Written by Jon Scarr
With the Major League Baseball season just underway, it’s time to break out your baseball bat, glove, and ball with MLB The Show 17—available exclusively on PlayStation 4. Developed by the team over at San Diego Studios, MLB The Show 17 packs big changes to Road To The Show, Diamond Dynasty and Franchise modes, and the addition of Retro Mode. Read more in our MLB The Show 17 Review.
Quite possibly one of the best baseball simulation games ever, let’s take a look at how MLB The Show 17 ups the ante over last years’ game.
When you are the only simulation baseball game on the market, it can be difficult to avoid falling into a state of complacency. Sometimes it seems as if yearly sports titles are nothing more than roster updates from developers, and that can be a major turn off for potential players.
It’s been four years since MLB The Show has been the only choice for baseball fans looking for a true simulation, and since then the franchise has done a n amazing job of improving year after year.
The franchise’s three main modes Road To The Show, Franchise, and Diamond Dynasty all return to MLB The Show 17—each one of them seeing improvements in various ways.
Out of all the modes, Road To The Show has arguably seen the most improvements this year. It has been changed to a full fledged RPG style mode, and is now shown as if you are watching a documentary.
The narrator describes a situation that is playing out on the screen, while you have the ability to select dialogue responses via a conversation window on the screen. From doing what is good for the team to looking out for yourself as a player, you now have various ways to advance your career.
Honestly, I found that the new dialogue options in Road To The Show to became repetitive after several hours of play, and often zoned out because of the predictable nature of events.
Franchise mode doesn’t contain much in terms of big new features—but the additions do help you if you are looking to progress through seasons quicker. You can play through games locked down on a specific player and use the new quick manage feature that allows you to act as a manager without ever stepping on the field.
Additionally, you can take part in major moments of a specific game via the new critical situations option that stops a game sim when something needs your attention. The new player quirks also offer a new way to manage your team, as they help you better understand the type of players of your roster and who you may want or not want to target in the future.
Diamond Dynasty, while much the same as last year, gets a number of small yet rewarding improvements. First, the customization options for your team have improved greatly—allowing you to have the most unique team possible.
Furthermore, the logo creation tools are one of the best in-game creation tools across any sports game. In addition, Diamond Dynasty features over 2000 player cards to collect and a number of new ways to earn XP cards and stubs throughout—without the need to invest more money.
For those new to MLB The Show franchise, Diamond Dynasty is very similar to the Ultimate Team mode from EA Sports games. I’d have to say that Diamond Dynasty contains one of the best card based modes in a sports game.
The new major addition to MLB The Show 17 is Retro mode, which allows you to just pickup and play. Available only as a quick play mode, Retro mode is perfect when you want to play with friends that don’t really care about the finer aspects of baseball.
Other modes such as Challenge of the Week, Online Franchise, and Home Run Derby are also present in MLB The Show 17.
Online play is pretty much the same as it has been for the past several games. Occasional lag when fielding, pitching or taking swings can cause hard ache. Though I must say, since MLB The Show 17’s release—online play has improved and hopefully with some updates and patches most of the problems can be fixed.
When it comes to presentation, MLB The Show 17 is spot on in recreating the actual baseball experience. Matt Vasgersian returns as voice of MLB The Show, and two new members join the broadcast booth, Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac. The addition of two new voices and tandem with the full MLB Network broadcast branding increases the overall authenticity of a real baseball game that only MLB The Show 17 can offer.
It’s important to note, now that MLB The Show is no longer releasing on the PlayStation 3, it is easy to see how much more the developers were able to get out of the PlayStation 4 with MLB The Show 17. You can really tell the difference visually between last year’s game and MLB The Show 17. Players look more detailed than ever before, and it is as if the game has jumped to the next generation of hardware.
Replays allow you to browse ballparks and zoom in and out on players during different moments. It really highlights just how incredible the game looks. From the batting physics to the numerous new animations, you can see that focusing on one version of the game makes a big difference.
In order to score some runs, you are going to have to hit the ball. You may find yourself swinging a lot and striking out. In MLB the Show 17 each pitcher has a unique pitching motion. Keep a close eye on the ball as it leaves the pitchers hand so you can time your hits.
Don’t be afraid to bunt, it’s one of the most underutilized skills in MLB The Show 17. If you have a runner on third and less than two outs, bunting will give you a good chance of getting that run.
About the Author: Jon Scarr
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who loves all things gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been in love with technology and gaming for over 20 years. Come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter.