MLB The Show 22 Review (Switch)

Now over five years old, the Switch continues to delight, and despite the little tablet’s aging technology, we still have third parties eager to support the system. We don’t know how eager Sony was to support the Switch with the baseball juggernaut MLB The Show 22, as the series’ move to Xbox and now Nintendo’s hybrid came at the behest of Major League Baseball. Nevertheless, we are there, with a Sony Interactive Entertainment game on Nintendo Switch.

The weirdness of booting it aside, first impressions of this Switch entry are reassuring; impressive, in fact. In the highly publicized example of FIFA in particular, Nintendo gamers have had to tolerate half-baked annual releases lacking in features, modes, and other key content. That’s not the case here, with developer Sony San Diego continuing its good work – since moving to Xbox a year ago – of parity across all releases in terms of content. Yes, maybe that’s partly to ensure the best possible monetization from ‘Diamond Dynasty’ online, but the end result is a complete package on Switch without any content cuts.

In the case of MLB The Show 22, if you’re a baseball fan, that means a parcel variety and options. As mentioned earlier, the central offering is Diamond Dynasty, a team building mode where you assemble a roster by earning packs and cards, which is a very basic way to approach the “Ultimate Team” model. Each year brings a creeping sentiment of the odds moving slightly more towards buy to win, corn it remains one of the most feasible “no money spending” modes of its kind in the industry – if you’re happy to ignore the small number of players who will inevitably buy their way to the top team.

Unsurprisingly, you start with a modest roster and try to work your way up to having an All Star roster. It can also, if desired, be played entirely against the CPU without the vagaries of online matches. As you’d expect, there are “Seasons” with limited-time rewards, agendas, challenges (in the form of “moments” you play), and an assortment of gameplay options. involve trying to take over other teams’ bases and growing a baseball empire, while “Mini Seasons” is the best addition to the mode in years: you play in a league of eight for a brief season and try to win it. everything, and you can set a difficulty that works for you when playing CPU teams “representative” of other players’ teams.

We’d be here too long to list all of Diamond Dynasty’s modes and rides, but there’s a lot to offer and most activities will lead to tangible rewards. Some offer better prizes (like high-level players), but if there’s one criticism, it’s that this year’s overall structure is a bit less generous, so far, than last year. last – that creeping monetization we mentioned. It’s still a very democratic mode, with market values ​​being driven entirely by players, for example, and you can still earn a reasonable number of players and “packs”. However, you earn less currency “stubs” and the grind is slightly harsher. It’s still better than most other sports sims, but hopefully Sony San Diego will see the community feedback and pull away for their next entry.

The next main mode, and the one we enjoyed the most on Switch, is Road to the Show. This is closely tied to your account as your player can also be used in Diamond Dynasty, but at its heart it’s all about the baseball course. You create your player, choose a position and style (you can also go both ways like cover star Shohei Ohtani) and dive into it. The initial stages have been delayed a bit this year, removing the opening trial and effectively letting the player decide whether to join his favorite club or leave it to fate. Either way, you start life as an “A” prospect in double-A baseball and try to work your way up to The Show.

It’s still addicting, as it always has been. Locked in as a player, you go through games with just your bats, in-game moments, and pitches. It’s also a fun change from normal games, as the game is entirely from your point of view and you balance your own goals with those of the team. The presentation is decent too, although we had to turn off comments (more on that later), and there’s a mix of old and new intermissions in which reporters talk about your prospects, coaches give you tips or you complete mini-games for training. It’s also the mode that seemed best suited for playing on the go, dipping for 15 minutes for some drummers when the opportunity arose.

The other main mode is Franchise, which hasn’t evolved significantly in years; that’s not really changing this year. You can run a club’s baseball operations from top to bottom, so it’s still fun, but it also needs an overhaul and better logic. Trades are supposed to be more realistic, but we still managed to trade a player with a contract no one would touch in real life for a nice return, like we do every year (we manage the Chicago Cubs, so you might be able to guess the player). If you’re new to the mode, however, the complaints above probably won’t apply to you, and it’s still a deep experience that lets you lead your team and customize what you do and play. From this point of view, it remains a treat.

There’s more – various unique online and offline exhibits, weekly challenges, customizable formation, various entry options for batting and throwing. It’s still a hugely impressive baseball sim that, well, covers all the bases. And it’s all there on Switch.

you expect the corn, law? Well, here it is. Switch isn’t a particularly optimal way to play the game, but it has to be said that it has improved since the grisly pre-launch tech test. Since the arrival of the PS4 Pro, gamers have grown accustomed to 60fps attempts, for example, but here we have the targeted 30fps of the base PS4 and Xbox One. That’s fair enough, but for a sport as precise as baseball (especially when hitting) it’s not ideal, and the feel of the game isn’t comparable to the cartoonish but pleasingly smooth Super Mega Baseball on Switch. . If you’re also playing this game on more powerful hardware, every switch to Switch will require adjustment.

It’s perfectly playable, though, a welcome improvement over the preview build. The ball is more traceable now, the defense is a bit more responsive, and Road to the Show’s alternate camera angles are functional. Visually, there’s also been an improvement, though it’s still pixelated and jagged, while the non-gaming presentation segments see the frame rate crash into the teens. The developers have clearly been pushing for a more consistent in-game frame rate, and they’ve generally been successful.

In terms of the best way to play, at launch docked mode offers a smoother and cleaner experience, which suggests that the aging engine driving this game is rather GPU heavy. Handheld mode’s reduced clock speed hurts the experience, with visuals dropping significantly and bringing less consistent performance. The game isn’t exactly smooth anyway, but we found ourselves sticking to a limited set of on-the-go modes – Road to the Show and “Moments”, mostly. However, as we said above, it is playable.

If you play on multiple platforms, the title does a great job with its cross-save and progression. After a little hiccup, we got our account linked to an Xbox Series X build — Diamond Dynasty updates server-side (it’s online mode, so of course), while in Road to the Show and Franchise you You can have backups locally, Upload to Cloud or both. Once it’s up and running (and after overcoming some issues with our created player), it’s pretty seamless, and it’s really attractive.

In that sense, we found ourselves doing a bit of everything on Switch. Online we tackled CPU challenges in Diamond Dynasty or played Road to the Show, and even offline we could save locally and upload to the cloud later. One thing we didn’t do much about, beyond testing, was play online. Probably the bulk of today’s gamers are on PS4 Pro / PS5 / Xbox Series X | S, and an online match against these is a doomed task. If your opponent has double the frame rate and crisp visuals, the odds are long. You can disable cross-platform matchmaking, but the validity of this will ultimately depend on the size of the Switch userbase.

As for how MLB The Show 22 compares to its predecessor, well, one problem for the franchise (and many other annualized series) is that it feels so similar every year, its tweaks are really just iterations. minors. Throwing is more difficult this year, in terms of players going more in the middle if you make a marginal error or leave them too tired. CPU levels also seem a bit more difficult, but there are now additional “easy” settings, a nice touch to let anyone enjoy the game. Beyond small tweaks, the big change is in commentary, with Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton reuniting from their ESPN Radio days. The comment is good but needs a lot more lines; it’s too repetitive and we ended up turning it off, which seemed a shame considering the duo had done a good job with the material at hand.