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Max Rosenfeld

MLB The Show 18 Hits It Out of the Park

MLB The Show is back an in stores tomorrow. Max Rosenfeld gives his first impressions on the latest entry into the preeminent digital baseball franchise.

For fans who pre-ordered the highly anticipated video game via Gamestop or the PlayStation Store, MLB The Show 18 was released Thursday at midnight. The game offers mostly the same principle modes as in year’s past but has implemented modifications in the gameplay and the way in which the modes are navigated about. This year’s game is the most significant upgrade in the MLB The Show Series in several installations. It is clean, immersive, visually stunning, and just downright fun. So what should fans look for in this year’s game that is different than in years past?

Gameplay

The first thing fans will notice about The Show this year is that the actual gameplay feels different. The game’s developers spent a lot of time working on different animations and enhanced ball physics, and it definitely shows. Balls now fly off the bat more naturally and there are less awkwardly hit weak ground balls, which will become very apparent to players who purchase The Show every year. MLB The Show 18 moves even closer to a real baseball simulation, wiping away many of the kinks that have plagued versions of the game in recent years (it’s no longer an automatic stolen base on any pitch that hits the ground!).

Graphics

Not only does The Show feel like a real baseball game, it looks like one too. It’s apparent that a significant amount of time was spent making each ballpark feel unique. Camera angles within the game often showcase the special features that each ballpark offers, making every game you play feel a little bit different than the last. Fans in the crowd have even received an upgrade and now look more realistic than ever.

Uniforms also pop more in The Show 18, which makes for some fantastic replay animations when coupled with the revamped physics engine. The game’s presentation looks and feels like the truest to the sport version of any of the major sports video games — yeah, it’s that good.

Interface

Frequent players will be pleased to discover that The Show 18 has toyed around with its menu interface in all modes of the game. The new interface is far more user-friendly than in year’s past, and it is much easier to glide from mode to mode and setting to setting than it was in The Show 17. Everything is right in front of you, plain as day.

Player Ratings

It’s also important to note that the player rating algorithm has been drastically altered. Players are now rated on a generally lower scale, which means that there are very few players rated at a 90 overall or above. Many of the baseball’s brightest stars do not have ratings that exceed 85. Players in The Show 18 do not perform at a decreased level, however. It appears as though the shift in the way the players are rated was made simply for categorical purposes and to enhance the legitimacy of the many legend cards that were added to this year’s game.

Diamond Dynasty

Diamond Dynasty, one of the most popular modes in the game, benefits from all of these upgrades and more. The Show 18 offers more than 30 new legends for users to add to their DD teams. The mode is certainly aided by the new user-friendly interface and upgraded server system, which makes for more noticeably smoother games when playing online. There are fun and interesting ways to play this card-collecting mode, such as Ranked Seasons, Immortal Missions in which you unlock some of the best players the game has ever seen, Conquests, and Battle Royale. Diamond Dynasty is one of those modes that users can spend constant time on for weeks without being intrigued by an interesting feature, making it one of the most appealing parts of The Show 18.

Franchise Mode

I’ve always felt that Franchise Mode in The Show was one of the more lacking aspects of the series. Now, I can say that it is without a doubt one of its strengths.

The Show 18 offers a franchise mode more similar to NBA 2K and Madden in that it is broken down into very specific phases within the season that allows the user to take total control over a franchise without feeling overwhelmed. A user can have as much or as little to do with the organization’s operations as they wish. Franchise Mode in The Show 18 feels like a total overhaul without actually being one because of it’s ability to take advantage of all of the other upgrades in the game, such as the navigational interface, improved gameplay, and terrific graphics.

Overview

For the diehard baseball fan, this game is an absolute buy. You’ll find yourself hooked almost immediately. MLB The Show 18 is the best video game the series has ever offered and will keep users playing for a very long time.

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Max is a student at Saint Joseph's University where he is a Communication Studies major. He is a contributing writer for Baseknock MLB and the host of the Payoff Pitch Podcast, which airs every Tuesday morning.

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