by Dillon Meehan
For the past 10 years, the “MLB The Show” franchise has not only been the premier baseball game, but maybe the best overall sports video game. Nothing has changed for Sony San Diego, the video game’s studio, who have once again crafted a stellar game.
For years Take-Two’s “MLB 2K” series battled “The Show,” but ever since “2K’s” final installment in 2013, “The Show” has dominated the baseball simulation genre.
The game’s 11th installment is no different in terms of its excellence. It has once again raised the bar, forcing other companies who have considered making a baseball simulation to have second-guesses.
Until recently, sports video games always had competition. “FIFA” fought “Pro Evolution Soccer,” and developers EA Sports and Take-Two fought each other in basketball, football and hockey. But now the majority of sports video games have only one viable option – because the developers know this, they do not strive to greatly improve their game. They know that as long as minor improvements are made over each annual release, millions of consumers will purchase the game every year no matter what.
However that is not the case with Sony San Diego. They have once again taken the great foundation that has been laid out by the previous iterations and added enough new features to be a brand new game, without completely reshaping the series.
Last year, Diamond Dynasty became the go-to game mode for players, being modeled after EA Sport’s ultimate team mode for their sports game franchises. With “MLB The Show 16,” they have built on that success and have added a new draft-based mode known as Battle Royale.
Much like Madden’s Draft Champions and FIFA’s FUT Draft, Battle Royale allows players the option to draft a roster over multiple rounds from four possible selections, one more than is offered with EA’s other draft-based modes.
One of the heavily advertised improvements was the new ShowTime mode. ShowTime essentially allows users to slow down time when in Road to The Show mode, to either make a play on the ball or when at bat. It has been used sparingly, but as of right now it is tough to time when to swing while slowed down, and there is no way to practice these situations; it has to be done in-game.
While the game is fantastic, there are a few flaws. The most notable is the commentary. For years, fans have clamored at the fact of having a new commentary team, but Sony San Diego has remained fixated on not replacing the commentators. Instead, there are a few extra lines of dialogue that have been added, which has been their go-to move for the past half-decade.
The other major issue is the lack of alternate jerseys. It is relatively easy to see the new jerseys that teams showed off in the offseason and add them to the game, but even with the season now underway, this has still not been changed. Sony has refused to even hide their mistake either – Josh Donaldson is on the cover of this year’s game in Toronto’s alternate jersey, which is not even available in the game.
Originally there were some major online issues that made playing against others on PlayStation Network practically impossible, but the new update seems to have fixed that.
It says a lot about the game when the two biggest issues are presentation and cosmetic. This means that its gameplay and modes are solid. If you were on the fence for this year’s version, you shouldn’t be – it’s a must buy.