MLB The Show 22 Review: Easy Approach

Okay, it’s time to come clean, I know next to nothing about baseball. Sure I’ve watched Hollywood films, but outside knowing some of the more famous teams and players, my knowledge of the game is sorely lacking.

It is part of the reason why I was interested in trying MLB The Show 22 on the PlayStation 5 when a chance to review it became available.

Is the MLB The Show 22 accessible for complete novices and is there enough on offer to hook those without a particular interest in baseball?

We spent the past few days playing it on the PS5 to find out.

All about Ohtani

Let’s start with presentation and here things are very much focused on cover athlete, 27-year old Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani.

Prior to booting up the game, we knew nothing about Ohtani, who currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels, but after a little bit of research, he is a a two-way player.

That means he pitches and bats, doing both at an elite level and 2021 saw him put together one of the best single seasons in baseball history.

Also getting to hear his story when the game boots up is quite interesting and certainly adds a different aspect to a sports game opening, which normally involves a highlight reel of in-game action. Sure there is that too on offer here, but it is clear that the larger focus is on Ohtani’s story.

Needless to say, his place on the cover is well deserved and he could very well be the next big thing in world athletics. While we wait to see whether that comes to fruition, for now Ohtani serves as inspiration for the player career journey in “The Show” aspect of the game.

Down to the Minors

Here you customise your ball player, with a fairly rich set of customisations to work with. As such, it certainly gives the likes of EA Sports’ FIFA a run for its money on that front. Once you have fully customised your look and what kid of player you want to be, it’s off to the draft.

To kick off developers San Diego Studio make use of a quasi-fictional podcast to serve as the introduction to the draft experience, as well as a visual metric to track the progress of your player’s rise through the ranks and any notoriety achieved. It’s a nice change from the usual in-game news feeds we see for career modes these days.

For our own draft progress, we were picked up by the New York Yankees as an 18-year old pitcher named Joe Random (we liked the name that the game automatically assigned). We got the Yankees as it was “favourite” team in the initial setup portion of the game.

While we got drafted by the best known team in baseball, we did not immediately step out onto Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Instead we were sent down to one the organisation’s Minor League teams, as we need to earn the right to play in the Majors. This is a step we quite like, especially when it comes to keeping the experience authentic, not to mention the fact that we can cut our teeth on some lesser opposition before taking on some big hitters.

In general we liked this portion of the game, but it is certainly for those who want to immerse themselves in longer playing sessions, with the route to the Majors taking a day or two of solid play to achieve.

There are of course other quick play-esque modes that allow you take control of your favourite team straight away.

Keeping it simple

It is here that we can segue to the actual gameplay. Before you start playing, there is a bit of tutorialisation, which is to be expected for those playing the game for the first time.

One of the other interesting elements here is to choose the most comfortable play styles for pitching, batting, fielding and running between bases. Here there are three to four different methods, ranging in complexity.

For the art of brevity, and our own inexperience, we went with the most simple methods for pitching and batting.

It is an approach to playing the game that we really like, as San Diego Studio gives you the choice of how complex an experience you want. Given that baseball itself can be rather confusing for a novice, the ability to keep things as simple as possible and allow you to take in the visuals on offer is appreciated.

Speaking of which, the look of players, particularly those that are true-to-life, are about as solid as we have seen from a sports title in some time. The mechanics, for pitching, batting, catching and running all look sound too. To that end, off balance hits or ones where you’re reaching to try to hit the ball often lead to stumbles or falling to a knee.

There is also a good mix of different pitching and batting styles, so you can be as orthodox or quirky as you want. The quick time events and AI-assisted fielding is also quite forgiving, as is the computer you’re playing against at the lower level of difficulties.

Starting off on the lowest setting, even our vast inexperience with The Show meant we quickly needed to ramp things up and try some of the harder levels.

Final verdict

For a novice MLB The Show 22 is great. There is an easy level of accessibility to the game that a fan of sports titles, but not necessarily baseball is able to get into. Controls can be made as simple as possible, with mechanics all featuring a really straightforward appeal that makes the game instantly playable.

As such, there is no steep learning curve here as there may be with other sports that players may not be familiar with.

The career mode is also fairly solid, and while it does not feature much in the forms of bells and whistles, it does portray a fairly realistic journey from the Minors to the Majors, depending on how good you are.

While MLB The Show 22 has a solid enough hook, it is perhaps missing a few new ingredients to keep you playing. While it is nowhere near as vexing as the FIFA titles have been of late, we think a refresh is due, especially for fans of the franchise.


About Author


Related News