A few weeks ago, as the MLB shutdown dragged on, the spring’s annual bat started to come into question. The players and the league finally came to an agreement to postpone the season slightly, but not lose. As of this writing, we’re just a week away from the first pitch on April 7. Sony’s MLB The Show series usually hits theaters a few weeks before the start of the MLB season, but this year’s installment hit the streets just two days ago. It’s coming April 5 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and its debut on Switch.
I just got my hands on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Switch versions and will be updating this story throughout the day and weekend with my initial impressions on the Diamond. Batting, pitching and defense have all been improved, Sony said, and audio commentary is from a different team. Players can also dive into new online co-op modes and can look forward to improvements across all of the series’ core gameplay paths, including Franchise, Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty.
I start my impressions with the PlayStation 5 version.The first thing you’ll see is a short video Shohei Ohtani revealed more about his path into baseball. After that, fOr returning players, you’ll get some rewards because you’ll be back in another season. Here is what I received:
Before going to the main menu, you can choose your favorite team, then you can choose to enter the practice game to choose the play style that suits you. I recommend going through this process to master the gameplay again and decide which pitching and batting system to use.
The new online co-op mode is front and center on the main menu, inviting players to play 2v2 or 3v3. This will be my first game path. You can see what this mode has to offer in the trailer below:
Entering Diamond Dynasty, you need to complete five quests before you can view anything. As always, the game gives you a default squad. this is mine:
The first mission pits you against the New York Yankees in the bottom of the ninth. You are on the plate of the first and second runners. In my case, I managed to send the first ball over the correct outer wall to win the game and complete the mission. I received two cards as a reward: one of them was Vinny Castilla (72).
Since people who pre-ordered the game could start the game up to four days early, I had no trouble finding teammates for my first co-op game. We’ve been greatly overtaken in terms of roster. Before the action begins, both players select a few cards from their collections to use in the game (meaning you can use some legends that you never got yourself). Our opponent must open several packs to have Fernado Tatis Jr., Rickey Henderson, Joe Mauer, Giancarlo Stanton, and the more jaw-dropping force in their lineup.
Matchmaking is fast, teaming me up with my teammates in seconds and finding opponents between 30 and 40. As you’d expect in a 2v2 game, you and your teammates alternate shots. If someone hits base, the player who didn’t hit the ball becomes the base runner. For fielding, a player pitches an entire inning and controls the pitcher and catcher for the entire inning, meaning that player handles steals and most bunts. other player fields. Any player can enter the pause menu to activate the bullpen. If you’re on the field, your eyes are behind the pitcher until the ball is in play — giving you a clear view of where the field is (you just can’t see your teammate’s meter).
We experienced a little lag in the game, but it was mostly smooth. We ended up hitting 12 of their 5 at-bats, but 2 of their 5 were home runs. In our nine innings, we left the base twice. A scoring opportunity was squashed by a ball that was hit in the middle. The final score was 2-0. We tried our best, but it wasn’t enough.
The gameplay is beautiful and smooth, but I don’t see a visual difference from last year. That said, it’s still a hell of a game. Every fielding animation fits the moment, players seem to have the right speed both on the base path and on the field, and the pitch/batting battle is as exciting as ever. I like that you can see the PCI of your teammates and see how close they are to parity.
The video above shows a bag I opened. I still don’t have any players over 90, but I’m only 4,500 studs less than the Big Dog pack, which gives me a rare overall 90 and a basic 85+ diamond player. I’m digging through this year’s card designs, especially those related to the timed faces of the franchise program, which ends in 28 days. Faces of the Franchise offers Daily Moments, Featured Show Moments, Legendary and Flashback Missions, and the ultimate boss showdown. XP for this battle pass-like path can also come from standard play, collections, and exchanges.
The only other program listed at launch gives you a Babe Ruth card at the end. This challenge simply asks you to complete a mini-season game and tally some basic baseball achievements like getting five hits.
Once again, Diamond Reign’s menus and gameplay are a bit difficult to understand at first glance, but offer players many exciting ways to earn rewards and spend a lot of time.
I went through some rosters and they are all up to date, as you would expect.Carlos Correa was with the Minnesota Twins, and Marcus Stroman wore his Cubs pinstripes. Rookies like Seiya Suzuki, who are underage and signed out of the league, have yet to play and have to play five innings before joining (or on any merchandise). With that in mind, you may want to wait until the actual MLB season begins before embarking on a franchise mode or any roster-based activity. At this point, the best route is Diamond Dynasty.
Now for some bad news: MLB The Show 22 is a graphical mess on Switch. These impressions were made on the Switch OLED in handheld mode. As far as I can tell, everything is identical to the Xbox and PlayStation iterations, but on-field matches struggle to run because of fast framerates and noticeable visual flickering. When the ball starts playing, I’m often distracted by the graphics in the background unusually, such as the strobe light effect on top of the fence as the texture pops and pops. Thankfully, the batting and pitching wasn’t affected by a significant framerate drop — meaning it performed well — but the pitcher animation looked almost digital. The most noticeable frame rate drops occur during broadcast moments, such as zooming in on a pitcher after an out.
As of this writing, I don’t have any patches to download (I don’t know if there are), but I’ll note that I’m currently unable to connect to the game’s servers. I can only play offline modes like Exhibition, Road to Exhibition, and Franchise.
I’ll be playing more of the Switch version in the coming days, but I’ll be switching back to PlayStation 5 for a deep dive into Diamond Dynasty, Franchise Mode and Road to the Show. By alternating between this year’s and last year’s games, one thing I’ve started to notice is that the ball seems to be heavier now. It’s hard to say how much this affects the game, but using a weaker wood on the ball feels a little different.
I’ve always been a fan of Diamond Dynasty’s shorter, three-inning games, and the new mini-season mode is by far the best implementation yet, offering intense competition and big rewards against CPU-controlled teams. I’ve played 21 games in my first season and have just over 0.500 games so far, but if the season ends here, I’ll be in the four-team playoffs. If I win the championship, I’ll receive an Evan Longoria card (89) and a diamond championship set.
On the court in these games, I’ve seen some clever defensive animations that affect the player’s momentum. CPU opponents on All-Star difficulty can still play perfect games more often than they should, but I’ve seen quite a few turnovers, almost always against players with a lower defensive rating. Overall the game was very balanced and I felt like I was seeing the right results with the timing of my swing and the angle of my contact with the ball. Again, it appears to have a heavier weight, which makes the grounder easier to read and more accurate to track off the wall. Last year’s deployment was great, this year’s version is there, maybe a little better with the new animation stitched in by Sony.
Card collections are also valuable, providing a steady stream of cards for completed quests. Each Diamond Dynasty mode offers tons of quests, some of which can be completed in minutes if you’re playing the game.
I haven’t spent any time on Road to the Show yet, but did screw it up in franchise mode. Aside from the enhanced trading logic and options, I don’t see much of a difference here, and I doubt I can say much since it hasn’t been a huge draw for me over the past few installments .
On day six, I hope the servers hold up better so I can spend more time on multiplayer. I’ll also dive into Conquet to see its rewards.