Thursday, March 22, 2018

"MLB The Show 18" Review

The dev team behind "MLB The Show 18" faces much the same quandary as the "Madden" squad. Being the only game in town has both its perks and drawbacks. With no competition to push the product, the only major comparison is the previous year's product.

Which makes it all the more impressive how many leaps the "MLB The Show" franchise continues to take each year.

Like its cover athlete, Aaron Judge, the game looms large and in charge, able to display the patience and laser-precision accuracy to wait for its pitch and crush it over the fence.

While each of the improvements are generally incremental, they combine as a whole to account for a goliath, Judge-like, bat-flipping trot around the base paths. The franchise mode is more detailed and intricate, the visuals are subtly more rich and detailed and the Road to the Show mode is graced with more options and subtleties.

My favorite upgrade involves the ability to toggle into retro mode -- which gives you a Super NES-style perspective and control scheme -- before any game against the AI. From Spring Training through the playoffs, you can opt for the complexities and precision of the current controls or revert back to grip-it-and-rip-it 16-bit-esque style mode.

Another welcome addition is the optional addition of past superstars into franchise mode, signable as free agents you can sign or face off against. From Babe Ruth and Pee Wee Reese to Don Sutton and Troy Percival, the addition of the famed players enriches the game's sense of history.

Likewise, the in-game commentary is peppered with applicable banter that touches on both real-life and in-game developments, making the between-pitches patter seem genuine and organic.

Taken as a package, "MLB The Show 18" is yet another impressive at-bat for the batter with the big stick. As much of a rite of spring passage as the smell of freshly cut grass and the giddiness of hearing it's time for pitchers and catchers to report, the game is a resonant treat for baseball die-hards and casual fans alike.
Publisher provided review code.

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