With MLB Opening Day having come and gone, a new season of baseball dawns upon us. For those in the sports video game world, it also means that there is a brand new MLB: The Show video game. The game was released officially on March 28 and four days earlier for those who bought the Game Pass Early Access Bundle on Xbox or the Captain’s Edition for Xbox, Playstation and the Nintendo Switch.
As someone who bought the Early Access Bundle and plays all sports games religiously, I will be reviewing the game based on the accuracy of the in-game action as well as the game modes that might appeal to baseball fans.
The newest mode added to the game is based on the Negro Leagues, independent baseball leagues comprised of Black players during the time of the color barrier in baseball. You select one of eight players to choose from and play certain moments from their illustrious careers.
In between the moments you play, Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, tells the story of the eight players whose missions you can complete: Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, Rube Foster, Hilton Smith, Hank Thompson, John Donaldson and Martin Dihigo.
Completing these missions unlock cosmetics and player cards that can be used in the online mode Diamond Dynasty. By playing against other players online, as well as completing offline programs and single player modes, you earn better player cards that you can use to build the best possible team. This year, the game added the stars from the 2023 World Baseball Classic and the respective countries’ uniforms.
For those wishing to take control of an MLB team and control all aspects of its day-to-day activities, Franchise mode has been revamped. MLB: The Show 23 adds the draft lottery implemented in 2022, as well as a revamped scouting system.
However, if you want a simplified version of Franchise mode, March to October is the mode for you. You can pick from any of the 30 MLB teams and either look to rebuild in the long-term, or win the pennant right away. It features the same aspects as Franchise but watered down.
The last game mode is Road to the Show, the career mode of the game. You can create any type of player you want, and take them from AA baseball all the way to the major leagues. For example, I created a closing pitcher that had the throwing motion of Ron Guidry and is a master of strikeouts.
The realism aspect has been updated for the newest release of The Show. This year, a revamped throwing accuracy meter when throwing to first base has been added. There are three zones: green, yellow and red. Green is an accurate throw, while red is a wild throw. Yellow means that your fielder will throw the ball in the dirt for your first baseman to pick on the hop.
The fielding ability of your players will matter when throwing to first, with higher-rated fielding first basemen being able to cleanly make a pick off the hop, while the lower-rated will not field it cleanly.
Batting-wise, the sound of the bat has been made more realistic. While at first I didn’t like the new bat sounds, San Diego Studios has listened to the fans and made the bats sound realistic, especially when you hit the ball perfectly. The sound is satisfying, to say the least.
In my honest opinion, MLB: The Show is a perfectly good game for baseball fans like me. While there may be some shortcomings in the experience, if you want a realistic baseball game that has depth and replayability, The Show is the game for you. The game is fun, and I can’t stop playing it no matter where I go or what time it is.
The base game costs roughly $50 on older consoles, while for newer consoles it’s closer to $70. The deluxe edition costs $90, but for every deluxe edition purchased, the MLB will donate $1 to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. The cover athlete is Miami Marlins’ star outfielder, Jazz Chisholm Jr.