A few weeks ago, the annual bat of the spring spring was in doubt as the MLB lockout dragged on. The players and the league eventually came to an agreement and the season was slightly rescheduled, but no games are lost. As of this writing, we are only a week away from the first pitch, which will be thrown on April 7th. Sony’s MLB The Show series usually kicks off a few weeks before the start of the MLB season, but this year’s installment hits the streets just two days before it arrives on April 5th for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One for the first time on Switch.
I just got my hands on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Switch versions and will be updating this story with first impressions of my time on the Diamond throughout the day and weekend. Sony says hitting, pitching and fielding have been improved and the audio commentary comes from a different team. Players can also dive into a new online cooperative mode and can expect improvements across all core areas of the series, including the franchise, Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty.
I’ll start my impressions with the PlayStation 5 version. The first thing you will see is a short video by Shohei Ohtani reveals more about his journey to baseball. after that for returning players, you will get some rewards if you come back for another season. I received the following:
Before reaching the main menu, select your favorite team and then have the option to participate in a practice match to choose what playstyles work for you. I recommend going through this process to get your gameplay back on track and figure out what throwing and punching systems you want to use.
The new online co-op mode takes center stage in the main menu and invites players to play 2v2 or 3v3. This will be my first chance to play. Check out what this mode has to offer in the trailer below:
When you enter Diamond Dynasty, you must first complete five missions before you can see anything. As always, the game gives you a default squad to work with. Here’s mine:
In the first mission you face off against the New York Yankees at the end of the ninth. You are on court with runners in first and second place. In my case, I managed to send the first pitch over the right field wall to win the game and complete the mission. As a reward I got two cards: One of them is Vinny Castilla (72).
Since people who pre-ordered the game have a four-day head start on playing, I had no problem finding a teammate for my first cooperative game. We were greatly outperformed in terms of lineup. Before the action begins, both players choose a handful of cards from their collections to use throughout the game (which means you could use some legends you’d never earn yourself). Our opponents must have opened a few packages to Fernado Tatis Jr., Rickey Henderson, Joe Mauer, Giancarlo Stanton and more stunning power in their lineup.
The matchmaking worked quickly, matching me up with my teammate in seconds and finding opponents within 30-40. As you’d expect, you and your teammate take turns hitting in a 2v2 game. If someone gets to base, the player not batting becomes the baserunner. In fielding, one player pitches for an entire inning and also controls the pitcher and catcher for the entire inning, meaning that player handles steals and most of the buns. The other player fields. Any player can go to the pause menu to activate the bullpen. When fielding, your view is behind the pitcher until the ball is put in play – giving you a good view of pitch positions (you just don’t see your teammate’s yards).
We had a little latency in our game, but it was mostly smooth. We ended up hitting 12 of their five, but two of their five were home runs. We kept the bases loaded twice in our nine-inning game. A scoring chance was nullified by a groundball hit into a layer down the middle. 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 differed visually from last year. That said, it’s still a hell of a game. Every fielding animation fitted the moment, player speeds seemed right on both base paths and on the field, and the pitching/batting combat was as exciting as ever. I like that you can see the PCI for your teammate to see how close he came to winning a spot.
The video above shows one of the packs I opened. I still don’t have over 90 players, but I’m only 4,500 studs away from a big dog pack, which gets me a Diamond player who’s rarely 90 overall and base 85-plus. I’m loving the card designs this year, especially those associated with the Faces of the Franchise timed program that ends in 28 days. Faces of the Franchise features Daily Moments, Special Program Moments, Legends and Flashback missions, and a final boss showdown. XP for this Battle Pass-like path can also come from standard games, collections, and exchanges.
The only other program listed at startup gets you a Babe Ruth card at the end. This challenge simply requires you to complete a mini-season game and complete a series of core baseball achievements such as: B. five hits.
Diamond Dynasty’s menus and gameplay are again a bit overwhelming and difficult to understand at first glance, but offer players many exciting paths to earn rewards and spend a lot of time on.
I’ve looked at a few rosters and they’re all as up to date as one would hope. Carlos Correa plays for the Minnesota Twins and Marcus Stroman wears his Cubs pinstripes. Rookies promoted from the minors and out-of-league signings like Seiya Suzuki are not yet in the game and must first play five innings before they can be added (or stand on merchandise). With that in mind, you might want to wait until the start of the real MLB season before starting Franchise mode or any roster-based activity. The best way to play 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 performed on a Switch OLED in handheld mode. As far as I could tell, all of the content is the same as the Xbox and PlayStation iterations, but the game on the pitch struggles to run, being plagued by both a stuttering framerate and pronounced visual flickering. When the ball is put into play, I’m often distracted by a graphical anomaly in the background, e.g. B. the top of the fence has a flash light effect as the texture goes in and out. Thankfully, hitting and pitching aren’t affected by significant framerate drops – meaning it plays well – but the pitcher animation looks almost digitized. The most noticeable frame rate drops occur in the transmission moments, e.g. B. when zooming in on the pitcher after an out.
As of this writing, I don’t have any patches to download (and I don’t know if there are any), but I’d like to note that I’m currently unable to connect to the game’s servers. I can only play offline modes like Exhibition, Road to the Show and Franchise.
I’ll be playing more of the Switch version in the coming days, but switching back to PlayStation 5 to delve deeper into Diamond Dynasty, Franchise mode and Road to the Show. One thing I notice when switching between this game and last year’s is that the ball seems to have more weight now. It’s hard to tell how much that affects the game, but getting weak wood on a ball feels a little different.