Baseball is suspended —for now. But the good news is you can play as your favorite teams and players with the latest installment of the “MLB: The Show” franchise.
This game will be sure to reinvigorate the spirit of America’s pastime with some upgraded features. Fans of the game might notice the updated cracking of the bat sound right away, and it’s one that changes based on the type of contact made during a game. If you wallop a 400-footer, you will hear the hard maple smacking the ball with authority. On the other hand, if you hit a dribbler to the pitcher, you’ll only hear a feeble dink of the bat.
Arguably the three best game modes are Franchise
mode, Road to the Show and my newfound favorite, Diamond Dynasty. Franchise mode remained relatively the same as previous years. However, the biggest adjustment this year is the option to relocate a team.
The MLB itself is considering an expansion but with this scratch with top to bottom capability, players can completely rebrand a team from changes including logos, colors and uniforms.
Road to the Show is essentially a mode that allows a user to create a player and take them through the ranks of a professional baseball career beginning in the minor leagues. While most of the features have stayed the
same, the biggest changes involve teammate chemistry.
The coolest element of the new game is the chance to build a rapport with teammates. For example, if your player is a shortstop and turns a bunch of double plays, you will increase your on-field chemistry with the second baseman. This is just a small but mighty change that really makes the experience of playing this game mode much more organic, even though
it’s part of a video game.
Now to the game mode I’m hooked on. Admittedly, I had not really explored much of this game mode in the past because I didn’t feel I could ever build a strong Diamond Dynasty team – one that allows you to create a squad from cards that are either pulled from packs, bought from the marketplace or earned through rewards.
It’s a massive time investment to curate a competitive team, but the long hours pay off with a team to be reckoned with. The options for this mode are seemingly endless, and there will only be more opportunities with updates as the game is still in its nascent stages.
One awesome new feature of this mode is Showdown, which can net you big rewards should you complete the challenges. It’s definitely a challenge but it’s also fun because you draft a new team based on pre-deter-
mined cards and whether or not you are successful at each stage before the final showdown.
I really only see a few bad parts about this game. My main complaint is the reaction times seem a bit delayed and sluggish compared to what you would see in a typical baseball game. For instance, if you preload a throw from the outfield, the controlled player doesn’t always zip it in like they should.
Instead, they casually stroll over and proceed to chuck the ball back in like they are tossing a newspaper over their head. Another minor reaction time problem appears to happen when controlling a runner on the base paths.
While there are also some minor glitches that can easily be patched with updates, the unrealistic reaction times is really my only knock on an otherwise refreshing game.
Taking into consideration all of these factors, I am cognizant of the fact that this is, after all, a video game. The aim is to mimic and emulate a real-life game, but no game is perfect in doing so.
At the end of the day, though, “MLB: The Show 20” will provide a user with an incredible experience in what I believe to be the best sports video game
series. The graphics are unmatched, the game modes remain abundant and the customizable options could even seem superfluous to those who have never played.