The Major League Baseball season just cranked back up a couple weeks ago which means it is also here we are at the latest iteration of North park Studio’s MLB The Show franchise. Besides this being the first year to release on the new generation of consoles, however the series is also going multi-platform the very first time on both PlayStation and Xbox platforms with MLB The Show 21.
MLB The Show has long been one of the best visual showpieces for PlayStation and MLB The Show 21 is no different. While the improvements are less than between past generational leaps on PS5, MLB The Show 21 still looks fantastic. Even so, it is best to temper your expectations when it comes to what the game can perform visually around the new generation consoles. The level of realism using the player animations and the stadiums keep looking great, using more than 100 new animations being put into the sport, together with improved lighting.
The difficulty in this series happens to be pretty high, even though there will always be plenty of options you can adapt to result in the experience better. MLB The Show 21 tries to streamline this though using the inclusion of three gameplay styles for you to select from. Casual is for the beginners or those just looking to play a far more arcade style game. Simulation ups the problem and it is a lot more based on player and team ratings with how good or poorly you perform. Lastly, Competitive escalates the difficult a great deal, as it focuses on the player’s skills above anything else. Competitive can also be the brand new standard for online player, so getting used to it in other modes can pay dividends online.
San Diego Studio has added additional pitching choices to the series over the years, but it has been a very long time since a brand new pitching interface has been brought to the series. MLB The Show 21 changes that with the newest Pinpoint Pitching, which is the hardest one out of the series up to now. Pinpoint Pitching works similar to pulling off special moves inside a fighting game, while you pick your pitch type and placement first and then use the right analog stick to trace certain pattern in line with the type of pitch you have chosen. There is also timing involved here, where you will be rewarded or penalized for how fast or slow you carry out the motion. Pinpoint Pitching feels similar to the current PGA Tour 2K games in the way you would make use of the right analog stay with swing one of your clubs, but with a little twist on it. This new pitching interface is very much of the case of risk and reward, where one can have the most precise pitches if you perfect the machine. However, there is a steep learning curve along with a good majority of players will most likely rather keep to the previously offered pitching interfaces instead.
Road towards the Show is always one of the most popular modes in each iteration and MLB The Show 21 has really mixed up this season. The core idea of creating a player and following their journey to the majors is still present, however the structure of the mode has changed a great deal. In the past, you would create a player and undergo some exhibitions that would affect your draft status and then lead to you getting drafted. MLB The Show 21 changes everything by starting immediately on draft night, in which you will be asked a series of questions that will result in your primary positions and which team you are drafted by. If you haven't created your Ballplayer in the main menu from the game before beginning this mode, your player will default to Joe Random until after you get drafted and therefore are able to change it out.
Making the experience all the more immersive, MLB The Show 21 has integrated videos of sports reporters from MLB Network like Robert Flores and podcast segments into the story of your player. These kickoff from the beginning surrounding your draft and appear throughout the season. There are plenty from the different podcast segments recorded, so these should stay pretty fresh for awhile at least. While it’s not really a complete story campaign like NBA 2K and Madden have found in recent years, it will add something extra to RTTS mode.
One of the greatest additions to RTTS this year may be the ability for the player to experience both ways for the first time. With players like Shohei Ohtani carrying this out within the major leagues, it was only time before we'd check this out added into the game. At the start, you will get to pick which non-pitcher position you want to be your main, along with you switching to pitcher in those specific appearances. Here is the default while you start the mode, along with you having the ability to choose to focus on only one or the other should you prefer not to play for both a bit into the season. At that point, you may also select whether you want to be considered a starter or reliever, having a mixture of hitting or not between them. It was an odd option to not only let you pick if you desired to play both ways from the start, as it is a bit of a drag needing to do it every time knowing you simply wish to concentrate on one within the other. Additionally, your Ballplayer look will stay the same even though you have different saves for different positions, so don’t have a much an array of different players to experience within RTTS.
Not only can you play both ways in RTTS, but MLB The Show 21 has additionally introduced what are named as Loadouts. Much like you’d see in something similar to Call of Duty, Loadouts are customized setups for the player that you could switch between for each game. This not just includes equipment changes that you could make that are simply cosmetic, but also the capability to set Archetypes as with yesteryear. Archetypes affect different stats and give you specific breakdowns which would be the preferred positions for each one. Perks return here also, where one can upgrade specific stats depending on which of them you choose. When going between being a position player along with a pitcher, it is advisable to possess two separate loadouts depending on if you are pitching that game or otherwise. For pitchers specifically, you can have different pitches selects for every loadout too, which makes it much easier for you to experiment with different pitches from game to game rather than needing to manually switch them out.
Diamond Dynasty may be one of typically the most popular game modes in MLB The Show as a whole, but it doesn’t always get just as much attention with regards to new features. That is not exactly bad though, because this mode has already been a properly oiled machine. Of course, you get to construct your own team with your collection of player cards that you simply collect through opening packs that may be purchased with Stubs that you simply earned in-game or with actual life currency. Among the best additions here is the ability to continue your Ballplayer from RTTS here filled with his Loadouts, that makes it feel much more worthwhile to develop your Ballplayer in the game. This lets you improve them across both game modes and continue that progress between them as well, similar to the NBA 2K series with MyPLAYER. While your Ballplayer may be a lot weaker compared to rest of your Diamond Dynasty team, with them can become very helpful in the long run. A possible problem that put their hands up here is the actual position for the player seemed to change from shortstop to second baseman for my player when carrying on them for whatever reason.
Online play is always extremely important in almost any sports game and MLB The Show 21 continues the trend of having fluid online play. This used to be a major problem with the series, but there really haven’t been too many issues for several years. Between regular Rated Online Play and also the numerous Diamond Dynasty online modes, there's plenty to select from when it comes to online in the game. You won’t find anything new here really, but simply having it working well is sufficient good in a game like this.
MLB The Show continues to be among the best annual sports series for years now, but there has been one of the things that had never made it in to the series during the last Fifteen years. That feature is the ability to create and edit your personal custom stadiums, which was a very popular area of the MVP Baseball franchise. It may took quite a long time, but Stadium Creator has finally got into the series in MLB The Show 21, albeit as a current generation console exclusive on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Stadium Creator enables you to pick between 30 different base stadiums that you can then edit as you can see fit. For people who desire a mostly completed stadium with you only really having to add a few personal touches, there are some available that you could select from. If you’d rather begin with absolute scratch, there's also a Blank Canvas stadium where you get to design everything. There's also plenty of them in-between too, giving you lots of options. When you pick a base stadium, you can choose between an Easy or Pro editor, using the Pro one giving you full rein from the park. From here, you can edit the scenery inside and outside from the stadium, edit the area itself, adjust the dimensions of the stadium, as well as select from a list of over 1,000 props all over the park to really make it your personal. The only letdown here's that you cannot play in these parks at night by launch, but that's something that is supposedly coming later. As with any creator like this, how much you will get out of it all depends in your level of creativity, but there is also the ability to download other people’s stadiums too for people who don’t feel like designing one themselves. Finally having Stadium Creator within this series is really a major addition and it will be great to see what kinds of classic and original stadiums individuals are going to be in a position to recreate in the game continuing to move forward.
One of the best features in the series through the years has been the Sounds of the Show, which permitted you to import your own songs for player walk up music, stadium sound effects, and much more. This always adds a great deal to game modes like Franchise, as it made the game feel much more realistic for big baseball fans. The first few iterations on PS4 were lacking the ability to incorperate your own music and it looks like that's also the case using the first iteration on the new consoles too. Of the four versions released of MLB The Show 21, the only version that will have this selection is the PS4 version, which is incredibly disappointing for what what you know already will be the definitive version on PS5.
Another missing feature across all versions may be the ability to import game saves from past years. A great feature of MLB The Show previously was to continue your RTTS player or Franchise save from year to year, but that is gone in MLB The Show 21. This really is likely due to two reasons. First of all, the addition of Xbox platforms meant there was no way players could be imported as there wasn't any existing version to bring them from on those platforms. In addition, this is the first year where your RTTS player may be used in other modes like Diamond Dynasty, so they probably felt enjoy it was the best year to change that with the addition of Xbox. This can be a big loss though for those that like to continue their progress each year.
While the proceed to multi-platform may have resulted in losing these features for now, it will include the great inclusion of cross-play and cross-progression. Which means you can't only bet additional numbers friends on the other platforms online, however, you can also transfer your saves in one form of the sport to a different. Considering this game is developed by one of PlayStation’s studios, this really is fantastic to determine over the PlayStation and Xbox architectures.
Moving to a different console generation is often hit or miss when it comes to sports titles, whether its the removal or simply lack of game modes and features. Thankfully, MLB The Show 21 on PS5 maintains the majority of that which was available in last year’s game, while also adding some new mechanics featuring. Losing year-to-year saves and custom Sounds from the Show is disappointing, but MLB The Show 21 still delivers with the numerous RTTS upgrades and also the much requested addition of Stadium Creator.
Being probably the most consistent annual sports franchise available, MLB The Show seems to overcome the loss of a few key features to give players yet another reason to step right back into the batter’s box in MLB The Show 21.