The problem with annual releases, especially sports titles, is being able to consistently improve an experience, enough so to warrant a full price to entry while keeping existing fans of a franchise happy. This is no walk in the park, but considering this is now the 17th release in Sony Studio San Diego’s long running MLB The Show franchise, they’ve got to be doing something right, right? MLB The Show 22, much like it’s trail blazing cover star, Shohei Ohtani, manages to do almost everything right. In fact, maybe to the extent where it’s all a bit overwhelming.
From the very first pitch to the final out, MLB The Show 22 is a notable step up from its predecessor and the most noticeable improvement is the visuals. Last year I complained a bit that MLB The Show 21 wasn’t feeling very ‘next-gen’ considering it was the first title in the series built for current consoles.
MLB The Show 22 is on track to quickly right that with some of the most impressive visuals in any sports title on display. Lighting and textures are extra sharp this year, serving up some photo-realistic scenes that, at a glance, might have you confusing the game for the real deal. A few tweaks are still needed to players eyes and hair in particular, along with some strange limb movements, but overall, ballparks are now crisper, shadows sharper and the presentation is something to be commended.
On the field things are improved too. Much like last year, even further effort has been put into the way players move across the field, especially when intercepting the ball mid-play. The start/stop animations of the past have been wiped away and replaced with incredibly fluid and lifelike animations that accurately represent real-life weight and inertia. There are occasionally noticeable jerks in the way a player’s arm or head moves, but the base to base running and realism is welcomed.
Much like last year, even further effort has been put into the way players move across the field.
One notable improvement is how the team has handled March to October, a firm favourite of mine that condenses a season of baseball down to around an 8 hour campaign.
The omittance of year-to-year and carryover saves since MLB The Show 20 persists and is becoming a little bit too tiring.
One tablespoon Star Wars, a dollop of motorsport, a splash of Metal Gear. And a pinch of space magic. Mix and blend. Smashing! Is also running for congress.
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SIE San Diego Studio
Sony Interactive Entertainment
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series
1 April 2022
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