It’s the early days of a new year and it’s time for the annual round of sports games. As such comes the 2017 edition of MLB the Show, but if you’re intimidated by a game with this many iterations, don’t worry, MLB hasn’t left us behind with their baseball game for the year.
Having not touched a baseball game in nearly a decade, MLB might have been tough for a newbie, but the game starts off with a fantastic tutorial of each phase of the game allowing the controls to be shaped by your preferences. The control schemes are significantly different for each element of the game and it lets you choose by allowing you to play a few balls of each. This allows you to dabble and choose which playstyle is comfortable to you. This includes elements such as the fielding or base running which can be set to be automatic if you choose, allowing you to concentrate on mastering the pitching and batting.
A major appeal with sports games these days are their attempts on role playing game elements and this comes in MLB the Show with Road to the Show. This mode allows you to use a surprisingly deeply customised player down to the music, where you try to get yourself drafted and survive in the MLB. It was fun enough and deep enough to be engaging, whilst being attention grabbing for a long time. The Diamond Dynasty mode allows you to craft your own team. This is done by earning collection cards to get better players and keep going. This mode is a lot of fun, but requires a lot of grinding. The grinding is eased by the games themselves being a lot shorter, which also contributes to a more arcade fun feeling.
A gem in this year’s iteration is the retro mode. This mode uses older game mechanics, with some older graphics like the stats on the screen, elements of the pitch, older uniforms and old animations like moving players not moving their legs. This mixed with good graphics such as the players, is jarring and hilarious. There were many chuckles to be had playing a couple of rounds of this game thanks to how bonkers the whole mode is. Admittedly it gets old quick but it’s a fun little addition and could be a laugh with some mates.
Online worked surprisingly well and consistently. There was the odd connection issue, though it’s always tough to know if that’s the game or your opponent’s internet connection. Of the few online sessions, the game was a blast to play, even with opponents whooping butt harder than the AI did.
Aesthetically the game is surprisingly gorgeous, outside of retro mode that is. The players look great and the grounds look solid. Having played a few sports games a low bar is usually anticipated for the graphics but MLB The Show 17 well exceeded those expectations. The game’s sound, unfortunately isn’t as great as the game, especially the commentators, which was brutally annoying throughout the game. The game’s music was fine, but nothing to write home about.
8.5/10 – MLB The Show 17 is a great game to get stuck into, with as much or as little depth as you want. With fun game modes and welcoming control customisation, even someone with little to no experience should be able to find a lot of fun in this year’s iteration of the series.