MLB The Show 22 Review – Fair or Foul?

MLB The Show 22 on PS5

Baseball is back. MLB The Show is 22 here and as with every year, it promises to be the biggest one yet. With two or three-player online co-op, a new commentary team, improvements to franchise mode, and more, it is certainly impressive on paper. But every baseball fan knows that a good team on paper still needs to prove its worth on the field.

Right off the bat, MLB The Show 22 passes the eye test. The 4K resolution, 60 fps framerate, and HDR all make the game look incredible. This is nothing new for the franchise on the current-gen consoles, but it is still an impressive showing considering how few games are able to boast the same.

On top of the fantastic graphics and smooth framerate, the overall presentation keeps getting better every year. Smash a mammoth homer or gun out of a runner first across the diamond and there’ll be a replay with the same Google Cloud Statcast breakdown launch angle or throwing speed you’ll see during a real MLB broadcast.

And what brings the whole in-game presentation together with the brand new commentary team. Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton are replacing the old trio of Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Dan Plesac. Sciambi and Singleton have been calling MLB games together for over 10 years and parts of their real commentary have been captured and brought into MLB The Show 22.

For the people who have been playing MLB The Show for years, this is a welcome change. The old commentary team was good, but hearing some of the same lines from five or more years ago made the play-by-play feel stale. Like any sports game, you’ll still hear certain lines repeated. But the longer you play, the more you’ll hear about a wide array of different lines about specific players or even the signature food of the ballpark you’re playing in.

The only part of MLB The Show 22’s overall presentation that is lacking is the general player animations. There are many celebration animations or swings that you’ll see across multiple different players. The exception here and every year is the staggering number of incredibly accurate batting stances and pitching wind-ups.

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Along with these batting stances that improve realism, a few tweaks have been added to batting and fielding to increase immersion. First off, the Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI) – basically a reticle used to aim your swing – has been modified slightly to shrink as you move it further away from the center of the strike zone. The idea is that this simulates more accurately how a batter’s ability to hit the ball decreases as the ball moves away from the center of the strike zone.

This is a huge change for players who are being used to blast balls out of the park that are located way outside of the strike zone. This added realism is a huge upgrade for online play. Back in the MLB The Show 21 you could try to throw a batter around the foot outside the zone and they would just hit it over the fence as easily as a hanging curve right in the middle of the plate.

As for the fielding changes, the biggest difference from past titles is that you can now perform perfect throws from any position on the field to any base. This is huge for teams who have outfielders with cannon arms. You can finally take advantage of their top-tier throwing abilities to make run-saving throws to the plate.

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And if your team doesn’t have great defensive outfielders, then the good news is that you have plenty of time to trade for better players since the March to October mode can last several seasons. Although this is the only notable change to the mode, it is a big enough one to make it worth checking out again in MLB the Show 22.

If an abridged season isn’t for you, then there are plenty of changes to Franchise mode that diehard MLB fans will enjoy. Improved trade logic makes sure you and opposing teams don’t get ripped off. The smarter AI builds rosters around the team instead of just picking up the best players available even if they don’t fit into the lineup. The improved free agency is more realistic since high-value players can shop around to see which teams are offering the best deals.

All in all, Franchise mode is getting closer to a super in-depth club management simulator every year. It’s still not quite on the level of the Park Baseball, but it’s a more simple and accessible substitute for baseball fans who also like the gameplay side of MLB The Show 22.

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Apart from the two team-focused regular-season modes, all of the favorites from past titles like Diamond Dynasty, Home Run Derby, Stadium Creator, and Road to the Show are still present. But there is not much new to the experience.

They recorded some new podcast segments for Road to the Show (RTTS) and you can now use your RTTS player in Diamond Dynasty. Otherwise these changes are noteworthy enough to make an impact on the experience of the modes as a whole.

One of those fan-favorite modes is definitely the addition of online co-op. Instead of playing for bragging right in between friends, you can now team up with two other players for two-on-two or three-on-three Diamond Dynasty and Competitive Online games. The online experience is smooth and enjoyable as long as everyone has a stable connection.

Overall, MLB The Show 22 is a fantastic baseball simulator that fans of the sport will enjoy. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough notable changes to the game that make it a must-have. There are some little tweaks here and there that the dedicated players will notice, but the total package is not too different. That said, it’s still worth picking up if baseball is your game.

MLB The Show 22 Critic Review

Reviewer: Omar Banat | Copy provided by Publisher.

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