When you’re already the best baseball game on the market, you could just sit back and release the same game with some minor improvements every year. Heck, EA Sports’ NHL franchise has made a career of doing just that. MLB The Show , however, feels and looks better with each release and MLB The Show 2022 is no different. This game is snappy, with nearly non-existent load times, and controls wonderfully – making it a blast to play.
Let’s talk about the load times, which have improve greatly since the jump to next-gen hardware (I’m playing on PlayStation 5). My MLB The Show mode of preference is Road to The Show (RTTS), which takes you through the career of your created player game by game. This mode has a LOT of menus, simulating and changing of games and series’. I remember in MLB’s past, where load times occupied nearly half of the time you spent playing. The Show 2022’s load times, however, are lightning fast – to the point where sometimes you don’t have time to read the filer stats that they use in between series’. It speeds up the RTTS mode significantly, keeping you engaged and focused on getting to that next opportunity to show your club what you’re made of.
The mode itself hasn’t changed much though. One difference is that you can now have up to 10 created MLB superstars, up from just one in previous iterations. This is a welcome change that fans of the series have been asking for. Other than that, you’ve got the normal – but still awesome – presentation, including video podcast sections that talk about you and how you’re doing throughout your career. The announcers are new this time around as well, offering a variety of colour commentary that seemed to have stayed fresh throughout my hours with the game while reviewing it.
The DualSense controller is a marvel in this game, incorporated in a way that lets you not only feel the crack of the bat, but also the type of hit you’ve made, with perfect hits feeling crisp and broken-bat singles letting you feel the crunch of the bat splintering. I played a lot of baseball growing up, so I know what certain hits feel like. It actually surprised me the first time I felt a broken-bat hit on the DualSense controller. I thought to myself, “That felt like I just broke that bat…”, and sure enough, I had. These small improvements, as well as improvements to the overall lighting and face-scanning have really made this the best looking and feeling version of The Show to date.
The Diamond Dynasty mode isn’t something I play, as I’m not a huge fan of the ‘pay-to-win’ aspect of it. It’s here though, and you can spend as much or as little money as you want on it – helping to create the best team you can out of randomized packs of cards to take on other teams of the same ilk. Franchise mode and March to October are both back as well, letting you manage your team through its entire season or just the playoffs if that’s what you’d rather, allowing you to take control in big moments and help shape their success or failure.
All in all, MLB The Show offers enough to be considered an upgrade, both visually and in the gameplay – but it makes me wonder how many more upgrades can really be made here? At what point does the game become its best version, and what happens then? It will be interesting to see what this game and sports games like it look like in five or so year’s time, that’s for sure! If you’ve played MLB The Show 2022, let us know what you think in the comments!