MLB The Show 21: Esports and video games have been one of the hottest industries of the past year. The long-anticipated release of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 has fueled this growth. For the first couple of months, fans were clamoring to purchase the new consoles causing websites to crash from the heavy site traffic.

The market for the new generation of consoles was so competitive that purchasers were actually reselling the consoles on auction sites for profit.

While the demand for consoles has remained high, the release of new games for the PS5 or Xbox X has been relatively quiet. That should change throughout the next couple of months.

In a typical year, gaming franchises release their new games during the winter holiday season. As we all know 2020 was not a typical year, this disruption caused franchises to push back release dates of games to the spring.

MLB The Show ‘21 is set to release on April 20th. Launching on Playstation and, for the first time, Xbox. Baseball fans are in for a treat with the latest addition in the game’s franchise history.

The biggest selling point for the new generation of consoles is their ability to process information faster, improved performance, and ultra-realistic 4k graphics. With this in mind Sony, the developer of MLB the Show, focused on making additions to the game that would utilize the new capabilities of the consoles.

Gameplay Improvements

MLB The Show ‘21 adds a myriad of improvements to enhance the on-the-field experience. When a player first loads the game they are greeted by a new gameplay styles menu that lets the user select between Casual, Simulation, and Competitive options.

Casual being built around pick up and play style for newcomers. Simulation focuses on player ratings as well as user stick skills to create an in-depth and realistic experience. Finally, Competitive is for the experienced players who use strategy and their knowledge of the intricacies of the game to battle head to head.

One of the back-of-the-box features Sony has been advertising is the creation of a new pitching mechanic called Pinpoint Pitching. This new edition gives you more control on the mound than ever before however, it is tailored for the competitive players who are more familiar with the game.

Sony should receive a lot of credit for listening to their fans about what they want to see in a game, unlike EA sports who ignore their most loyal fans for the sake of money.

Communications and brand strategist Ramone Russell elaborated on Sony’s commitment to take feedback from users
“People, in general, wanted a pitching method that could be more accurate… for that to happen, you need to have a lot of levers that cant be easy to hit or you kind of break the game.

There needs to be some depth there, and that’s what Pinpoint Pitching is; the game grades on your stance, timing, and accuracy. If you can get all three of those things perfect the ball will basically go where you put it, but it’s not that easy to get right and that’s the balance.”

New animations and system logic also help create a smooth experience, especially when playing defense. The new logic and animations system allows for better fielding mechanics. This includes animations for off-the-wall catches and strafing.

Sony is also implementing a redesigned wall indicator to assist users to predict the bounce allowing for easier tracking for batters with warning-track level power. Weather also has an effect on the game, a strong breeze can carry the ball in a different direction but the new homerun-robbing catch animation is a equitable counter to this.

Changes to Road to the Show Career Mode

For players who enjoy building their own characters and carving out their baseball legacy, the 2021 edition brings several changes to the Road to Show career mode. This year a player can take after Los Angeles Angles star Shohei Ohtani and become a two-way player for the first time in the game’s legacy.

The two-way player option also features a unique narrative that is different from the single position option.

Additionally, retooled player progression and new player archetypes allow users to create and develop their player the way they want it. Users can play with their created player in other modes including Diamond Dynasty, Programs, and Historical Moments.

Lastly, new narrative elements have been added to the game. As top MLB reports and personalities react to your accomplishments in a new in-game podcast. On the last-gen game, the podcast element was only audio while the next-gen have a video version as well.

Diamond Designer

While so much of MLB The Show ‘21 is built around either team-building mode or individual career the next-gen version features, in my opinion, the most unique and exciting addition (EA and Madden take a hint!) in stadium creator.

You can actually construct the stadium in which your career will take place in. The ability to choose from more than 1,000 stadium props, including foul poles, batter’s eyes, and even dinosaur fossils.

That’s not all, since baseball is the only major sport that takes place in an arena with differing dimensions, MLB The Show ‘21 allows you to get imaginative with your design. Adjust the fence however you want, with different outfield-fence dimensions, wall colors, heights, and more.