MLB The Show 23 | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, March 27, 2023

MLB The Show 23 | Review | Switch

MLB The Show is back for a second season on the Nintendo Switch. While the first iteration of the game was quite fun to play, the production was riddled with minor visual issues that were hard to overlook. Are these absent from The Show 23, and most importantly, is the game worth a look, especially if you didn’t bite on the 2022 version? Let’s get into it.

Controls in The Show 23 on the Switch remain tight and responsive. As with the game on any platform, you are able to tweak the gameplay to your liking. For me, the initial setting for hitting (basically just making things work with the press of a button) were fine. I did turn off the throwing accuracy meter for fielding as I find it a bit finicky. For pitching, I stuck with the Meter style. With this, you just choose your pitch location, then time the pitching meter for power and then accuracy. I did play around with pinpoint pitching during the Tech Test back in February, but I really didn’t like that. As I mentioned previously, there really are quite a bit of options to choose from when it comes to controls. I’m personally not trying to impress anyone with my super gaming skills or anything like that, and you shouldn’t either. Set up the game in a way that gives you optimal enjoyment. 

Pretty much everything from the previous 2022 edition of the game is here - Diamond Dynasty, March to October, Franchise Mode, Road the Show, Storylines (more on that in a bit), the Retro Mode and more. One nice update here comes to Franchise Mode. In The Show 23, you can play a more streamlined version, only playing key moments from the season as opposed to every game. That’s nice to hear for those of us with more responsibilities and less time on our hands. Of course, The ability to play or team up with others on any console online is back with Cross Play (more on that in a bit) as is the ability to continue your game on your platform of choice with Cross Progression. 
The Show has teamed up with the World Baseball Classic to offer several Moments and player/team packs. The Moments take a handful of scenarios from the WBC and allow you recreate some historic moments from the tournament. The uniforms and players are all well done, and the mode is fun. It’s great to see it represented here, though I found myself a little bit underwhelmed. There is no option to set up your own tournament using the teams, which would have been nice. Also, the content is only available until December 31, 2023, so if you want to experience it, you’ll have to dive in before that date. 

Road to the Show is a mode that I’m partial to, so I took it for a spin. This time around, I set myself to be drafted by the New York Mets as a third baseman. Starting out for the AA team, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, I’m currently working my way up toward my Major League debut. As with these kind of modes, progress is a bit slow, but I’m enjoying it so far. The only downside here is that it’s not really that different from last year’s version. An option for a face scan is also available, but for some reason, it wasn’t working at all for me when trying this out during the early access period for the game. As a result, I’m stuck with an even uglier version of myself. Jokes aside, this mode is still fun, but it’s largely the same as what was available last year.  
Storylines is the newest addition to The Show 23. San Diego Studios has teamed up with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to bring the stories of some mostly unknown men and their stories to a new audience. Season 1 offers a look at eight players with several “episodes” each. These consist of relatively short video intros (narrated by Bob Kendrick) and then a gameplay mission to play. This mode is really cool. As a fan of baseball and history, it’s awesome to see San Diego Studios team up to bring these stories to an audience of baseball fans through a video game. The production value for the videos is great and the elements introduced in the gameplay are believable. You’ll see old school uniforms in incredible detail, smaller stadiums that seem accurate to the era and a crowd that is filled with fans wearing era appropriate clothing (in the 1940s/1950s, this being most people wearing suits and or ties). Simply put, this mode absolutely nails it in all respects. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with season 2 next year. 

Online Play
I’ve said this across a number of reviews before, but I’m typically not into online competitive play, especially when it comes to a game like The Show that are so rich with single player content. Still, I went and took The Show 23 for a spin online. While the game can look a bit choppy at times, the gameplay was super smooth and I didn’t run into any connection issues. Co-op play is also an option here, but I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to try it out yet. Still, based on my time with the game online, the Switch version provides a serviceable experience. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
As with many sports titles on the Nintendo Switch, you likely aren’t going to be blown away visually. Even with that said, The Show 23 does appear to look a bit better than the 2022 iteration of the game. The lighting is nice, character models look sharp and ball parks are pretty well done. However, smaller details, like signage in the park or on uniforms can be a bit lower resolution. The latter is only noticeable in close up shots, so you won’t notice it when the game is moving at a quick pace or from a distance. 
Performance still suffers from the same issues that were found in the game last year. The Show 23 does not have a locked frame rate, which in turn puts the game all over the place depending on a variety of situations. When less of the stadium is on the screen, the game is a bit smoother. Conversely, when a number of players are on screen at the same time or there is a lot going on, for instance during celebrations after the game, things really starts to chug. Thankfully this doesn’t happen while you are in control of the on field action - at least not in any way that impacts that gameplay. While playing in handheld mode, the game can be a bit on the choppy side. I can’t 100% confirm this from a technical standpoint (I don’t have the tools for that!), but it seemed to run worse there than when playing on the TV. Again, this is limited to elements outside of the gameplay, i.e. cutscenes. If you’re looking for a smoother experience or visual fidelity, you will be better off playing The Show on PlayStation or Xbox. 

Sound and presentation are on point. Commentary is provided by Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton in this year’s version once again. While I do think the pair do a great job, if you played The Show 22, you’re going to be hearing a lot of the same comments and lines that were in that game. It’s still good, but might feel a bit repetitive if you played a lot of the game last year. Broadcast elements look nice, but often suffer from very noticeable slowdown. It’s not a game breaker, but it’s a bit disappointing.
MLB The Show 23 is another solid entry into the series albeit with some visual issues that the team hasn’t been able to address. The frame rate can be inconsistent, however it does not affect the gameplay, the most important element of the game. In terms of the modes, the addition of the Storylines highlighting the Negro Leagues form yesteryear was absolutely awesome as it can spread awareness to a new audience about a topic that isn’t discussed so much in the mainstream. The minor updates to things like streamlining Franchise mode is also welcome. I know I sound a bit down on the game, but I actually like the Switch version quite a bit. At its core, The Show 23 is a great baseball game, but to be honest, outside of Storylines, there’s not a whole lot different from the previous year. If you’re a casual fan and picked up the game last year, I would suggest really asking yourself if any of these improvements (or Storylines in particular) is worth it to you. If you skipped out on the game last year, you should absolutely pick this one up or at the very least consider picking up The Show 22 on the cheap. 

But let’s turn things over to you. Are you planning on picking up The Show 23 on the Switch? Are you going to make use of the cross progression feature? I personally picked up an Xbox Series S last October and plan on making use of it. Be sure to sound off in the comments down below, we’d love to hear from you.

originally posted on Monday, March 27, 12:28 p.m.

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