MLB The Show 22 on PS5
Baseball is back. MLB The Show 22 is here and like every year it promises to be the biggest yet. With two- and three-player online co-op, a new commentary team, franchise mode improvements, and more, it certainly looks impressive on paper. But every baseball fan knows that a good team on paper still has to prove its worth on the field.
Right off the bat, MLB The Show 22 passes the eyesight test. 4K resolution, 60 FPS framerate and HDR make the game amazing. It’s nothing new to the franchise on current-gen consoles, but it’s still an impressive display considering how few games can boast the same.
In addition to the fantastic graphics and smoothness of the images, the overall presentation keeps getting better every year. Hit a gigantic home run or shoot a runner first on the other side of the diamond and there will be a replay with the same Google Cloud Statcast breakdown of launch angle or launch velocity that you would see during a true MLB broadcast.
And what brings the whole in-game presentation together is the all-new commentary team. Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton replace the old line of Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Dan Plesac. Sciambi and Singleton have called MLB games together for over 10 years and portions of their real commentary was captured and incorporated 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 has rendered play-by-play obsolete. Like any sports game, you will always hear certain lines repeated. But the longer you play, the more you’ll hear a wide range of different lines about specific players or even the signature food of the stadium you’re playing in.
The only part of MLB The Show 22’s overall presentation that’s missing is the general player animations. There are many celebratory animations or swings that you will see repeated on several different players. The exception here and every year is the sheer number of incredibly accurate batting stances and pitches.
Along with these realism-enhancing batting stances, a few tweaks have been added to hitting and pitch to increase immersion. First, the Plate Coverage Indicator (PCI) – essentially a reticle used to aim your swing – has been changed to shrink slightly as you move it away from the center of the strike zone. The idea is that it 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 used to being able to blast out-of-the-park balls located well outside the strike zone. This added realism is a huge improvement for online play. Back in MLB The Show 21, you could try throwing a one-footed hitter out of the box and it would just hit it over the fence as easily as a dangling curve right in the middle of the plate.
When it comes to pitch changes, the biggest difference from previous titles is that you can now make perfect throws from any position on the pitch to any base. That’s huge for teams that have outfielders with cannon arms. You can finally take advantage of their high-level throwing abilities to make throws that save the run to the plate.
And if your team doesn’t have great defensive outfielders, the good news is that you’ll have plenty of time to trade for better players since the March-October mode can now span multiple seasons. While this is the only notable change to the mode, it’s significant enough to be worth checking out again in MLB the Show 22.
If an abbreviated season isn’t for you, die-hard MLB fans will appreciate the many changes to Franchise Mode. Improved business logic ensures you and opposing teams don’t get ripped off. Smarter AI builds rosters around team needs instead of just selecting the best available players even if they don’t fit into the roster. Improved free agency is more realistic since high-value players can shop around to see which teams offer 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 straightforward and accessible substitute for baseball fans who also love the gameplay side of MLB The Show 22.
Along with the two team-focused regular season modes, all the favorites from past titles like Diamond Dynasty, Home Run Derby, Stadium Creator and Road to the Show are still present. But there is not much new to discover.
They recorded new podcast segments for Road to the Show (RTTS) and now you can use your RTTS player in Diamond Dynasty. None of these changes are notable enough to impact the experience of the modes as a whole.
Perhaps the biggest change to one of these fan-favorite modes is the addition of online co-op. Instead of playing for bragging rights with friends, you can now team up with up to two other players for 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-play. There are a few small 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 the publisher.
- Beautiful graphics.
- Great baseball simulation.
- Realistic presentation.
- Not enough year-over-year improvements.
- Too many similar animations break the immersion.
April 5, 2022
San Diego Studio
Sony Interactive Entertainment
PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch