The latest release in the long running Baseball simulation is more about refinement, and general expansion. We see the extension of the series to the Xbox platform, and I was very fortunate to check out both next generation versions of this year’s installment. That’s right, I was able to dive in on Playstation 5 version initially, and then check out the Xbox Series X release as well.
It’s quite exciting to see the game arrive and generally provide a level of parity between them. As I had mentioned, this is a year of refinement and expansion, you won’t necessarily notice a massive difference in terms of features but the overall package is clean and definitely performs quite well. I would have liked a further next generation visual jump, but considering the times they played it safe which is fine.
There are a wealth of modes to experience that cover most elements of the sport, though I’ll briefly discuss a new one first which is a stadium creator. You’re able to create whatever sort of wild field setup you want with over a thousand unique pieces. You can also download what others have made, or share what you’ve created as well.
This fresh feature really does help add an extra layering to the experience in terms of diversity in where you face off. Other traditional customization elements return as well, with a minor addition here or there such as with the custom athletes you can make if you choose to. When it comes to modes you get everything you would typically expect from the franchise. There’s a quickplay Exhibition, also Live Exhibition option too if you want things to be current.
Then you have online competitions to go head to head. Past that is franchise, then there’s the Road to the Show, March to October and of course Diamond Dynasty. Most of these should be fairly self-explanatory for those familiar with the sport. They cover the various seasonal options within MLB baseball and allow you to run, and or engage with them in many ways.
For Diamond Dynasty, that one is slightly different since it’s the card based option of this title as every sports game must have them. That one’s interface could have honestly been handled a bit better this year. Whatever the case, there are also a couple more casual fun modes too. That includes Home Run Derby and a throwback classic version too which is similar to RBI Baseball if you’re familiar with that. Basically streamlined controls and play that’s more traditional.
For a next generation offering I wasn’t necessarily blown away by the visuals. They’re still generally great, and capture the sport very well. I’d say they’re impressive, just not quite the leap I had expected. Now with that it isn’t the greatest time for game development and they’re adding new consoles, so I will give them that in trying to be understanding.
I would note that it might be nice to have a higher level of detail in the crowd right behind the tight camera angles of batting versus pitching. The weathering mechanics could also be more detailed, alongside those fun little spots such as kayaks which are neat to focus on yet look somewhat rough visually.
I hope I’m not going too hard on the visuals, it does look great and it performs very well on both of the platforms. Both consoles also load up the game incredibly fast, it’s probably just a second or under and you’re into a game once teams are picked.
You get a wide range of options for choosing teams, and the stadium you play in. It has everything from the custom made options, to the entire current roster of team branded fields and even some classic ones too which is nice for sure. There’s also the benefit of cross-play which can be turned off if you desire.
Other than that the console versions are essentially the exact same. I will note the Playstation 5 version has subtle extra DualSense rumble at times and that it supports their 3D Sound tech. The game in general plays quite well too being a realistic simulation of the sport. It has many difficulty options, and tutorial solutions if you’re getting into it for the first time.
There are many helpful statistics it provides while you play as well, so I don’t believe it should be too hard for newcomers to pick-up as I imagine many are going to be present with this special release. That of course being the debut with Xbox Game Pass and being on Xbox consoles for the first time ever.
MLB The Show 21 is another great entry in the series, expanding the platforms while also heading into the next generation. I do wish they would have pushed the visual front a tad further, but it still looks great and presents the game in an aesthetically pleasing way. It captures the various teams, stadiums and styles of the sport in a realistic way in order to provide a proper simulation.
It also has a bit of fun with the customization options that are present, whether that’s with your regular athletes or when you go to create a place of your own which is really cool to have available. It’s a bit light in terms of new adjustments to the game, but it does provide a plethora of ways to get into the franchise.
It’s definitely an interesting experience whether you’re really into the sport of baseball, or may be wanting to check out the series for the first time since this will be embracing a new audience. I was quite happy with this year’s entry, it’s fun and expansive. Just don’t necessarily expect a massive leap in terms of what’s available if you’re coming from past releases.
Read our RBI Baseball 20 Review
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MLB The Show 21 Review on Xbox Series X and Playstation 5
Review Code Provided by SIEC