MLB The Show 21 Review - Batter Up

MLB The Show 21 has made headlines this year for what it's done off the field of play. In an unprecedented move, the Sony-developed title is now available on Microsoft consoles, signalling the end of 15 years of PlayStation exclusivity. It's...

MLB The Show 21 Review - Batter Up

MLB The Show 21 has made headlines this year for what it's done off the field of play. In an unprecedented move, the Sony-developed title is now available on Microsoft consoles, signalling the end of 15 years of PlayStation exclusivity. It's a monumental shift for a series that's also making its debut on next-gen consoles, and MLB The Show 21 maintains the series' high bar of excellence once the ball's in play. Away from the diamond, however, there are a number of missing features and questionable decisions that take some of the shine off an otherwise fantastic game of baseball.

The card collecting mode, Diamond Dynasty, is the basis for most of these dubious decisions, particularly in regards to Road to the Show (RttS). MLB The Show 21's career mode still revolves around the core idea of creating a player and taking them from the minor leagues through to the majors, but the structure of the mode has been significantly reworked. Your created Ballplayer is now a single unified entity that functions much like the NBA 2K series' MyPlayer. This Ballplayer, with all the improvements you make to their attributes, also carries over into Diamond Dynasty, where they can be inserted into the starting lineup alongside current players and legends of the sport. It's a solid idea on paper, but the execution severely hampers RttS in a few major areas.

For one, having a single Ballplayer limits your options since you're unable to create more than one distinct character. You can still create multiple saves to make characters who play in different positions, but you're stuck using the exact same player in each. On top of this, there's also a new loadout system that allows you to create multiple custom loadouts. Each one features one main archetype and up to two perks that improve certain attributes while slightly decreasing others. This change appears to be geared towards another new addition, which gives you the option to play as a two-way player similar to Shohei Ohtani. For games when you're hitting and playing the field, you might select a loadout with perks based around improving your contact, power, and arm accuracy; on days when you're pitching, you might opt for another loadout with pitching-centric perks.

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