Welcome (back) to The Show.
With the release of the franchise’s 16th rendition of the famous baseball simulation video game, fans once again get their fix of the online version of America’s pastime.
MLB The Show 22 is here folks.
San Diego Studios (SDS) has once again pumped out a solid product. The Show, titled after the affectionate nickname given to Major League Baseball (MLB) by fans and players, has returned with similar features to its two predecessors MLB The Show 20 and MLB The Show 21, respectively.
Diamond Dynasty, the main moneymaker for SDS and The Show, is the same: withholding the new “Faces of the Franchise” program. Diamond Dynasty, by far the coolest mode in the game, allows players of The Show to craft their own team of any combination of current or former MLB players into a 25-man roster. It is easily the nicest “fantasy team” mode of any sports game out. Anyone who disagrees is simply wrong.
For instance, the program, which holds 30 of the most recognizable young stars in the game, is unlockable via a relatively simple system where players acquire experience points (XP) to unlock said players. It is pretty easy, with gameplay not being overly complex or unrealistic from actual baseball in real life. So far, the game mode (I have spent numerous hours on this game mode and nothing else within the game) has been enjoyable; however, the learning curve for the relatively new pitching system, “precision,” is- very steep. I am very bad at it, but it is nearly unhittable. The cards (players) in the game are generally balanced, and I have not run into any real pay-to-win players so far, a good sign. Dear SDS: please fix the pitching. I am tired of throwing 92-mile-per-hour sliders dotted on the corner and having them taken 450 feet to left-center field. I am absolutely sick. Also, fastballs, usually the easiest pitch to hit, are unhittable now for whatever reason. However, beyond this issue which can easily be adjusted, good job SDS, please do not ruin this solid start to the game mode.
Road to the Show (RTTS), San Diego Studio’s other main draw to the game, is also back. Road to the Show, the single-player game mode where the player has the power to create their own perfect baseballer, has captivated the hearts of millions of middle-aged gentlemen who “could have gone pro if they did not blow their knee out in high school.” Personally, I think it is super boring, and I rarely touch it, but I digress. RTTS has mainly remained the same with the exception of the ever-changing backstory of your created player, who is customized to your liking. However, one cool touch San Diego Studios put into RTTS is the addition of the two-way player archetype, aka Shohei Ohtani (the cover athlete of the game). This archetype allows for one’s created player to both wield a bat and a pitcher’s glove, a cool option for those obsessed with playing offline non-stop. Overall, it is a nice job on this boring game mode by SDS. Maybe if Diamond Dynasty angers me enough one night, I will swallow my pride and create the hottest, most slick-fielding third baseman possible to realize my childhood dreams of MLB (or even high school) playing time.
On top of that, the packaging was amazing. Like, “the greatest game I have ever bought” type of physically amazing. I splurged a bit and went for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) edition. I was given a steelbook case and virtual currency as a result. The currency was cool, but the steelbook case is to die for. Serving as a great nod to his legacy, with the steel encrusted image of Ohtani depicted in anime form, Japanese artist Takashi Okazaki outdid himself with the MVP cover.
Overall, presentation, gameplay and general experience have all been positive. SDS just needs to keep on keepin’ on. Listen to your developers, listen to actual MLB players and, most of all, listen to your fans.
As always, I have had immeasurable amounts of fun playing a digital version of the greatest game on this planet. There is nothing like a carefree Friday night paired with some Diamond Dynasty and pizza.
The Show goes on.