MLB The Show 16 Review – Baseball at its Best

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The baseball season is in full swing and that means developer San Diego Studio has this year’s edition of MLB The Show  16 ready to go. Should you step up to the plate and buy it, or are you better off sticking with last season’s edition?

Read our review to find out.

Springtime is here and that means the boys of summer are lacing up their cleats, loosening up their gloves, and are ready to play ball. That also means it’s time for the next edition of our favorite baseball game. MLB The Show 16 is here. Slight name readjustment this year, and most won’t even recognize it, but that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new bells and whistles.

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The folks over at SCE San Diego Studio know how to make a baseball game and they know how to make it look pretty. Graphics have always been a great selling point for the franchise and being a first party studio means they don’t need to worry about any platforms other than PlayStation and they can tailor everything for theose consoles. Sadly the PS Vita gets no love this year as there is no MLB The Show 16 available for it, but at least there is remote play for PS Vita and PS4 owners. Still, as launch PS Vita owners, it’s sad to us, and maybe a little telling, that even first party studios are dropping support for the powerful little handheld. Could that be the sound of a death knell for the machine? We certainly hope not.

Player models have been slightly updated from past versions of the game, and the guyliner that players were wearing seems to be gone now. The hair still has a tendency to look like someone put a ton of gel in it and isn’t very flexible. While bushy beards look great in a still shot, they look like dangerous porcupine needles when the player is in motion. Hopefully the new slide rules will keep someone from being impaled by a beard at second base. Also updated were player animations, walk-off celebrations, home run high fives, and there’s even the silent treatment in the dug-out now. Quite a few things were added and/or updated to give the game a more life-like feel.

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Our favorite mode has always been the Road to the Show and new some features gives the mode even more of a RPG feel to it. Your RTTS characters can once again be imported from MLB 15 The Show into MLB The Show 16, so if you had a guy from MLB 14 The Show imported into MLB 15, you could be deep into a lengthy career. We have both a pitcher and a right fielder that have made the transition from MLB 14 all the way to MLB 16 and some new added features makes them even better than they already were.

The new Perk system gives your player some added tools and attributes to help enhance their gameplay in a variety of ways once their skill level reaches a specific threshold. For a pitcher, things like added energy after a strike out or even a boost for an extra wind when you get tired can be the difference between a complete game or a short night. Each perk is worth a certain amount of Showtime points and you only have 120 to spend, so choose wisely.

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Your Road to the Show is not only enhanced by the new perk system, but there’s also presentations around your first game at each level (i.e. AA, AAA and MLB) that gives you a feeling of accomplishment that hasn’t always been there for the series. Being greeted in the dugout by one of the stars of a team when you first make it to The Show is how it should be.

Diamond Dynasty also got some new bells and whistles. In Conquest Mode, a single player online experience, you take your squad on the road, conquering territories and expanding your fan base in what goes from a turn-based strategy game to a three inning match-up with MLB teams around the country. Conquering a stronghold of a team leads to great rewards, but if your fan base is low, beating them on Legend difficulty is no easy task.

There’s also the new Battle Royale mode which is very similar to Madden NFL’s Draft Champions, where you’ll have 25 rounds to draft an entire baseball team using cards presented to you. There will be a small number of studs to choose from, a handful of good players, and a bunch of middling players. Building a team around a few studs is the key to a decent team, but other players are in the same type of draft system so the playing field is generally pretty level. Your first draft is free but once you’ve lost a couple of games and are eliminated, it will cost you 1500 Stubs thereafter.

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MLB The Show 16 continues the upward trend of the franchise by adding some much needed bells and whistles to a game that was already one of the best sports franchises around. The only drawback to the success of the series has to be the masses that want to go online and play it. The game has been plagued with online issues from launch, with even the game’s website being unavailable at times. The developers have been hard at work addressing the issues and have already released the first patch for the game, and have given free stuff to everyone that has played online.

It’s impossible to make a perfectly flawless video game, but SCE San Diego Studio has went above and beyond in making MLB The Show 16 and if not for the online issues and glitches, this is about as close as you can get.

Don’t be afraid to step up to the plate. You won’t be disappointed.