MLB The Show 22 on PS5
baseball is back MLB The Show 22 is here and as with every year, it’s promised to be the biggest one yet. With two or three-player online co-op, a new commentary team, improvements to franchise mode, and more, it’s certainly impressive on paper. But every baseball fan knows that a good team on paper still needs to prove its worth on the field.
Right off the bat, MLB The Show 22 passes the eye test. The 4K resolution, 60 FPS framerate, and HDR all make the game look incredible. This is nothing new for the franchise on the current-gen consoles, but it’s still an impressive showing considering how few games are able to boast the same.
On top of the fantastic graphics and smooth frame rate, the overall presentation keeps on getting better every year. Smash a mammoth homer or gun a runner out at first from across the diamond and there’ll be a replay with the same Google Cloud Statcast breakdown of launch angle or throwing speed you would see during a real MLB broadcast.
And what brings the whole in-game presentation together is the brand new commentary team. Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton are replacing the old trio of Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Dan Plesac. Sciambi and Singleton have been calling MLB games together for over 10 years and parts of their real commentary has been captured and brought into MLB The Show 22.
For people who have been playing MLB The Show for years, this is a welcome change. The old commentary team was good, but hearing some of the same lines from five or more years ago made the play-by-play feel stale. Like any sports game, you’ll still hear certain lines repeated. But the longer you play, the more you’ll hear a wide array of different lines about specific players or even the signature food of the ballpark you’re playing in.
The only part of MLB The Show 22’s overall presentation that is lacking is the general player animations. There are many celebration animations or swings that you’ll see repeated across multiple different players. The exception here and every year are the staggering number of incredibly accurate batting stances and pitching wind-ups.
Along with these batting stances that improve realism, a few tweaks have been added to batting and fielding to increase immersion. First off, the Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI) — basically a reticle used to aim your swing — has been modified to slightly shrink as you move it further away from the center of the strike zone. The idea is that this more accurately simulates how a batter’s ability to hit the ball decreases as the ball moves away from the center of the strike zone.
This is a massive change for players who are used to being able to blast balls out of the park that are located way outside of the strike zone. This added realism is a huge upgrade for online play. Back in MLB The Show 21 you could be trying to throw around a batter a foot outside of the zone and they would just hit it over the fence as easily as a hanging curve right in the middle of the plate.
As for the fielding changes, the biggest difference from past titles is that you can now perform perfect throws from any position on the field to any base. This is huge for teams who have outfielders with cannon arms. You can finally take advantage of their top-tier throwing abilities to make run-saving throws to the plate.
And if your team doesn’t have great defensive outfielders, then the good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to trade for better players since the March to October mode can now last multiple seasons. Although this is the only notable change to the mode, it’s a big enough one to make it worth checking out again in MLB the Show 22.
If an abridged season isn’t for you, then there are plenty of changes to Franchise mode that diehard MLB fans will enjoy. Improved trade logic makes sure you and opposing teams don’t get ripped off. The smarter AI builds rosters around team needs instead of just picking up the best players available even if they don’t fit into the lineup. The improved free agency is more realistic since high-value players can shop around to see which teams are offering the best contracts.
All in all, Franchise mode is getting closer to a super in-depth club management simulator every year. It’s still not quite on the level of Out of the Park Baseball, but it’s a more simple and accessible substitute for baseball fans who also like the gameplay side of MLB The Show 22.
Besides the two team-focused regular-season modes, all of the favorites from past titles like Diamond Dynasty, Home Run Derby, Stadium Creator, and Road to the Show are still present. But there’s not much new to experience.
They recorded some new podcast segments for Road to the Show (RTTS) and you can now use your RTTS player in Diamond Dynasty. Neither of these changes are noteworthy enough to make an impact on the experience of the modes as a whole.
The biggest change in one of those fan-favorite modes is certainly the addition of online co-op. Instead of playing for bragging right among friends, you can now team up with up to two other players for two-on-two or three-on-three Diamond Dynasty and Competitive Online games. The online experience is smooth and enjoyable as long as everyone has a stable connection.
Overall, MLB The Show 22 is a fantastic baseball simulator that fans of the sport will enjoy. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough notable changes to the game that make it a must-have. There are some little tweaks here and there that dedicated players will notice, but the total package isn’t too different. That said, it’s still worth picking up if baseball is your game.
Reviewer: Omar Banat | Copy provided by Publisher.
- Beautiful graphics.
- Great baseball simulation.
- Realistic presentation.
- Not enough improvements year-to-year.
- Too many similar animations break immersion.
Apr 5, 2022
San Diego Studios
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch