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MLB The Show 22 review: Ratings from a fresh perspective

Play as the Red Sox or any of your favorite teams (Image via San Diego Studio)
Play as the Red Sox or any of your favorite teams (Image via San Diego Studio)

There are plenty of fans of MLB The Show, and that's no different for the latest release, MLB The Show 22. Fans of the series will undoubtedly wonder whether the new entry is worth playing or if there are significant changes to previous iterations.

Most reviews will likely have someone who is used to the formula of the latest MLB The Show games, old and new alike. However, this review will be a bit different than the standard fare.

I haven't played at least the last few entries, and I've taken a nice long break from the franchise, an annual release like most other sports games. Sometimes coming back to a long-running series brings a fresh perspective to what makes the game fun and holds it back.


Core gameplay within MLB The Show 22

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There isn't much that has changed with the latest entry into the show. Before anything begins, players will have to choose how they want to play every aspect of the game. For example, pitching can be done in a handful of ways.

Pinpoint pitching uses stick patterns and timing, using a standard meter after aiming or attempting the raw analog inputs. All of this has accumulated over the years, and now players can customize the way they play, which makes everyone's experience more tailored to what they enjoy.

For me, pinpoint pitching felt the most rewarding, and once I got that down, the dynamic difficulty would rise with each perfect pitch I threw down the mound.

These aspects apply to the outfield and batting as well. While they may not be as numerous in choices, there are still different ways to play that offer far more options than most other sports games. Choices and variety in gameplay separate MLB The Show from other sports franchises.

Pitching in MLB The Show 22 has various modes for accessibility (Image via San Diego Studio)
Pitching in MLB The Show 22 has various modes for accessibility (Image via San Diego Studio)

Pitching and hitting are both a blast, and they are addicted to mastering with each passing game. Smashing that perfect hit or striking out the opposing batter as the catcher's glove snaps with a 98 mph fastball. Both aspects require great timing and the ability to watch for subtle hints. Pitching has numerous throws that can be used, and batting has a few different swings and angles.

The outfield is the only part of the game that is needed at best and frustrating at worst. Players are unresponsive and delayed when controlling their path. They will also miss picking up the ball, and the whole outfield feels random at times due to keeping the hitting more fun. Luckily, the outfield is a tiny part of the game.


The sounds and music of baseball within MLB The Show 22

Hitting in MLB The Show 22 is as satisfying as ever (Image via San Diego Studio)
Hitting in MLB The Show 22 is as satisfying as ever (Image via San Diego Studio)

The sound may not seem important on the surface, but it makes a difference here. The game could lose some appeal without the crack of a perfect swing that launches the ball out of the stadium or the sound of leather taking a hit.

The announcers and the menu music, which are part of every other game, are needed. Even though the announcers eventually got repetitive, and I could guess what they would say, their lines were good, which added to the atmosphere. What kept me coming back, though, was the crisp sound design.

Baseball's essence is captured with music and ambient sounds. I found myself losing focus when the sounds were off, and it almost felt wrong. I can't say I care nearly as much about the sounds of any other sports game or franchise.


Modes are the bread and butter of MLB The Show 22

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Anyone who is a junkie for multiple modes will be right at home this year. Like always, there are Road to the Show, Franchise modes, and the Diamond Dynasty modes that act like the Ultimate Team. There are all kinds of sub-modes within the Diamond Dynasty, like the new conquest and mini-seasons.

In terms of smaller modes, there is the Home Run Derby, a one-season mode, and the usual exhibition, among others. While there are some new additions, the natural attractions are Franchise and Road to the Show, as always. I found myself bored of most mode offerings within just a few days, but I'll certainly be going back for Franchise and more games as my even weeks from now.

Appreciate it! Atreus' Road To The Show looks promising. twitter.com/SonySantaMonic…

Neither of those modes has changed at all, but they are pretty in-depth, and those who love every menial task will be right at home in Franchise. The Road to the Show can also be as streamlined or tedious as the player wants, which makes it great.

MLB The Show 22 falls flat in the random card packs that must be opened to earn new cosmetics and perks. Loadouts and perks are great, but achieving them would be better through gameplay, not by random chance.


Online play needs some tuning in MLB The Show 22

Play with friends in the co-op mode for MLB The Show 22 (Image via San Diego Studio)
Play with friends in the co-op mode for MLB The Show 22 (Image via San Diego Studio)

Without a doubt, online play was the most disappointing part for me. The lag was frankly unplayable a lot of the time regardless of the mode. There are the usual modes, a ranked mode, and some new co-op additions that players can check out. But the connection seems to be based on peer-to-peer, which is rarely beneficial to the player.

Online play is integral to nearly any sports game, including MLB The Show 22, and can double the shelf life. Hopefully, these issues were an unlucky bunch for me or they get sorted out, but they certainly detract from the overall game.


In Conclusion

Players may want to wait to hit some home runs (Image via San Diego Studio)
Players may want to wait to hit some home runs (Image via San Diego Studio)

With this release, fans of previous MLB The Show games will be at home. Is there anything groundbreaking? Not really. When I compared it to MLB The Show 21, there was nearly no difference, and some of the same issues persisted.

Players who live for these games or wait every year will still be satisfied with the gameplay and roster changes, but fans expecting more will be disappointed.

Those who are new to the franchise, in general, should genuinely think about giving it a try if they are baseball fans. MLB The Show 22 gameplay is great, Road to the Show is fun, and the game is super accessible with all of its customizations.

The best bet overall is to wait until the price goes down a bit because with the current offering, the full price isn't worth it for anyone but the most die-hard fans. There is plenty of fun baseball to be had that is more than worth the time and effort at a lower price point.


MLB The Show 22

Gameplay is great, but some features are lacking (Image via San Diego Studio)
Gameplay is great, but some features are lacking (Image via San Diego Studio)

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 (Early access provided by Sony)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5

Developer: San Diego Studio

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Game Release Date: April 1, 2022

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Edited by Yasho Amonkar
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