MLB The Show 18 arrives March 27, and with it comes a sense of hype unlike some of the recent offerings in the series.
The biggest reason? A revamped “Road to The Show” mode from developer Sony San Diego.
This year’s edition of the classic franchise throws the word “progression” at fans early and often because players can no longer turn the slider up on ratings—a created character’s journey through the minor leagues and up into the pros is directly tied to performance on the field.
A new video walks would-be players through the features, from the player-creation process to on-field play and how skills develop as a result:
It was only a matter of time before the series started taking a page out of the NBA 2K series, this time doing so with player archetypes. These provide depth and replayability to an already-fresh game mode because each archetype features a cap on certain skills to realistically reflect the created character’s role on the field.
As hinted, player performance directly ties into how a created character’s career goes, as explained by senior game designer Steve Merka: “You will be able to track these gains, both during the game, as they happen, and at the end of the game, on the Base Gains screen. The hope is that both you and your player improve together, as you play.”
Road to The Show isn’t the only mode receiving some love this year.
Franchise mode returns with hinted new additions we’ll learn soon. There’s also Diamond Dynasty, which lets players collect historical figures from the sport’s past:
Babe Ruth and a bevy of others are listed there for readers who want to slow down the video—like NBA 2K games as of late, the ability to play with legends spanning generations is a nice touch.
Rounding out the total package is three-inning games and retro mode, which are exactly what they sound like:
It wouldn’t be another sporting release without quality-of-life improvements, and Sony San Diego delivers here as well.
The developers haven’t been shy about listing some of these. Outside of the obvious graphical improvements, players can expect upgrades in dynamic crowds, new animations overall and better physics.
Perhaps most important of all, MLB The Show 18 takes a cue from games like Madden and features all commentators recording dialogue together. Mark DeRosa is the new mainstay on the call after one year of Harold Reynolds, and joining him is the tandem of Matt Vasgersian and Dan Plesac.
There is a give and take in this sequel as well when it comes to missing features. Online franchise mode is out, though so are microtransactions. Losing the former will be a tough pill to swallow for some fans, but if it means better long-term online stability and a more robust mode itself in future iterations, it could be a positive in the end.
From the early indications, MLB The Show 18 is another epic offering for fans of the series and is fresh and welcoming enough to usher in new players with the same list of features and gameplay.
Playing the strong base game itself has never been a problem, so it isn’t hard to understand why there is so much buzz about this release after the developers focused on its most popular modes.
Fans can get their hands on the release March 27.
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