I had never bought a baseball game quite like MLB The Show 18. It had stunning graphics, solid gameplay mechanics for a sports game, all the teams and players from the MLB past and new that made me want to play nonstop. For the last year, I played that game at least two times a week and it never got old. Bring me back to the days of MVP Baseball 2004 with Manny Ramirez on the cover, and that might be the only time I put more time into a baseball game. Needless to say, when they announced MLB The Show 19, I immediately pre-ordered and waited patiently for March 26th to arrive. After playing MLB The Show 19 for a few weeks, I can say that I like the game, but I am not as in love with it as I was with last year’s model, which is evident in my lack of progress. Just like the Red Sox, I am off to a super slow start. Let’s check out why.
MLB The Show 19 is a flashy game with new and old modes alike that’ll have fans intrigued from the first start up the game. Some of the new modes include March to October and Moments. Off the bat, I can say that I genuinely like these modes and think they are fun, quick ways to play some MLB. With the cover athlete Bryce Harper as the main focus for many things in this edition, I first tried out the new mode of Moments to see if it was something I could get behind.
Moments is a really cool concept in which you will gets to relive some incredible MLB history in the form of at-bats, innings, games or even a series of games. You have a goal to achieve, which is usually to accomplish the same “Moment” as the person or team you are playing as. It was really cool when I got to try and crush a home run with Jose Bautista and flip my bat in victory, just like I remember on SportsCenter a few years back. Moments is a fun mode because if you fail, it doesn’t take you back to a start screen, you get to retry the moment instantly. I really like this mode, however, some of the Moments took 20-30 or even 40 minutes to accomplish, which really frustrated me. Honestly, I turned off
MLB The Show 19 a couple of times after not being able to hit a grand slam with a particular Phillies player who has a tough time hitting home runs. Even so, this is a new and cool addition to the long-running franchise.
The other new mode I checked out was the March to October. You follow a team through their season trying to make the playoffs. Each team has a trajectory, and it is your job to play key moments in the season, whether it is a key at-bat or a full game. I picked the Red Sox, who had high expectations and were under pressure to win over 100 games. This was a quicker way to play a season because it skipped some games, allowed you to play half games and put some pressure on winning every time you got the chance. I liked this mode a lot but it still took forever to get to the playoffs, and since playoff games are full games, it takes super long to get through again. I get that baseball takes a while to play but having to commit to an hour each time you want to make a couple of games progress takes way too long.
Overall I like the new modes. I think they are fresh and different enough to constitute a new game. However, what I have been most disappointed by is my favorite mode, Diamond Dynasty, and how it has evolved from last year. I always say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Last year, I really enjoyed the Diamond Dynasty because it made sense. You had some players, some tasks, and you unlocked players and their programs to unlock better things. This year seems a lot more confusing and daunting. I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do half the time besides play more games and level up. The packs that you get from earning stubs are also enraging, maybe because I literally never get any good players. But either way, I don’t like the way they set up rewards for the Diamond Dynasty, and that really soured me on the whole game.
Graphics and gameplay also seem to be a bit off this year. I don’t know how but this year, the graphics seem even goofier than years past. Many of the people in the stands get stuck in this weird matrix of movements, which is often distracting. The players look grainy and pixelated most of the time, and my game often has to catch up with what is supposed to be happening, which makes a game based on reaction time a challenge. The biggest difference I noticed this year is in the fielding mechanics. I noticed that they are more realistic but at the same time somehow not. The fielders have a new icon under them, showing their skill level at the position, some are bronze, while others are silver and gold, and the best are diamond.. This is supposed to determine how they react to hit balls, fielding skills and more. I noticed that even my best fielders have botched a ton of easy ground balls, causing this animation of fumbling around the ground, way too often. This almost never happened in the last installment of The Show. Now it happens twice a game, at least. It is just very frustrating to not make a play because
MLB The Show 19 decides that this is the random time the player isn’t going to make a routine play.
Overall, I like MLB The Show 19. It has some fresh new modes, updated rosters, and still has that fun gameplay that The Show is known for. For me, I love baseball, so this is a blast. Is it better than last year? Maybe I am just trying to get used to change, but so far, I feel like I enjoyed last year a bit more. Even so, as the only MLB official game on any gaming system, MLB The Show 19 is still a step in the right direction and is a must-have for major baseball fans around the world. So everybody, play ball!