For those who spent the last year embedded in the bullpen of MLB The Show 21, Sony San Diego Studio’s small but specific improvements in MLB The Show 22 will be welcome. This is an annual installment where one of its main tweaks includes tweaks to business logic, preventing teams from trading their star players for relief pitchers. To put it bluntly, while this baseball sim plays better than ever, the lack of meaningful additions will make it a somewhat tough sell for the average MLB fan.
Of course, to say that there is no changes would be unfair, but a lot of the headlines here read like patch notes – no matter how much effort behind the scenes. Highlights include a new co-op mode, which lets you team up with up to two friends online and take on challengers from around the world; In Diamond Dynasty, the series’ hugely popular card-collecting mode, you’ll be able to combine your card collections, allowing you to create a really awesome list, which is an incredibly fun idea.
There are also some pretty big changes from March to October, the franchise’s truncated seasons mode. In previous entries, this was a unique campaign, as you picked your favorite team and played key moments throughout the year on your way to World Series glory. You will now be able to oversee multiple seasons, thanks to a very fun and fast offseason system allowing you to choose free agents and customize your team. It’s a really nice addition that adds longevity to the mode, which we actually prefer over the traditional Franchise mode purely because of its streamlined format.
Not content with being the most generous card-collecting mode out there, Diamond Dynasty also has a new gameplay wrinkle for single-player, in the form of Mini Seasons. These allow you to bring your custom team, made up of cards you’ve collected, into a miniature league format, where you can compete for program XP, level up your Parallels player, and cancel missions. This, combined with Conquest, cements the mode as hands down the best of its kind – and will give newcomers and veterans alike hundreds and hundreds of hours of fun.
Beyond those headlines, however, MLB The Show 22 is starting to bleed into MLB The Show 21. The gameplay is fantastic, as always, and has been further refreshed with new animations and balance upgrades. One tweak sees the batter’s vision nerf ever so slightly when swinging for pitches outside the strike zone, adding an extra ounce of realism. Additionally, positional players can now make perfect throws to bases away from home, creating an even bigger gap between average fielders and truly exceptional players with very high ratings.
The whole package has also been streamlined. While the previous entry went a little bonkers with Battle Pass-like programs in an effort to unify all of its modes, this year’s game is a little lighter on that front, while still hitting the same basic goals. . We’re a little concerned that the focus on a global program might result in less rewards for casual gamers overall, but that’s a hard thing to judge on launch day, and something we’ll have to watch out for. course of the next few months. The bottom line is that everything just makes a little more sense out of the box.
The same goes for Road to the Show, which unfortunately adopts the same old sports documentary format on the wall, but is interspersed with new podcast segments. While some clear effort has been put into these – and they feel a little more polished and a lot less Microsoft Teams than last year – this mode is in desperate need of a spring clean, as it feels crisp compared what 2K Sports is doing in NBA 2K22. Progress is faster this year though, which is great, and you can spawn multiple Ballplayers – again, good news.
Less positive is the presentation, which passed another one iteration without real improvements. A group of players received new face scans, including cover star and two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani, but all the same drudgy dirt textures return. For a game where you spend an awful lot of time staring at neatly mowed lawns, the grass in MLB The Show 22 looks incredibly bad – it’s tragic to think that this series was by far the best looking sports game on PS3 and PS4 because it’s miles off the beat these days. We can only assume that Sony San Diego Studio is planning big improvements for the next installments.
Despite all that, however, the game runs very well – and it continues to have a zen-like quality no matter what mode you’re playing in. There are a few new difficulty levels that make the gameplay more manageable for all abilities, and custom practice has been given another pass to expand to terrain and even the ability to replay games. Meanwhile, the new commentary team featuring Jon ‘Boog’ Sciambi and Chris Singleton is decent, although with a smaller library of lines to wade through you’ll start hearing repeated phrases sooner than you’d like. .
Elsewhere, we’re still currently testing netcode, including the aforementioned co-op feature, and want to play on launch servers before attaching a score to the game. This franchise has a rich history of its servers collapsing on launch day. the exit, after all. . However, all of the cross-play functionality, which extends to cross-save, looks promising – and with the addition of Nintendo Switch, you’ll be able to progress on the move for the first time since MLB 15: The Show on PS Vita.
It would probably be reductive to describe many of MLB The Show 22’s improvements as the sort of thing you’d expect to find in the patch notes, but that’s still somewhat true. The gameplay is still great and we really like the additions from March to October as well as the Mini Seasons mode in Diamond Dynasty. But while it’s undoubtedly a simplified and improved version of the already excellent MLB The Show 21, casual gamers will have a hard time spotting the difference – and, frankly, some aspects of the series are really begins to tire.