In its last ever edition as an exclusive for the PlayStation 4 of MLB The Show, San Diego Studios Swings for the fences, but doesn’t quite hit it out of the park.
MLB 20 The Show continues to provide one of the best sports gaming experiences. It didn’t have too many of the major glitches that have dogged the NFL Madden franchise in recent years. This year’s version includes some updates, but mostly builds on the solid foundation of previous editions. It just wasn’t quite the home run needed to convince casual gamers, or owners of MLB The Show 19 that this is a must have.
Some of what is new includes the Custom League mode, and it’s one that stands out Here,players can compete against up to 30 other players in an online league, using real life rosters or their own Diamond Dynasty teams. A commissioner can be appointed to set league guidelines. Players can also add and drop players throughout the season, which culminates in a postseason tournament, just like the real thing.
Not new, but upgraded over previous versions, is the Plate Coverage indicator. This helps the user identify the strengths of each batter, giving them a better chance to put their players in a position to succeed. The Perfect/Perfect System is new, and it further identifies the strengths of the hitters, letting the user know if the batter is a home run hitter or a guy who hits line drives and gets on base. This greatly increases the players chances for success and for the possibility of launching one out of the park.
As for franchise mode, it is just about the same as last year. The addition of minor league rosters is a good move, but they missed the boat with relocation. This option gives the player the ability to move one of 30 teams to a new location but does not allow the ability to create a totally new identity.
The ability to custom design new jerseys and team logos is good, but the fact that a player can’t design their own stadium is not. Instead, they will have to pick from a list of random stadiums that only kind of resemble real MLB stadiums, historical stadiums that have branding that cannot be changed or ballparks currently in use by other teams. There is no opportunity to create a new identity for the team.
The March to October mode is a fast paced way of reaping the rewards of a full season without actually having to play 162 games. The user can be inserted into their favorite teams’ game at any point during the season, inject themselves into key moments and try to help their team win their way into win The World Series without having to grind through the whole season.
This mode is perfect for players who don’t want to play all 162 games in a season. They now have the option to execute player trades and call up players during the season. Also, the 2020 version gives more opportunities to win rewards throughout the season, including the World Series title. One complaint here is that the scenarios become repetitive after a while.
Diamond Dynasty mode is a lot of fun as well. Here the user will have the challenge of matching up with other players online to test their handpicked roster against their opponents. There are several different game modes in Diamond Dynasty. Most common are Ranked Seasons and Battle Royale.
In Ranked Seasons The user will play a regular nine inning game against an online opponent. In Battle Royale the player can face-off in 3 inning games with the goal being to win 12 consecutive games. Where they can build their 25-man roster from a group of players of varying skill levels.
Throughout Diamond Dynasty, the more they win, the more opportunities a player will have to improve their roster by leveling up. One of the best features is the ability to play with legendary names from baseball history, such as Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and a who’s who of Hall of Famers.
The one downside is with the rewards, where the user is actually better off buying bundles of packs rather than winning them. Buying will give them better odds of pulling great players. They can earn a reward pack of players, but just like buying a pack of baseball cards, they’ll never know who they are going to get. Chances are, they will be random players or duplicates.
As far as complaints, nothing too major, but Retro Mode bears a strong resemblance to the old arcade game RBI Baseball. It has slow motion pace and even has the exact same sound effects. At times with the commentary crew, the audio cue is noticeably behind the action, describing something that happened two plays ago.
As with previous titles in the series, players can expect glitches to occur in online games, such as players moving erratically, or not picking up the baseball even though it’s right next to them. The glove animations can be a little sketchy, with balls appearing to go through the back of the glove on backhand catches, and other weird ball physics such as foul balls mysteriously bending back onto the field.
For baseball fans who watched as the COVID-19 virus forced the cancellation of opening day and the postponement of the 2020 baseball season, MLB 20 The Show couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s the closest thing we have to Major League Baseball until the real show starts, hopefully soon.