Wednesday, March 27, 2019

"MLB 19 The Show" Review

Without genuine competition to demand innovation, the "MLB The Show" franchise needs to rely on its own standards as benchmarks. Thus, SIE San Diego Studio never feels the heat of a rival chasing it in the standings and tends to stay more conservative than innovative.

"MLB The Show 19" isn't afraid to shake up the established formula, but its improvements are small and safe enough to go unnoticed by all but the most observant baseball-obsessed gamers.

Like cover star Bryce Harper, the game is flashy and packed with potential. And at times, frustratingly erratic.

Leading off is one of the most comprehensive and genuinely helpful tutorials in any recent sports title. After selecting your favorite team and choosing "experienced" or "beginner" as your difficulty level, you play through an entire World Series game between the Dodgers and Red Sox.

A flow of pop-up boxes guides you through the finer points of pitching, fielding and hitting, subtly mentioning breakthroughs in gameplay that allow you to refine your skills, taking advantage of the new systems in place to grant you more influence than ever before on gameplay mechanics.

Continuing to build on successes of the past, SIE San Diego Studio channels numerous upgrades into its single-player, franchise and season modes.

Gameplay refinements make it possible to plow through a standard game in a half hour or less, and a fascinating "Moments" mode lets you play through some of MLB's watershed scenarios. Lavish period detail goes far toward selling the authenticity of the period presentation. With the promise of new moments replicating 2019 season highlights, there is plenty to love and look forward to here.

As is the case with most sports games, there isn't much of an impetus to coax casual players to re-up year after year. Maybe a narrative-driven RPG or adventure game-style side mode like that of "Madden" or NBA 2K" would have done the trick.

What you get here, though, packs loads of mid-lineup punch and won't leave any serious baseball fans caught looking. A celebration of what makes baseball great, "MLB 19 The Show" is crafted lovingly and crammed with enough delights to keep you coming back all season. From the crack of the bat to the cut of the virtual grass and roar of the crowd, the game manages to deliver that "play ball" smile to your face.
Publisher provided review code.

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