MLB The Show 19 Review
Another home run for the series.
Baseball season is finally upon us as teams around the league celebrated their opening days across the last few days, with every team ready to take the World Series title from the reigning champion Red Sox. That also means it is time for a new MLB The Show game as well just in time for first pitch. Following the excellent few outings in recent years, SIE San Diego Studio now looks to continue the trend of top tier releases in the series with their latest release, MLB The Show 19.
MLB The Show really does not have any competition out there right now, as RBI Baseball is a very different kind of game, but that hasn’t stopped the series from getting better over the years. Each iteration progressively improves on the visuals and physics to make the series as realistic as ever and MLB The Show 19 is no different. This year’s game continues to be the best looking sports game on the market, really standing alongside the best of the best visuals in all of gaming still, including not just the players, but the stadiums, fields, and all the little details that make up the presentation as a whole. The physics engine has also been improved just a bit as well, with namely the outfielders performing more true to life than ever before with seamless transitions from manual movement to pre-done animations.
Road to the Show still continues to be the best part of MLB The Show as a whole, letting you create your own player and take them on their minor league journey on the way to the majors. This mode has slowly transitioned into not only a one player version of a season mode, but also has added RPG elements that bring a lot more depth overall. Not only are there conversational options, but now you have Personality perks that are unlocked by selecting certain answers belonging to one of four different personalities: Captain, Heart & Soul, Maverick, and Lightning Rod. You also have relationships with other players on your team to build throughout the season as well, which will pay great dividends later in the season.
Major League Baseball has the longest season of any other major sport with 162 games per regular season, which can make a Franchise Mode very hard to keep up with for an entire season. You can always sim through games to speed the process up, but now MLB The Show 19 has introduced a new mode to speed things up for those not ready to dive into a full Franchise mode known as March To October. The aptly titled game mode focuses only on the key moments that your team has on the way to the postseason, with the 30 MLB teams split into different tiers: Favorites, Contenders, Underdogs, and Longshots.
March to October kicks things off in strong fashion by featuring a video for each team detailing their 2018 season, giving you an overview of their team in a short video package. From here, you jump right into the action on opening day and beyond by taking part in scenarios that shape your team’s postseason chances. Sometimes these will be three inning stints while others will be the final at bat of a game with a chance to walk it off with a win. There are even others that focus on one specific player and reward a season wide boost for said player if you complete the required task.
Team momentum is rewarded when you complete key moments, while also working against you if you fail them. Gaining or losing momentum will impact the skipped games between key moments, so succeeding is all the more important. March to October adds a layer of intensity that Franchise really doesn’t have outside of the playoffs, which really makes the game mode a great addition to the series for those that aren’t ready to dive into a full Franchise season.
This is also made all the more enticing by the fact that Franchise Mode in MLB The Show 19 is pretty much the same as it has been for awhile. However, this is a mode that doesn’t really need all that much refining, as it has pretty much all of the features that someone would want to play through a full season. Rather than revamp this mode as a whole, March to October was added as a complimentary mode that those looking for that overhauled Franchise can enjoy instead. It is still disappointing to have so little added content in Franchise, but that has pretty much become the expectation in recent years.
On the other hand, Diamond Dynasty is a mode that has continued to feature new innovations every year that make the mode all the more approachable. Much of the mode is still as you will remember it, but the process has been more streamlined overall with an easy to navigate menu system. This is helpful, because there is a lot to be found with Diamond Dynasty. Conquest also returns yet again this year within this mode, with even more maps and content for you to enjoy. Programs play a big role here as well with earning points for Diamond Dynasty, while also playing a part in the brand new Moments mode.
March to October adds a layer of intensity that Franchise really doesn’t have outside of the playoffs
Reliving the moments of the greats is nothing new for sports games, and now MLB The Show 19 has introduced their own take on it with the aforementioned Moments. These consist of individual moments that typically shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to attempt with infinite retries allowed. One grouping puts you in control of a single player for a single at bat or even a full game with a task like hitting a walk-off home run or obtaining three hits in the game.
The Storylines section specifically focuses on moments for one person or team, including Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Bryce Harper, and the 2016 Chicago Cubs, with each one having multiple moments. They even add in a black and white filter for the Babe Ruth moments, which add to the environment. The most unique is the First Inning Program mentioned prior, which pits your Diamond Dynasty team off against legends Cy Young, Rich Gossage, and Andruw Jones where you must complete certain goals to win. There should be more exclusive moments like this for Diamond Dynasty moving forward as new programs are introduced, so hopefully there are new Moments for the other categories too.
Online play hasn’t changed much at all in MLB The Show 19, allowing you to play online rated matches from the Play Now menu or challenge friends to exhibition matches through the quick menu, as well as the ability to do online Home Run derby or take your Diamond Dynasty team online as always. The netcode for the game seems quite solid through multiple matches played, though there are still the usual stuttering issues that can sometimes make fielding a fly ball an adventure.
Annual sports games often struggle to offer enough upgrades and new features to make a yearly purchase worthwhile, but MLB The Show almost always puts out an excellent game each and every year. MLB The Show 19 is certainly no different with the always spectacular visuals and realistic physics you come to expect from the series, as well as new features like March to October and Moments that will keep you playing all year long.
SIE San Diego Studio continually provides PS4 owners with the definitive baseball experience year in and year out and MLB The Show 19 exemplifies that yet again. Even with features like Franchise and online play remaining relatively the same, MLB The Show 19 introduces two of the best additions to the series in years with the very easy to pick up and play March to October and Moments modes that make the game a real home run. Baseball fans were ready for the MLB season to start up and MLB The Show 19 is a perfect companion to have for the rest of the season and beyond.
MLB The Show 19
- Available On: PS4
- Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developed By: SIE San Diego Studio
- Genre: Sports
- US Release Date: March 26th, 2019
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "MLB The Show 19 introduces two of the best additions to the series in years with the very easy to pick up and play March to October and Moments modes that make the game a perfect companion to have for the rest of the baseball season and beyond."