Review: MLB The Show 21 looks like a speed demon on the basepaths, despite a few flaws

MLB The Show has been exclusive to PlayStation platforms for over 20 years. San Diego Studios’ baseball simulator is often considered a revolutionary step in the world of sports games, and its appeal was amplified when Take-Two stopped developing MLB-licensed games in 2013. But due to the exclusivity of the show, potential and sales were limited.

That may change in 2021, when The Show moves to Xbox consoles for the first time in MLB history. MLB The Show 21 is also the first edition of a next-gen game, which is a critical moment for Sony in what has been a rather disappointing launch for sports games on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

Sony has taken the opportunity and made a big splash with the Shaw 21 ? Let’s just say I’m very impressed with The Show’s first foray into the Xbox world.

Move to second

Image via Sony San Diego

Perhaps one of the biggest questions surrounding MLB The Show 21 was how Sony would play on the Xbox. For many Xbox One and Series X owners, this will be their first real-world simulation experience. San Diego studios did a great job here.

MLB The Show 21 offers three types of gaming experiences: Casual play, simulation and competition. Beginners don’t have to feel pressured to play a certain way, they can go at their own pace and learn the intricacies of the show.

Another refreshing aspect of The Show’s gameplay is the abundance of options. When it comes to pitching, Sony San Diego Studios offers three methods of pitching: Meter, Analog and the new Pinpoint Pitching feature. The spikeworp offers the most accurate method of tackling opponents, but it also has the highest learning curve.

The strike also has similar commitments. Players can either use directional shots that automatically find storage, or use more accurate ICPs and find those meatballs manually. To me, this is one of the most important parts of MLB The Show’s gameplay. The fact that Sony San Diego has something in store for both novice and experienced gamers shows that Sony San Diego is willing to keep the old features that make the game easier, but also satisfy those looking for a challenge. Giving something to everyone will help you enjoy everything you do.

Old meets new


To everyone’s surprise, MLB The Show 21 is back with the card game Dynasty Diamonds. Still, playing Diamond Dynasty is a real palate cleanser compared to Football and Madden. It offers the ability to buy Sony’s virtual currency, Stubs, but it’s much more of a free-to-play model, which is refreshing in this day and age.

Players can train to get through the programs, earning high-value cards as rewards. Additionally, Diamond Dynasty’s offline quests, including Moments and Conquests, are challenging but also a lot of fun. It would be nice if other developers followed Sony’s lead, but that’s another story for another day.

The bumpy road to Shaw

Image via San Diego Studio

If there’s one part of MLB The Show 21 that’s missing, it’s the way to the show. MLB The Show’s career mode has a lot of depth, with new features that make players feel like they’re part of the team, such as interactions with coaches, workouts, and even special cutaways with former MLB players and media personalities talking about your journey to the big leagues.

The problem with Road to the Show, as it stands, is the inclusion in Diamond Dynasty. The new MLB The Show Ballplayer feature allows users to take a player from Diamond Dynasty. This sounds good on paper, but the big problem is that RTTS player archetypes and bonuses must be acquired primarily through Diamond Dynasty.

Activating Road to Show mode and its functions in another mode is one thing. But forcing players to switch to GCC mode to get new add-ons to make players is a bit much, especially considering that many sports game developers are pumping more and more resources into Ultimate Team, MyTeam and similar modes. It’s important to note that Sony San Diego has promised to fix these problems in the future, but for the moment, RTTS, in its current state, is a bit behind.


Image via Sony San Diego

Launching MLB The Show 21 in the new generation and on Xbox wasn’t always easy. The launch was marred by server issues, additional code problems and a Road to Show mode that, at the time of writing, is not particularly entertaining. But overall, this game is very entertaining. Sure, it has its quirks, but the fact that Sony offers a relatively smooth game engine, combined with the depth of features, makes it almost a must-have for baseball fans. You may want to wait a little longer, as there are still some issues with the Road to Show and online services that need to be addressed.

+Overall, the gameplay seems to work without any problems.
+The March-October and Franchise modes offer decent depth.
+Diamond Dynasty is still a fun and relatively free playground.
The road to the show is not what it used to be, thanks to the Diamond Dynasty membership.
There have been server problems at Shaw.

Disclosure: The game code was provided for review.

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