REVIEW: Getting Into ‘MLB The Show 22’ As A Rookie (XSX)

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MLB The Show - But Why Tho

I’m not especially good at MLB The Show 22, Sand Diego Studio’s latest entry in its hit baseball simulator video game. Which is fair, given I was never particularly good at hitting or throwing real baseballs either. And that’s fine, because there will always be another pitch to swing at and another game to play as you figure out how to digitally play America’s pastime.

The premiere baseball video game, MLB The Show 22 offers a host of modes to entice players of all different attention spans. There are classic franchise modes to act as the general manager of your favorite baseball team through season after season of playoff runs and trades. There’s the Road to the Show, where you play as a single player making their way from the minor leagues up to the majors.

March to October mode is for folks who are less interested in the long slog of a full MLB season by putting the player right in the middle of the most important game’s in a team’s season instead. And Diamond Dynasty is the fantasy-sports meets virtual baseball card collecting mode where small challenges and long-cumulated in-game currency reign supreme. There’s a mode for everyone essentially. That is, except for new players.

MLB The Show 22 throws players immediately into the game with no tutorial, no controller guide, only a practice mode with complicated options and layers. Are the controls mostly intuitive or occasionally explained? Sure, that’s not the issue. It’s the fact that the game demands such incredible accuracy from players in order to have even a semblance of success that bothers me. There’s no point where the game explains how to hone that accuracy, it’s all simply trial, error, and practice.

That’s how you get good at anything I suppose, but the learning curve for this game feels higher than perhaps any game I have ever played. It’s not especially fun missing nearly every hit and throwing ball after ball because you can’t figure out how to nail the pinpoint accuracy of the game demands of you.

The commentary as you struggle to figure out how to play gets very repetitive very quickly as well. Alternate background noise will quickly become preferable. Fortunately, the visuals at least are very strong, from the accuracy of even the least significant minor league stadiums to the detailed character models to the changing of the sunlight as a game goes on. It’s certainly a pleasant game to look at as you swing and miss again and again.

MLB The Show 22 - But Why Tho

Road to the Show kept me engaged the longest for sure. Even as a non-baseball fan, it feels rewarding to do well and impress your virtual coach. The constant change in your stats as you do well or poorly is a good motivator and fact that you can skip straight to the next time your player impacts the game, such as an at-bat or a hit in your direction in the field makes it much more tolerable to get through the many, many games per season and what could otherwise be an enormous time commitment per game. The dynamic difficulty scaling is a nice promise, but it is pretty much impossible, it seems, to tell what difficulty the game is playing me at and whether I would even succeed at the lowest difficulty possible.

As a player who cares little for real-life baseball, Diamond Dynasty couldn’t hold my interest for too long, as the challenges felt repetitive quickly and the difficulties too high to overcome. In this mode, you unlock players to use on your team, which can be used online comparatively as well, with an ever-expanding roster as the game adds new packs, daily challenges, and so forth. I do appreciate it though as an iteration on card collecting and team-building. It’s a fun method by which to build a team and being able to import your custom player to the mode is a nice touch.

Overall, MLB The Show 22 is a finely-tuned baseball simulator that offers a nice range of options depending on your patience but is possessed of a nearly insurmountable difficulty curve for beginning players, especially those who are either uninvested in the sport, more accustomed to simpler arcade-style baseball games, or even fans of other popular sports simulators that require less pinpoint accuracy to succeed in. Fortunately, if you’re determined enough to learn to play the game, there are endless pitches to swing at and new games to start over as you fine-tune your button-pressing timing.

MLB The Show 22 is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.


MLB The Show 22
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

MLB The Show 22 is a finely-tuned baseball simulator that offers a nice range of options depending on your patience but is possessed of a nearly insurmountable difficulty curve for beginning players, especially those who are either uninvested in the sport, more accustomed to simpler arcade-style baseball games, or even fans of other popular sports simulators that require less pinpoint accuracy to succeed in. Fortunately, if you’re determined enough to learn to play the game, there are endless pitches to swing at and new games to start over as you fine-tune your button-pressing timing.