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The Sports Desk – Six Things MLB The Show 18 Needs To Do

by Matthew Kato on Jan 22, 2018 at 03:00 PM

MLB the Show 18 releases on March 27 on PS4, and it hopes to continue the momentum the franchise has built this console generation. But with online problems still haunting the series and last year introducing story/narrative elements to the Road to the Show mode, there are ways MLB The Show can hone its craft.

Gameplay is the lifeblood of all titles, and the series needs to keep moving forward in this department. In particular, better situational awareness by players could ensure that gamers get the results they expect. For instance, users have harped on the game's inability at times to tag runners as well as dropped/passed balls for catchers. The appropriate fielding animations need to be triggered as well so players get throws off quickly.

While you may or may not be interested in esports, it can be argued that an esports structure raises the bar of a title's gameplay. Successful integration of esports can give the game's hardcore, competitive community a defined platform to rigorously test the series' gameplay on the cutting-edge as they continuously stress and probe the game to find any advantage during matches.

MLB the Show 17's introduction of story elements into Road to the Show mode was a nice beginning, but it needs to take clear steps forward here in year two. When we met the developers before MLB 17 they acknowledged that the mode's story features would take multiple years to implement fully. In particular, we'd like to see your answers during conversations and general attitude count for more with the teams and shape your story beyond just being a playground for your own amusement. Similarly, the game's story beats need to take into account your actions on the field so you're appropriately sent up if you're killing it, for instance.

The MLB development team at San Diego Studios has done a good job keeping this mode stocked with content throughout the year, but one quality-of-life aspect that users complain about is the need for more lineups to use against the various situations presented throughout the mode. I'd also like to be able to choose my pitcher in games vs. the CPU instead of the random selector. Furthermore, increased customization of uniforms, players, and equipment is always a good thing, and perhaps even – to a point – the stadiums themselves. These will have to restricted so you're not gaming the system with some crazy park dimensions, but anything approaching a create-a-park in Diamond Dynasty or any other mode would be cool.

Good online play has proven elusive for the series, with online lag and server problems causing havoc and frustration. It's a situation that undermines otherwise good modes like Diamond Dynasty and is vital if the series wants to move forward on the earlier esports suggestion.

San Diego Studio admitted last year's inclusion of retro Mode was just a toe dip, so hopefully the mode has proven its worth enough that it's further fleshed out this time around. Retro mode in MLB the Show 17 only had one-off games, so any additions to the mode in 18, whether it's gameplay or a full team/franchise structure, will be an improvement.

Missed some of the previous Sports Desk entries? Take a look at the past installments via our Hub page by clicking on the banner below.

Have a suggestion or comment? Put it in the comments section below, send me an email, or reach me on twitter at @mattkato.


A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week 

Mutant Football League Now Available Digitally For PS4 & Xbox One 
Check out Bertz's review of the PC version here.

NASCAR Heat 2 Offers 2018 Season Update 
It's only for the Monster Energy series, but includes new drivers, schedule, and more.

Monster Energy Supercross Adds a Track Editor 
The game is out on February 13.

Tennis World Tour Mo-Cap Behind-the-Scenes Video 

NBA 2K18 & Madden 18 Lead Sports Games For 2017 
The two franchises rank high in the NPD's yearly sales tabulation.

More UFC 3 Fighter Ratings Revealed 

Rocket League Could Add Cross-Platform Party Support In 2018