MLB The Show 23 PS5 Review. It’s that time of year again. Finish your hotdog and get ready to step up to the plate. MLB The Show 23 is here and PlayStation Universe sees if it will manage to swing for the fences in our PS5 review.
MLB The Show 23 Review (PS5) – A Slice of Baseball’s History Revitalizes San Diego Studio’s Annual Sporting Series
We’re now several editions into the PS5 era of MLB The Show. That should mean any bumps in the road have been smoothed out and the series should be at top speed after a generational transition. Well, as much as there can be in the aggressively annual nature of sports games anyway. MLB The Show 23 doesn’t mark some great sea change of ideals nor does it stay stock still. In many ways, it’s the best you can really hope for. A refinement of some good stuff, and the introduction of something new and interesting to sit alongside the old favorites.
In all honesty, if you were to come to MLB The Show 23 having skipped a few years, you wouldn’t notice a lot different. It’s an improvement by a thousand cuts (and tweaks). For the constant baller, there’s a distinguishable, yet subtle change to the package. The presentation is just a bit sleeker. The options are a little denser, and the thwack of the bat on a ball is just that bit more satisfying. Of course, that also means some underlying grievances haven’t been properly addressed. For instance, Diamond Dynasty is a little more palatable thanks to most game modes contributing to your progress in it to some degree, but it’s still not without a few of its fundamental flaws.
Still, when compared to many sports franchises, San Diego Studio has a pretty damn sweet batting average. The bar is naturally higher for a series that doesn’t really drop levels quite as significantly as EA Sports and 2K’s sporting efforts have. So even at its worst, you’re still getting a good baseball game. Even if San Diego Studio suffered fatigue from going again and again, it never seems to lose that spark of joy it has for the sport.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in one of the new features for MLB The Show 23. Storylines spotlight specific stars and moments in baseball history, and for this edition of it, we have the stories of eight black baseball stars (such as Jackie Robinson and John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil ) and their impact on the sport.
These stories are superbly presented, insightful, and refreshing. Each story documents the hardships these players endured during a time of deliberate segregation from the formation of the Negro League. Moments in these men’s careers are recalled with enthusiasm by narrator Bob Kendrick via documentary-style videos designed to educate.
It’s been quite some time since a sports game has truly felt like it was digging into the past with genuine feeling. There’s something underwhelming about the use of ‘legend’ players and historical tidbits for many sports titles in modern gaming. Most of it is fashioned to serve as juicy bait for monetary hooks rather than as educational tools that show passion for a sport beyond tribalism. San Diego Studio’s Storylines mode is the perfect antidote to that.
It shows that just because you have annual targets to hit, it doesn’t mean staleness, comfort, and monetization should be the lynchpins of each edition. I doubt you’ll stop these issues in sports games as long as the model remains lucrative, but I’m glad to see a studio using that stability and success to really celebrate the sport that brings in the cash every year. My fondness for baseball is nothing compared to the passion many hold for the sport, but if Storylines continues to be a feature of MLB The Show going forward, I feel I’m going to learn to love a lot more about the sport and the games.
For the Love Of The Game
In general, MLB The Show 23 is just a fantastically varied package that caters to a wide variety of playstyles, timescales, and ability levels. I really dig the snack-sized nature of March to October, and I’ve yet to boot up a Home Run Derby and be disappointed. When the mood for something deeper takes me, MLB The Show 23 has that remarkable simulation style that only improves with extra polish year on year.
And that’s why this is a franchise that can get away with justifying an annual release a little more than the rest. The core of it has remained rock solid for years, and each new edition tends to bring something else to the table, however small that might be. This year that addition is in no way small. Storylines freshens up The Show with its sincere historical recollections of important moments within the sport. Another string has been added to the baseball giant’s already impressive bow.
MLB The Show 23 is out now for PS4, PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.