A few weeks ago, the racket’s annual spring crack was called into question as the MLB shutdown continued. In the end the players and the league came to an agreement, the season was a bit delayed, but no game was lost. As of this writing, we’re only a week away from the first show to go on April 7. Sony’s MLB The Show series usually starts a few weeks before the start of the MLB season, but this year’s edition hits the streets just two days early on April 5 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and for the first time on Switch.
I just got the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch versions, and will be updating this story throughout the day and weekend with first impressions of my time on Diamonds. Sony says hitting, pitching, and fielding have been improved, and the voiceover comes from a different team. Players can also dive into a new online co-op mode and can expect improvements in all of the series’ core gameplay, including the franchise, the road to the show, and the Diamond Family.
My impressions of the PlayStation 5 version started. The first thing you’ll see is a short video of Shohei Ohtani reveals more about his path to baseball. After that, introduced qOr players returning, you will receive some rewards to return for another season. This is what I received:
Before getting to the main menu, you can select your favorite team, and then you are given the option to enter a training game to select the playing styles that suit you best. I recommend going through this process to get the hang of the gameplay again and see what shooting and hitting systems you want to use.
The new online co-op mode is front and center in the main menu, inviting players to play 2v2 or 3v3. This will be my first way to play. You can see what this mode has to offer in the trailer below:
Upon entering Diamond Dynasty, before you can watch anything, you will first need to complete five missions. As always, the game gives you a virtual team to work with. here for me:
The first assignment puts you up against the New York Yankees in the bottom ninth place. You’re in the plate with the runners in first and second. In my case, I was able to send the first pitch on the right field wall to win the game and complete the task. I got two bonus cards: one of them is Vinnie Castilla (72).
Since people who pre-order the game get a head start on four days of play, I had no problem finding a teammate in my first co-op match. We were way ahead of the lineup. Before the action begins, both players choose a deck of cards from their decks to use during that game (which means you can use some legends that you don’t earn on your own). Our opponents must have opened some packages to have Fernando Tates Jr., Ricky Henderson, and Joe Mauer, Giancarlo Stanton, and more amazing power in their lineup.
The matchmaking worked quickly, teaming up with my teammates in seconds, and finding opponents within 30-40. Predictably, in a 2v2 game, you and your teammates will trade bats. If someone gets to the base, the player who doesn’t hit becomes the base runner. As for field engagement, one player takes on a full turn, and controls the bowler and the catch for that entire inning as well, which means that player handles robberies and most bunnies. The player’s other stadiums. Any player can enter the pause menu to activate the bulls game. If you’re playing on the field, your vision is behind the bowler until the ball is put into play – allowing you to get a good look at the pitch positions (you can’t see your teammate’s meters).
We experienced some lag in our game, but it was mostly smooth. We ended up making 12 hits for five, but two out of five were passes at home. We left the bases loaded twice in our nine-stroke game. One scoring opportunity was crushed by a ground ball that was hit in the middle in a rosary. The end result was 2-0. We played our hearts out but it wasn’t enough.
The gameplay was nice and smooth, but I didn’t see much that was visually different from last year. However, it’s still a hell of a game. Every field movement matched the moment, player speeds looked correct both on the base tracks and on the field, and the shooting/hit battle was exciting as always. I like that you can see your teammates’ PCI to see how close they are to one squared.
The video above shows one of the packages I opened. I still don’t have any players over 90, but I only have 4500 studs shy of the Big Dog package, which gives me 1 player a rare 90 diamonds overall and an 85 plus. I’m digging up card designs this year, especially those related to the timed faces of the franchise program that ends in 28 days. Faces of the franchise offers Daily Moments, Program Highlights, Legends and Flashback missions, and an ultimate boss showdown. Battle Track XP similar to Battle Track can also come from standard games, combos, and exchanges.
The only other program included at launch gives you a Babe Ruth card at the end of it. This challenge simply asks that you complete one game for a mini season, and count a number of baseball achievements, such as getting five hits.
The menus and gameplay in Diamond Dynasty are a bit cumbersome and difficult to understand at first glance, but it offers a lot of exciting paths for players to earn rewards and spend a lot of time.
I’ve looked at a few of the listings and they’re all as up-to-date as you would hope. Carlos Correa at the Minnesota Twins and Marcus Strowman wearing a caps pencil case. Promoted juniors and out-of-league signings like Seiya Suzuki are not yet in the game, and must first play five rounds before they can be added (or be on any good). With that in mind, you may want to hold off until the start of the real MLB season before starting franchise mode or any roster-based activity. The best route at this point is Diamond Dynasty.
And now for some bad news: MLB The Show 22 is a graphical mess on Switch. These impressions are made on the Switch OLED in manual mode. From what I can tell, all the content is the same Xbox and PlayStation iterations, but the real-world gameplay struggles to play, dropped by both a loud frame rate and clear visual flicker. When the ball is put into play I am often distracted by a graphic anomaly in the background, such as the top of the fence having a strong light effect as the fabric appears in and out. Fortunately, hitting and pitching aren’t affected by huge frame rate drops – which means it plays well – but the bowler’s animation looks almost digital. The most noticeable frame rate drops occur in moments of broadcast, such as zooming in on a pitcher after exiting.
As of this writing, I don’t have any patches to download (and don’t know if there are any), but I’ll note that I can’t currently connect to the game’s servers. I can only play offline modes like Gallery, Road to the Show and Franchise.
I’ll be playing more of the Switch version in the coming days, but I’m coming back to PlayStation 5 to delve deeper into Diamond Dynasty, Franchise Mode, and Road to the Show. One thing I’m starting to notice alternating between last year’s game and last year’s game is that the ball seems to have more weight now. It’s hard to say how much that affects play, but having a weak wood on the ball looks a little different.
I’ve always been a fan of the shorter three-stroke Diamond Dynasty games, and the new Mini Seasons mode is the best app yet, offering great competition against CPU-controlled teams and great rewards. I went into 21 games in my first season, and currently the game is over 0.500, but I will be in the four-team playoff if the season ends here. If I win the tournament, I’ll get an Evan Longoria card (89) in addition to the Diamond Championship package.
On the playing field in these games, I see some great animations that affect the player’s momentum. CPU opponents on All-Star difficulty can still play flawless plays more often than they should, but I see quite a few bubbles, almost always for a player with a low field rating. Overall, the play is well balanced, and I feel like I’m seeing the right results for the timing of the swing and at what angle I’m in contact with the ball. Again, it appears to have more weight, which makes for easier reading of grounding and more accurate paths away from the wall. The field show was great last year, and this year’s version is right there, perhaps a little better with new animations that Sony has stitched into the mix.
Card collecting was also rewarding, providing a steady stream of cards for completed missions. Each Diamond Dynasty mode offers a large number of missions, some of which can be completed in a matter of minutes if you are in your game.
I still haven’t spent any time on Road to the Show, but I haven’t stumbled with franchise mode. Beyond the logic and optimization of options trading, I don’t see much different here, and I doubt I’ll be able to tell much given that it hasn’t been a huge draw for me over the past few instalments.
For the sixth day, I hope the servers will hold up better so I can spend more time playing multiplayer. I’ll also dive into Conquet to check out its rewards.