MLB The Show 22 is a veteran veteran, a game that continues to thrive on the field, despite some modes feeling like they’re falling behind. Developer Sony San Diego is once again finding new ways to capture the realism of the sport and add even more excitement to an already fantastic batting and throwing battle. Given how much content there is, not every mode got the attention we want, but Sony makes up for them with excellent new experiences.
By a run down the bottom of the ninth inning, you’re on the bench and can do nothing but chew your nails and cheer on your teammate at the plate. In years past, right now, you would be swinging at the fences in the batter’s box, but now it’s your friend’s turn. Even with no wood in your hand, it’s surprisingly intense sitting in the dugout while your friend tries to knock one out of the park. This experience unfolds in a beautifully designed cooperative mode within Diamond Dynasty. Through this new way of playing, MLB The Show nails the thrill of being on a team, giving you the chance to discuss strategies, execute hits and runs together, and hopefully cheer when your buddy hits a walk-off home run. crushes.
Cooperative play is great fun, but surprisingly sparse in matchmaking options, allowing only 2v2 and 3v3 matchups within the desired pitching and fielding difficulty groups – that’s it. Since baseball is a nine-person game, it is disappointing that a higher number of players is not supported, but the lower number creates more game options for each player. I applaud Sony’s decision to alternate at bats from player to player, meaning that in critical situations you can’t send your best friend to the plate – it’s always who’s next in order. I also like how cooperative play encourages spending time in other Diamond Dynasty modes to unlock better cards by collecting cards, as the players on it are the ones you can send to the field.
Chasing diamond-ranked elite players is still a drag in Diamond Dynasty, but I didn’t feel as strongly of the pull to spend real money to buy card packs as I have in years past. Most modes offer excellent rewards that help build the roster quickly. Most early recruits will be silver and gold, but you’ll get a few diamond-ranked stars early on.
Conquest remains a satisfying way to collect and level up cards. This mode’s abbreviated three-inning format is better than ever thanks to AI rebalancing. Conquest’s computer opponents are now setting up a strategic clinic, diving into the bullpen, using pinch runners, bunting runners, and throwing to play doubles. The balancing also affects your game, as pitchers tire much faster – sometimes comically after just a throw or two. These are welcome changes that remove some of the repetition in gameplay moves.
If you like the three-inning format, Sony has added another excellent mode for quick play: the aptly named Mini Season delivers three-innings and a short 28-game season that you can get through in a weekend. It’s an excellent addition that offers a nice selection of rotating missions, but it can be a little frustrating at the beginning of your Show game because the AI teams you deal with replicate squads put together by real Show-players. players, meaning you can meet a full Diamond team while still sending out gold and silver players. I developed a fun routine of bouncing between Mini Season and Conquest, a path that rewarded me with decks of cards and quick experience boosts for my rank and players.
As for the on-field action, MLB The Show 22 is another showpiece of iteration. Building on an already great foundation, Sony continues to find ways to hone the game, add more realism and reduce repetitive moments. Variation is shown in the new fielding animations for all types of hits, the ways players charge balls and new home run animations. It’s also easier to read pitch release points, and the ball has a little more weight, meaning you’ll see more realistic ground ball hops and flight trajectories right off the bat.
The feel of the game remains remarkably fluid, but don’t be surprised if you run off more batters than in previous iterations. There is a more pronounced penalty for missing Pinpoint precision, causing the ball to sail out of the strike zone. If a pitcher runs out of gas, Sony will have you working in later innings, and you’ll likely rely more on bullpen arms, a fun way to keep your focus and turn things around.
While The Show 22 is making a lot of progress, it falls a bit short in several areas. Repetition is a common theme in the commentary booth, featuring two new voices: Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton. They give a good insight into the sport and play well against each other, but they don’t have nearly enough lines. If a medley man shows up, don’t be surprised if he’s called a unicorn, because you don’t see many anymore. I believe I have heard this dialogue 50 times already.
Some modes didn’t get much refinement either. Franchise mode is largely unchanged and offers slightly modified trading block logic, payrolls based on 40-person rosters, and budget and contract improvements. Road to the Show is a repeat of last year, but still delivers a lot of fun and the deeply connected player experience to Diamond Dynasty.
Players looking for new, meaty seasonal experiences will find them in the much-improved mode from March to October. Now that the focus has shifted from ‘win now’, you can lead your team through multiple seasons, enjoy streamlined drafting and team building, and focus on the efforts of individual players. I was surprised how much it scratched my itch in Franchise mode.
A week after launch, MLB The Show 22’s online performance is shaky, with intermittent latency and hard crashes (sometimes without XP rewards). Online stability remains a huge gap in MLB The Show’s annual swing. While the new Switch iteration offers all of the content from the PlayStation and Xbox versions, it suffers from framerate stuttering and significant graphical flickering. It’s still playable and fun, but doesn’t carry the big wood of its console brethren and feels like it barely holds.
MLB The Show 22 won’t deliver an all-star performance this year, but will remain consistent across all play options and find new ways to make you want to spend time on the margins. Playing with friends is the most notable feature if you can use it, but the on-field play and the March-October also impress.