MLB The Show 22 Review – A Solid Contender

MLB The Show 22 is a savvy veteran, and the game continues to excel on the field, even though some modes feel like they’re behind the times. Developer Sony San Diego has once again found new ways to capture the realism of the sport and add even more excitement to an already fantastic game of batting and pitching. Not every mode gets the attention we want given how much content there is here, but Sony makes up for them with a great new experience.

At the bottom of the ninth inning, you’re on the bench and can’t do anything but bite your nails and cheer on your teammates on the plate. In years past, at this moment, you’d be waving the fence in the batter’s box, but now it’s your friend’s turn. Even if you don’t have wood in your hands, sitting in a dugout can be very stressful when your friend tries to knock someone out of the park. This experience unfolds in Diamond Reign in a carefully crafted co-op mode. With this new way of playing, MLB The Show gives you the thrill of teamwork, giving you the chance to discuss strategy, hit and run together, and hopefully scream in celebration as your buddies smash home runs.

Co-op is great fun, but there are surprisingly few matchmaking options, only 2v2 and 3v3 battles are allowed within the required pitching and fielding difficulty groups – that’s all. Given that baseball is a 9-player game, it’s disappointing that higher player counts aren’t supported, but lower numbers create more play opportunities per player. I applaud Sony’s decision to alternate bats between different players, which means you can’t put your best batter on the field in a critical situation – it’s always the next player. I also like how co-op play encourages spending time in other Diamond Dynasty modes by collecting cards to unlock better cards because the players on them are the ones you can send on the field.

Chasing elite diamond-level players is still a chore in Diamond Dynasty, but I’m not as intense as spending real money on card packs like in previous years. Most modes offer great rewards that help build roster quickly. Most of the early recruits are silver and gold, but you’ll get some diamond-level stars early on.

Conquest remains a satisfying way to collect and level up cards. Thanks to the AI ‚Äč‚Äčrebalancing, this mode’s stripped-down three-game format is better than ever. Conquest’s computer opponents now enter the strategy clinic, infiltrating the bullpen, using flanking runners, hitting runners, and pitching for double play. Balance can also affect your game, as pitchers start to tire faster — sometimes it gets comical after a pitch or two. These are welcome changes that remove some duplication from the game’s action.

If you like three games, Sony has added another great Quick Game mode: the aptly named mini-season offers three games and a short 28-game season that you can complete in a single weekend. It’s a great addition and offers a nice selection of rotating missions, but can be a little frustrating early in your show game, as you’re facing AI teams that replicate squads of real show players, which Means you can run into an all-diamond team still sending out gold and silver players while you’re at it. I’ve developed a fun program that jumps back and forth between mini-seasons and conquests, a path that rewards me with a pack of cards and a quick experience boost for my rank and players.

As for the action on the court, MLB The Show 22 is once again a model for iteration. Building on the good foundation already established, Sony continues to find ways to enhance the game, add more realism, and reduce repetitive moments. Various types of batting, how players charge and new home run animations showcase variety in new fielding animations. It’s also easier to read the pitch, and the ball’s heavier weight means you’ll see more realistic ground ball jumps and flight paths.

The feel of the game is still very smooth, but don’t be surprised if you’re walking more batters than in the past. The lack of Pinpoint accuracy has a more pronounced penalty, causing the ball to slide out of the strike zone. When the pitcher runs out of gas, the Sony will let you work in the back innings and you’ll probably rely more on the bullpen arm, which is a great way to keep you on your toes and turn things around.

While The Show 22 has come a long way, it falls short in several areas. Repetition is a common theme of the commentary, featuring two new voices: Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton. They have good insight into the sport and play each other well, but not enough lines. Don’t be surprised if a switch hitter shows up if he’s called a unicorn because you won’t see many of them anymore. I believe I have heard this conversation 50 times.

Some modes haven’t gotten much improvement either. The franchise model is largely unchanged, offering slightly tweaked deal block logic, 40-person roster-based payroll, and budget and contract improvements. Road to the Show is a repeat performer from last year, but still brings a lot of fun and a deeply connected player experience to Diamond Dynasty.

Players looking for new season-based rich experiences will find them in the greatly improved March-October mode. As the focus shifts from Win Now, you can lead your team through multiple seasons, enjoy a streamlined draft and team building, and focus on individual player efforts. I’m amazed how much it itches my franchise model.

A week after launch, MLB The Show 22’s online performance was choppy, with periodic lags and hard crashes (sometimes without XP rewards). Online stability remains a huge hole in MLB The Show’s annual swing. While the new Switch iteration offers everything from the PlayStation and Xbox versions, it suffers from frame rate stuttering and significant graphics flickering. It’s still playable and fun, but it’s not quite as clunky as its console sibling, and it feels like it barely holds up.

MLB The Show 22 didn’t have an All-Star performance this year, but was consistent across all game paths and found new ways to make you want to spend time on the court. Playing co-op with friends is the standout feature if you have access to it, but live play and March-October are also impressive.