The Show is back! With more customizations for players, game modes, playable players from the present and the past, and more! MLB The Show 16 does what it does every year, improve just about everything! Along with these improvements on what was established in last year’s game, there are brand new addition to this year’s game.
The visuals in this game take big leaps every year and have yet to let the players down. From how great it looks this year, it’s hard to think of what it will look like next year. One thing they improved on in MLB 15: The Show was the lighting on the field. Unfortunately, this improvement backfired a little, especially in PNC Park, but this year fixed all of the glitches and doesn’t disappoint. Not only did the stadiums improve, players themselves did also. From the looks of it, there are more movements on the players’ jerseys, more hairstyles, running styles and what has become a bigger celebratory discussion in the Major Leagues, the batter’s reaction to hitting a home run. There aren’t too many, and I personally was looking for a “gigantic bat flip” but unfortunately there was no option for that.
Diamond Dynasty is back in MLB The Show and added something probably everyone wanted after MLB 15: The Show, and that is now you can play against your friends instead of random players online. You can finally show off that dominant roster you have and leaving your friend in awe from how you acquired so many big names. You start off by picking a Captain, which you will then complete challenges this Captain issues you to unlock stubs and tickets, which are used to purchase unique items. You can choose between cover-boy Josh Donaldson, “The deGrominator” Jacob deGrom, Jose Altuve, Anthony Rizzo, Eric Hosmer, and Big Papi himself, David Ortiz. There are also a couple of game modes added within Diamond Dynasty, Battle Royale and Conquest Mode.
In Battle Royale, you draft your team. Each round you are given four cards to pick from, all in the same tier each round (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Unranked) and you make 25 picks. It is a lot like Draft Champions in this year’s Madden 16. You attempt to win as many games as possible before you are defeated two times, which will then erase your team and leave you to start over. The more wins you get before getting reset, the better the cards you unlock for your team. Each game you play in this mode is only three innings long, which makes losing a little easier so you aren’t wasting all that time just to lose in the bottom of the ninth, no one likes that. The first team you draft is free, after that you have to use in-game currency (Stubs) to buy back in to draft another team.
Then there is Conquest, if you have ever enjoyed playing RISK, then this game mode is worth a try. Conquest is a turn-based game in which you attempt to take over the map with your fans. Your fans are your “soldiers” and they are wagered while attacking enemy fanbases. To take other teams’ fans, you must attack the other teams stronghold. These are also three inning long games and the harder the difficulty you play against, the bigger the fan amount you steal from them. If you mess up early, or late, you can restart the Conquest at any time.
Road to the Show has also been improved and the biggest improvement I have to say is the the simulation in game. If you happened to get on base, you now do not have to watch every single pitch, it fast-forwards to the pitch that something is going to happen. Also, after finishing a game, you are given the choice to return to the RTTS screen or move onto the next game, which takes almost no time. These simulations cut down so much time on the unwanted waiting screens, you can get lost in these games and end up playing 10 games in the time it takes to play two sometimes.
Before you get drafted in RTTS, your player participated in a scout day, which measures your player’s 40-yard dash time (which there is no drill for), hitting drills and fielding drills (which is what you do participate in). Once your player becomes affiliated with a franchise, passive perks and consumables can now be selected for your player. Once a game, your player can use one consumable, which can give you an easy pitch to take a swing at, or making contact with the ball will keep it in play, and more. You do not get to choose when passive perks are used. Passive perks automatically activate in certain scenarios throughout the ballgame. Even though using the perks sound all good, it does take a part of a new feature away, and that feature is the ShowTime meter. The ShowTime meter can only be used once per game, so you have to choose wisely when to use it. Whether it is batting, where it will slow down the pitch and let you get your timing perfect. Or, you can use it to make sweet diving catches or even get into scoring position late in the game by stealing a base. Also, I know what you are thinking, “This feature could ruin online play against people.” Well luckily, the ShowTime feature is only used in RTTS. If you feel like this feature is too unfair and want to stick to the realism part of the game, you do not have to use it at all.
Now onto the new and improved Franchise mode, which is always my favorite game mode. Players’ morale FINALLY plays a factor in The Show! If a batter thinks he is batting too well to be eighth in the batting order, he could become upset and his morale will go down, or even if a starter gets moved to the bullpen, or just pulled too early from a game could decrease their morale. This also makes free agency more entertaining. Let’s say you have Jeurys Familia as your closer, and you see Mark Melancon as a free agent and would like to improve your bullpen and put Melancon as a set-up pitcher. Players now have preferred positions and playing time which you can see while making an offer. If Melancon wants to be a closer and you offer him a set-up man position, this will decrease his interest since he is not being offered the closer’s role. If a player becomes angry or upset, their overall will decrease. Other factors that will affect morale is how far they will be playing away from home, and also the team’s performance.
Another nice little thing added to making free agency better is that they took away the “out-of-nowhere” signings. For instance, if you were the top interest for a players for three weeks and the next day they sign with someone who was not even in the top three in offers, this has finally come to an end. Another feature added to Franchise mode is the stat tracking. This game keeps track of almost all stats now! OOOOOOOO YEAHHHHHHH (Macho Man voice) do I love me some stat tracking, you think of a stat, this game has got it.
Would I recommend buying it? HELL YES. Year after year MLB The Show has yet to disappoint me. I am going to say it – no sports game compares to this game. Any baseball fan would fall in love with this game at first pitch. The new game modes and features keep surprising me year after year, and they nailed it this year. I usually like giving the soundtrack its own section in my review but all I would say is new year, new songs and I LOVE IT.
Just about everything.
Base-running effort (minor)
Fielding view in RTTS