As an avid baseball fan, I always look forward to spring training, seeing the players reporting to camp brings joy to the end of winter. Any baseball I can get at that time is welcome, and as a result, I played an unhealthy amount of MLB The Show 21 last year, so I was very ready to take on MLB The Show 22 when the opportunity came up.
Sports games are interesting to review. Year-on-year, there isn’t a whole lot of change to speak of. Last year’s game gave us Stadium Creator and Next-Gen capabilities, amongst other things. This year, there are a few changes and upgrades that make a big difference for new and returning players.
Let’s talk about what’s new, first and foremost. The biggest change incoming for The Show 22 is cross-play, cross-progression, and cross-saves across three different console platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and, for the first time, Nintendo Switch. Last year, Xbox players could play The Show 21, and now all three major platforms can play MLB The Show 22, and go between any of the three consoles and see their progress update there. This is amazing for people who travel, have multiple consoles, etc. Now I can take my Switch to bed and get a few innings in before I go to sleep if I choose to do so.
Online play has a new feature as well, as online co-op play is available for up to three people at a time. You and two of your mates can jump into a game together and face-off against another group of players in either a 2v2 or a 3v3 situation. In addition, if Diamond Dynasty is your preferred method of play, you can combine your card collections with your friends to make the ultimate team and take on other players.
Speaking of Diamond Dynasty, if this is your first MLB The Show title, Diamond Dynasty is The Show 22’s version of Ultimate Team, similar to what you’d see in FIFA, or Madden titles. It is the mode that I spent a ton of time on last year and was looking forward to most this year as well. San Diego Studios is very good at adding content throughout the season, so there is always something to do. Conquests, Mini-Seasons, Showdowns and more ensure that your time is spent progressing to your next goal. For me, it was building a competitive team as quickly as possible.
“The biggest change incoming for MLB The Show 22 is cross-play, cross-progression, and cross-saves across three different console platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and, for the first time, Nintendo Switch.”
One of the biggest changes this year is the introduction of the new commentator duo. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton are making their debut in MLB The Show 22 and after needing to turn off commentary for last year’s instalment, the new commentary duo are a welcome breath of fresh air.
I know it’s a big ask, but I would be really happy if San Diego Studios were able to get the broadcast team from each MLB team to have a wide selection of announcers available. As a Blue Jays fan, being able to hear Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler would be worth the purchase price alone. Alas, I will make do with what I have, and be happy about it.
Road to the Show is the Career mode of MLB The Show 22, and it is a masterpiece of gameplay. You begin by creating your player, modelled after yourself or however you want, and then take that player through the minor league system of a team, trying to make it to the Major League level. You can select a position player (one that’s not a pitcher), or a two-way player (pitcher and position player, like cover star Shohei Ohtani, for example). You’ll have the option to simulate or play as many games as you want on your journey to the big leagues.
Throughout the season in Road to the Show, you get calls from your agent, speak to the manager of the team, and participate in training sessions. All of these things work towards moving you to the major league level, so they are worth doing whenever the opportunity comes up.
“Road to the Show is the Career mode of MLB The Show 22, and it is a masterpiece of gameplay.”
One of the best things that San Diego Studios added to The Show 22 is two additional difficulty settings, giving the player a lot of customization in terms of how hard the game plays. The two new difficulties, named Amateur and Minors, are positioned between Beginner and Rookie to give players a chance to increase difficulty steadily. Beginner and Rookie levels have also been slightly reworked to accommodate this as well. What I did, was set the difficulty to Dynamic, and it would change automatically, depending on how I was playing. I found that the game was always playing to my skill level, so that’s a win right there.
Rounding out the new features is something called Practice Mode. This is where you can set up custom situations and play them out to keep your skills at their peak. This is great for those one-off plays that always seem to come up at the worst times. To borrow a line from Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds, “You know how you get to Carnegie Hall, don’t ya? Practice!”. I spent more time than I expected in Practice Mode to make sure that things became muscle memory and executed without a second thought.
All the typical game modes are here as well this year. Challenge of the Week is a lot of fun where you try to set a high score in an increasing-difficulty situation to win a real-life prize. Players do need to be the age of majority to win the prize, but playing is no problem and the challenge changes every week. Home Run Derby, single game, etc. are there for a more arcade-y experience, so the player is pretty spoiled for choice in that regard.
“One of the best things that San Diego Studios added to The Show 22 is two additional difficulty settings, giving the player a lot of customization in terms of how hard the game plays.”
If you have the creative juices flowing, I’d recommend stepping into the Stadium Creator and building your own ballpark to play in. San Diego Studios has added a fair few new elements to the creator, so your level of customization has never been higher.
All of these great features would be nothing if the game played terribly. Fortunately, this is not the case. The best thing about MLB The Show 22 is the gameplay. With multiple different options for hitting and pitching interfaces, the player can choose the one that they feel most comfortable with and go from there.
Returning players from last year will find that there’s not a lot that changed in terms of menus and gameplay. The bulk of the game content is released later in the year, so if you know what to do already, then you may find the release of MLB The Show 22 to be a little on the stale side.
The PS5 version of MLB The Show 22 has a lot of great features to speak of. Being able to play at 60fps is great to have when trying to follow a ball that is travelling at 100 mph. Combine this with the haptic feedback that lets you feel every hit, catch, and dive, making you feel like you’re in the game itself.
I am a big fan of MLB The Show 22. I love that San Diego Studios is great at adding dynamic content throughout the year, as it keeps the game interesting with new programs to work towards completing, especially in Diamond Dynasty. MLB The Show 22 is a fantastic game, one that absolutely deserves to be played, even if you are new to the franchise or sport.