to the Show, March to October, Moments, Diamond Dynasty and the ever-popular Home Run Derby. Road to the Show is where you take a rookie and hope to give them a prosperous career in the MLB. This mode can get repetitive at times if you are a pitcher, as you’re pretty much just throwing balls on the mound all of the time.

March to October is when you play a regular MLB season, although thankfully, you don’t have to play over 100 games with nine full innings! Since baseball is a time-consuming sport in real life, this mode allows you to play only certain games and short innings. Sometimes you’ll be pitching, other times you might be batting only. It’s a fun mode if you want to take your favourite team to the top of the rankings.

Moments is similar to The Negro Leagues as you have to recreate famous moments in MLB history. However, you can get to play as other famous players in history that aren’t from the aforementioned Negro Leagues. Some of the goals can be hard because you may have to get a certain number of home runs. It’s a nice little mode if you want to do something short-term.

Lastly, there is Diamond Dynasty, which is an online mode where you collect cards that include several MLB stars from the past and present. The only thing I hate about this mode is the random nature there is in regard to collecting cards and players. Much like similar modes in other sports games, you may never get a chance to collect/play as your favourite player!

That being said, Diamond Dynasty has slightly changed this year, as there’s more of a chance to gain 99 overall players at certain times of the year. Not to mention you are able to play games with the AI in this mode if you don’t feel like playing against real players.

Apart from the enjoyable the Negro Leagues, most of what is offered in MLB The Show 23 is the same content we got from MLB The Show 22 last year. The graphics haven’t changed that much, and the gameplay is very familiar too. This is only worth getting if you want to keep up with the latest updates and rosters.

Verdict: 7.5/10

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