MLB The Show 21 Review

Background

This April, the highly anticipated MLB The Show 21 game released for the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox 1, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4 consoles. Three separate versions of the game were released: a version for only current gen consoles (Xbox 1 and PS4), a version for only next gen consoles (Xbox Series X & S and PS5), and a version with both generations of the game. Those who preordered the “Jackie Robinson Edition” were able to play during Early Release Weekend, or from April 16 through April 19, before the game released for everyone on April 20. The big reason why this game has so much hype behind it this year is because it is the first time it is available on Xbox consoles. Since 2006, The Show has only been released on PlayStation consoles as a PlayStation Exclusive, with Xbox users being left with very few, much lower quality options, such as the much cheaper R.B.I. Baseball franchise. So, this is already a big positive for the game as a whole. Now, let’s jump into the actual game itself.


Gameplay

The gameplay itself is very similar to how it was in past games, although much smoother on the next gen consoles. All of the hitting interfaces stayed the same, but there was one big change to pitching. In the past, there were four different types of pitching interfaces: pulse pitching, meter pitching, pure analog pitching, and classic pitching. None of these were

tremendously accurate, and all of them were relatively easy. This year, a new type of pitching interface was introduced: pinpoint pitching. It is a much more difficult but more accurate type of pitching for more advanced players. When done correctly, pitches will be placed almost exactly where the pitch is placed, which rarely happens with the other pitching interfaces. But, it is much harder than the other types of pitching to be accurate. While in other interfaces, the player must just press a few buttons at the right time, pinpoint pitching is much more complicated however rewarding if done correctly. The player must be able to move their right joystick over a line at the right speed and on target to be accurate. Overall, I like this new type of pitching. Although it takes time to get used to, it allows players to be more accurate than ever before with their pitching, and it changes up the game, as the other types of pitching have been in the game for years.



Road to the Show

This year’s Road to the Show campaign is slightly different than in years past. There is nothing leading up to the draft, you just get drafted and then you begin playing in AA ball. The biggest difference this year is that you start as a two-way player. So, you are both a pitcher and hitter to begin your career. You can later choose what you want your role to be; for example, if you only want to be a hitter, only want to be a pitcher, if you want to be both, or just do a little bit of pitching. Plus, there are now different “loadouts” players can have. So, your player can have a fast fielder in one game, and then be a power hitter the next. I’m not sure how much I like this feature because it takes some of the decision making out of the game that previously made it truly feel like your career. Usually, you must choose what your player will play like and then you have to develop that one guy. Now, the different loadouts make the game less realistic. But, the loadouts are mainly used to help with the fact that your ball player in RTTS can now also be on your diamond dynasty team.


Diamond Dynasty

Diamond Dynasty is likely the most popular game mode in the MLB The Show series, so it is usually the game mode the developers pay attention to the most. Diamond Dynasty is a mode where the player is able to create their dream team through collecting and earning cards. There is a card for almost every current MLB player and other Legends, or past

players. The better the player is, the higher their card is ranked. For example, Mike Trout is the highest rated current player with a 95 overall card. There are also other Legend cards, like Chipper Jones and David Ortiz, who have 99 overall cards. The point of the game is to try to either buy or work for good cards to make the best team you possibly can, and then use that team to play against other real players. I really like this gamemode because you have to manage your team and choose what players you like the most to use. Plus, unlike other games like NBA 2K, it is not pay to win. Although you can buy packs or players, you can also do challenges and other mini games that award you with cards. There are Inning Programs that allow for players to compete for cards without paying a single penny, which makes the game much more fair. Overall, I think Diamond Dynasty has been a really good gamemode so far, the only improvement that has to be made is with the game servers. Many people have not been able to play online against other players because the game’s servers did not allow them to, but it is a problem that will likely be fixed soon.


Overall, I think the game is very good this year. Other than the server issues, there have not been any real issues or complaints with the game so far. I am excited to see what happens with the game as the real MLB season moves on, and I am very excited to continue playing.


- Ryan Loomer, ‘22