MLB The Show 23 Review
It’s opening day for the MLB, which means warmer weather and sunshine are heading our way. Overpriced beer and hot dogs all around, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks and all that stuff. Oh, yea and MLB the Show 23 is out now of course. The best way to experience all the thrills of the sport, and arguably much more entertaining than watching it on TV.
As expected, The Show 23 once again is hands down the best-looking sports game available, rivaled only by a few racing games I would say. The added detail to this year’s facial animations, dirt on jerseys, etc. brings a new level to the game. While not a major graphical jump like last year’s version (which makes sense) this takes the amazing foundation and retools it just a bit to give it some extra polish.
The game will feel familiar as soon as you start MLB The Show 23. This isn’t surprising as the engine is the same, but several improvements have been made under the hood. Moreover, the new features in this year’s release include brand-new storylines. This is honestly where the game shines the most for me. Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick stunningly narrates this year’s spotlight new game mode: Storylines: A New Game Experience. Storylines provides an interactive history lesson of sorts for players by zooming in on the seven-team Negro Leagues formed in the 1920s and eight specific players from that era, including Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, and six others. This mode truly highlights the love of the game that the team has while developing this, giving us a fun new mode to keep us engaged, but at the same time teaching us about the rich history behind some of the greatest players and times in the game. The mode is a fascinating look at both baseball history and civil rights in general and introduced me to so many legendary figures I wasn’t aware of. It’s a stark reminder that things were wildly different in the world less than a century ago and being able to play through some of the league’s key moments and listen to live commentary make for an incredibly effective way to absorb this part of history.
There aren’t any huge differences in terms of gameplay; it still plays like simulation baseball and there are so many options and modes that can turn it into something more arcade-like. However, there have been several small tweaks that show San Diego Studio’s attention to detail and how it’s always trying to hone its winning blueprint, as seen in the improved swing feedback that more clearly points out late or early swings. There are plenty of other small tweaks, although players largely know what to expect by now and the formula still results in a fantastic version of baseball.
Performance wise once again, nothing to report here, no frame dips, no latency, and the game plays to perfection. The only slight hiccups were tied to online play (so chalk it up to the internet, and not the game) but even those were minor at worst. Everything else, all the other game modes, stadium creator, character creator, Dynasty mode are overall not changed, just simply enhanced, and made just a bit better and allows for gamers of all skill levels to enjoy a bit easier as well. The Show 23 again proves to be a masterclass of what sports gaming can be. MLB the Show 23 is available now on XBox Series, Playstation 5, and Nintendo Switch.