Baseball season is here, and that means it’s time for The Show!
While the sport of baseball as a whole has maintained a static fanbase over the years, the game adaptations have not been as lucky. While many baseball video games franchises like the MLB 2K series have ceased production, MLB The Show has done more than just existed; and this year’s game is no different. MLB The Show 17 not only improves on previous games in the series for veterans to the series, but offers fun game modes to bring in new players young and old. Could MLB The Show 17 be the best baseball game ever made?
While last years The Show 16 offered new modes like the enjoyable career mode, and massive renovations to existing Diamond Dynasty, The Show 17 focuses on tweaking. While this may sound like much, unlike other sports game series, these tweaks not only add to the realism but create a more fun baseball experience. With all of the new tweaks, this year’s game provides one of the most authentic experiences ever presented in an MLB game.
Upon first starting the game you’ll be greeted to an incredible intro that combines historic audio clips from matchups going back to the early days of baseball while the moments are recreated in chalk drawings. This intro is not only incredible to watch, but will also give you goosebumps! As you get to the menus you’ll notice a new clean design that is easy to navigate with the most used modes prominently displayed.
My first instinct upon starting this year’s game was to check out what’s changed by playing a matchup. As the matchup started up, the first thing I noticed was how incredible The Show 17 looked. Lighting effects have been improved to make the game look more realistic, and day games are vibrant. It is easy to say that this year’s game is quite possibly one of the best-looking sports games to date.
When it comes to actual gameplay, the animations have been improved looking better than ever. While the animations may not seem like a massive deal, the added details help make it feel more like a real game of baseball. The improved animations make it possible to read body language which can help read the pitcher’s throw, or pick out a player trying to steal bases. Unlike past MLB games I’ve played, The Show 17 had me thinking and reacting as if I were playing a real game of baseball.
While gameplay is fun, it is something that takes some getting used to for new players. As I stated before, The Show 17 adds in an abundance of new animations, and this is shown while at bat. The added animations add a large variety of hit animations; thus, you must hit the ball just right instead of just making contact with the ball. At first I didn’t quite have a hang of the batting, hitting numerous foul balls in a row. This was extremely frustrating at first, but after playing a few match ups I got a hang of it. Pitching isn’t difficult to pick up as you have a few different styles to choose from, which you can alter in the game’s settings. While The Show 17 takes a little bit of practice to get used to, it feels rewarding to learn; especially when you hit your first home run, or grand slam!
The gameplay is complemented with the new MLB Network broadcast elements that add a whole new level of realism to the game. Elements such as Showtrack that adds a whole new level of detail to the presentation giving illustrations of your hits including details about the ball’s path, hang time, distance, and more. The only problem we’ve seen visually deals with the transitions which tend to have frame-rate drops, but compared to the overall perfected presentation, it can be forgiven.
The biggest drawing game mode for The Show is the career mode, which now plays like a baseball documentary. As you progress through the career, all of your actions are recorded and described by a narrator. Your player has choices on how he wants to progress, whether it be a humble or an arrogant showboat. I made my player humble at first, but decided to make him a bit more demanding later which led to interesting twists in the story. Don’t make your coach angry, or you could be benched for a few games.
Franchise mode plays much like last year’s version, with the added “Critical Situations” feature. This useful mode allows players to sim through most of the season, pausing when critical moments arise. This feature is perfect for players to go through seasons in a short amount of time, without risking consistent loses.
Diamond Dynasty stays intact with most of the components returning from last year. This year, new ways to earn to earn XP have been added. You’ll notice as you play through any of the game’s mode, you’ll be earning XP. For new players to Diamond Dynasty, like myself, the mode can be quite overwhelming with the variety of options. While it is fun, it is for more dedicated baseball fans.
One of the most interesting game modes is the retro mode which has the game play like old school Genesis titles. Animations, and graphics, are downgraded to match the look and feel of the retro games. This mode is fun to play, and looks hilarious, but really gets boring fast. If you’re looking to have some fun with friends with a nostalgic experience, that’s where retro mode exceeds.
MLB The Show as a series has consistently provided top-tier baseball gameplay, and The Show 17 exceeds past games. Tweaks to the existing game makes The Show 17 look and feel like you’re watching an actual game of baseball! While gameplay does take a bit to get used to, it feels rewarding when you get it down. The worst part about this game is how difficult it will be for The Show 18 to top this!
- Incredible graphics and animations make the game look like an actual game of baseball
- Career mode’s narrative approach makes it feel like you’re watching an ESPN documentary
- Critical Situations allows you to play through multiple seasons without taking up your personal life
- MLB Network Broadcast presentation and commentary add to the incredible presentation
- Diamond Dynasty mode a tad complicated
- Learning curve for new players to get used to