The show must go on – in video game form at least. Find out what we thought in our MLB The Show 20 Review!
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Sony Interactive Entertainment Canada for review purposes*
|Release Date||March 17, 2020|
|Developer||SIE San Diego|
I’ve been playing the MLB The Show series for the past decade or so and I’ve always been really impressed by just how steady the series is. You never get huge flashy updates but the game always seems to grab you with the little details and that continues this year with a few small tweaks to customization in Franchise Mode and gameplay while bringing Custom Leagues in so that you can play a league with your friends along with a new Showdown Mode in Diamond Dynasty. MLB The Show 20 definitely has a lot to offer for every type of baseball fan.
I’m going to talk about the gameplay tweaks first off because I feel like these are the most notable changes to the game that this year’s game has to offer aside from the new modes. The biggest improvement has to be the new “Perfect, Perfect” hits which reward you when you have perfect timing and a perfect swing. This leads to more home runs, line drives, and generally a better BABIP. This is something that really helped me out a lot because I always felt like my timing and swing were pretty good, but I never felt that rewarded for that in The Show. This year I feel like hitting is a bit more based on skill and less on luck.
Outfielding also received some small improvements this year to go along with the rather large overhaul from last year. Outfielders react much more naturally this year in that the better fielders tend to get a good jump on the ball and don’t have an issue making the play for an out. As you start out in Road to the Show, for example, it’s a crapshoot on whether or not your players in the outfield are going to make the smart play because they aren’t as skilled. I’ve seen multiple players drop the ball, take the wrong first step, lose the ball on the warning track, miss the catch on a dive, and much more. Star players make much better plays and generally don’t make many errors. You’ll also see them make many more highlight-reel catches.
Franchise Mode hasn’t changed a whole lot this year which is a bit sad. I feel like I say this in every review but I just don’t know what else you can really add to Franchise Mode that will make it that much better. As always, you can control every aspect of your time or put most of it on auto-pilot and play the games. The great thing about this year is that The Show has brought over all the customization from Diamond Dynasty including the ability to create a logo for your team. The logo creator still needs some work but you can download some logos from the vault if you really want to. The annoyance about creating a custom team is that you still can’t create a ballpark and your season goals are also based on a real team. It just felt like you were using a cosmetic shell over a real-life team which felt like a band-aid rather than a solution.
The good thing is that Minor League rosters are now in full effect which leaves way fewer instances of made-up players being shuffled through MiLB and gives players the opportunity to craft their team with players they’ll know from the top of the organization to the bottom. It’s kind of amazing that MLB The Show 20 included it because baseball has probably the biggest pool of players out of any sport so it was a huge undertaking.
It’s amazing to me in a negative way the Custom Leagues didn’t end up being the multiplayer Franchise Mode that everyone has been clamoring for. Sure, you can play with your friends and that’s great but a lot of the micro-managing and customization has been taken away from this mode making it a shell of what people actually wanted. It’s a cool mode that I’m sure some people will love but it’s very basic when you’re comparing it to Franchise and that will be a death knell for it.
Unfortunately, Road to the Show is basically the same as last year to the point that I wondered if they had change anything at all. The only thing that really did change is the fact there’s now a marker on the field that shows you when one of your actions is affecting another teammate. You can also now choose an affinity to a certain team that all but ensures you’ll be drafted by them and gives you a specific reward progression track.
Diamond Dynasty returns with tons of rewards that you can carry over to other modes in the game. You can even earn a lot of these rewards by doing practically anything in the game which is something I wish other sports games would introduce. There’s even a new mode in Diamond Dynasty this year called Showdown. The nice thing about this mode is that it doesn’t require you to progress in Diamond Dynasty to get a lot out of it. The mode consists of bite-sized challenges which I love for days when I don’t have a lot of time. These are things like, “take the lead in the 9th” inning or other little things like that. You can even face off against bosses and mini-bosses in former star players which are a really nice touch to me.
March to October now includes a momentum system that changes how your team fares between moments if you’re winning or losing a lot. It’s something that should have been part of the mode from the beginning but it’s nice to see it implemented here considering this is the mode it makes the most sense with.
Graphically the game looks as good as it ever has. The players are probably the best they’ve ever looked and each one has its own distinct personality. The atmosphere of the parks is amazing as always and the commentary and presentation continue to be top-notch. It’s a game that makes me really feel like I’m in the ballpark which is so important.
MLB The Show 20 didn’t reinvent the wheel here but it made some very good gameplay tweaks that have improved the already stellar gameplay. Custom Leagues and Showdown were a couple of good additions that give players more modes to tinker with while Diamond Dynasty is starting to reward you for your gameplay in every facet of the game which can only be a good thing.
|Showdown Mode is great||Custom Leagues lack features|
|Awesome gameplay improvements||RTTS stays the same|
|Diamond Dynasty rewards for all types of gameplay|