MLB The Show 24 | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

MLB The Show 24 | Review | Switch

MLB The Show is entering its third year on the Nintendo Switch. While the past two games have been a bit underwhelming in terms of visuals and performance, does the trend continue in 2024? Moreover, are there any updates to modes or gameplay that make this one notable? We get into all of that and more in this review. Let’s get to it. 

Not much has changed with gameplay for The Show 24, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Controls remain tight and the default settings make it pretty easy for just about anyone to jump in and play. Of course, things can be tweaked to your liking. I personally stick with single button controls for batting, the meter style for pitching and turn off fielding accuracy for defense. 
One new wrinkle was added to the Player Lock segments of the game when playing on defense. In previous games when controlling a fielder, you often have to move the right stick within a set amount of time and press ZR to make a throw. While this is still present, additional button prompts have been added, possibly in an attempt to make the gameplay a little more fresh. After playing quite a bit of the series without this, it can be a bit jarring and hectic when you’re not used to it. I still make a lot of mistakes, but that should change over time. I understand what the studio is trying to do with this, but I’m not sure I like it at the moment. It might grow on me, though. 

All of the modes that were found in last year’s version of the game have returned. You’ll be able to play Exhibition games (Retro mode, too), Diamond Dynasty, March to October, Franchise, Online play, Road to the Show and Storylines. Like previous entries, there really is a lot to do and truly is something for everyone. For this review, I’m focusing on the newest additions here with the updates to RTTS and Storylines.

Road to the Show as a Female
For the first time ever, San Diego Studios is giving players the choice to create and play as a female baseball player. Not only this, but they have also added new story elements and a “buddy” character named Mia Lewis for you to interact with on your journey to the Bigs. You’ll even occasionally chat with Mia on the phone in the game with the ability to choose from a handful of dialogue options. On top of this, other broadcast specific elements highlighting the historic moment of a woman joining the Majors is also here. These video clips refer to your character (not by name) and Lewis and discuss the impact of all that’s at hand.  
Character creation remains exactly the same as with a male character, though body types are a bit more limited. I attempted to recreate Perfect Dark’s Joanna Dark in the game to a…moderate level of success. Again, outside of the story elements, gameplay and everything else remains pretty much the same no matter what sex you select. I didn’t feel as though my character had any advantages or disadvantages skill-wise based on sex. 
Road to the Show as a Male & General Thoughts
That’s not to say that RTTS with male players was completely left behind. The mode overall has seen a bit of a facelift. On-screen elements, such as the broadcast and menu visuals, have been updated a bit, and the mysterious voice that would occasionally chime in on what’s happening in your players baseball life has been scrapped. The video clips (minus ones female player specific comments) are here, too. The addition of the Draft Combine and the Draft itself was also cool to see. In the previous two games, you would just simply choose a team to be drafted by, and then you’d see a splash screen with your character and their new team’s logo. In The Show 24, this is a little bit more involved, as your player will actually walk on stage for a proper draft experience. Again this is the same as either a male or female. You will also have access to dialogue choices when talking to your agent or coaches. The male RTTS does not feature a buddy character, which is definitely the biggest difference here. 
RTTS - Final Thoughts
Road to the Show has always been one of my favorite modes in The Show. I like being able to see my player grow and make it to the Majors as quickly as they can. The gameplay loop that the mode is known for is still here and I like that. While there are some small, quality of life improvements, I think they can still go further. They could go crazy with the mode in a similar way to the NBA 2K series’ My Player Mode, including voice acting and greater interaction with agents, other players and more. I think the expansion of this mode to that level will depend on lot on how RTTS is received this year. Even when NBA 2K was at its best with their equivalent mode, it was far from perfect. We’ll just have to wait and see if and/or how San Diego Studios expands upon this further in the future.

Storylines return in The Show 24 with another chapter looking at the Negro Leagues and a special look at the early parts of the career of the New York Yankee’s Derek Jeter. For the Negro Leagues, Season Two picks up where last year left off, offering a look at some other players that you may have heard of before or had no idea about. There are four on offer, including a look at Hank Aaron. For those unfamiliar, or if you need a refresher, this mode is a blend of documentary and playable aspects. Narrated by Bob Kendricks, the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, the videos feature stories in mix of animation, videos, audio and photos. The missions have players perform a variety of tasks, such as get a certain number of hits in set number of tries. Era specific uniforms, stadiums and fans are also present. Season Two, like its first iteration last year, is awesome and yet again introduces fans to players that they might not be familiar with. Another bonus, too, unlike last year, you no longer have to clear an episode to move on to the next. Simply playing one will give you the option to skip if things are too challenging. 
Completely new to The Show 24 is second part of the mode, Storylines: Derek Jeter. This takes a look at the storied career of the New York Yankee’s shortstop from 1995 to 2000. Since the entirety of Jeter’s career was played in New York, selection menu is based around an artistic recreation of the city’s subway system. Similar to the Negro Leagues, this chapter of Storylines features classic video clips and interview clips with “The Captain” himself. Missions here are varied, though a majority of them are based around hitting. Things are changed up a little bit with the inclusion of a handful of missions featuring the “Core Four,” other players that helped the Yankees dominate other teams during this period of time. There are a little over 20 missions, so you likely won’t be playing this mode for dozens of hours. You could easily blow through this mode in a weekend. There still is “more to come” for the Jeter Storylines, but I think that just means that we’ll see the continuation of the story in next year’s game. 
Overall, I’m really happy to see San Diego Studios expand upon the Storylines section of the game. In terms of gameplay, the episodes focus heavily on batting, which is fine, and kind of understandable considering the players being highlighted. That’s not a knock on the mode, really, as I fond it very enjoyable. Being able to skip past some of the episodes and come back later is also a welcome addition. Given the rich history of the MLB and professional baseball in general, there are quite of few possibilities with the mode for the future. I’m really excited to see what the team will come up with next. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
If you’ve played MLB The Show on the Switch, you will know what to expect as things remain largely unchanged. Visuals on the Switch are a step back from what you will find on any other platforms. Textures are flat and a bit bland, elements on uniforms and signs lack detail and the crowd seems to have taken a bit of a step back visually, as they are bit blurry. Even with that said, there still is quite a nice amount of detail in facial expressions, uniforms, equipment and more.
Similar to the past two games on the Switch, the framerate can still be an issue in The Show 24. Some aspects, like the menus, run super smoothly. In-game-action is a different story. Gameplay usually isn’t impacted by this, so I can kind of overlook it. On the other hand, it is always a bit jarring to see some of the pre-game cinematics with players slow to a crawl. If you’re really interested in higher fidelity visuals, this version might not be for you. If you want a game that looks pretty good AND that you can play natively on a handheld, the Switch version is fine. Speaking of handheld mode, the game looks and runs in a similar manner away from the TV - not mind blowing, but good enough. The many video clips that are sprinkled throughout Storylines and RTTS are also a bit low-resolution in this version of the game which is a bit disappointing. 
Perhaps the biggest change comes with the broadcast graphics before the games. In The Show 22 and 23, these were full of stuttering and were, generally speaking, not smooth at all. in 24, these are quite a bit smoother. This has no bearing at all on the gameplay, but it was at least noteworthy. When it’s all said and done, this isn’t going to blow you away, but it gets the job done.  

Sound is also pretty well done, with the bulk of the commentating work being done once again by “Boog” Sciambi and Chris Singleton. Another play-by-play announcer has also been added when playing ball at the non MLB levels of play. It’s, overall, pretty decent, but those who have heard Boog and Singleton before might be ready for a change.

MLB The Show 24 is another great entry into the storied series. Gameplay remains great, the new additions to Storylines are fantastic and the update to Road to the Show is a step in the right direction. Performance and lackluster visuals are still an issue, but that will likely not change until Nintendo moves on to more powerful hardware. If you missed out on last year’s game or are just really into baseball, The Show 24 is a lot of fun to play on the Switch. 

But let’s turn things over to you. Did you or do you plan on picking up The Show 24? What platform? What are some other players or little known stories you would like to see in Storylines? What do you think about the update to RTTS? Sound off in the comments down below. We’d love to hear from you! 

No comments: