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OS Scores Explained MLB The Show 16 Overview
Pros
A variety of visual and gameplay upgrades, New DD modes, Road to the Show is better than ever.
Cons
Franchise, while improved, feels static, A few animation/collision issues, Online not great (for now).
Bottom Line
MLB The Show 16 feels like the culmination of years of tiny but meaningful improvements that make it the best baseball game on consoles.
8.5
out of 10
MLB The Show 16 REVIEW

MLB The Show 16 Review

 
For years, MLB The Show has been a series known for its incremental upgrades -- small changes that generally increase the overall quality of an already quality title. Whether improving the lighting engine or analog controls, these year-to-year improvements were well received, but not typically earth-shattering features. This "slow but steady" philosophy makes sense for a relatively small development team, but often left some users unimpressed. "Stale" was a common complaint, though one unattached from the general consensus that The Show was still one of the best sports games on the market.

After playing MLB The Show 16 for the last week, I’ll start with the obvious; it's still The Show. As usual, there is not one giant game-changing, "back of the box" upgrade that makes this year’s game feel like something brand new. Instead, the "small but meaningful" description I have used in the past to talk about The Show is still apt.

Before you check out and cast The Show 16 off as another collection of small tweaks, here’s the catch: The sheer amount of changes, whether under the hood, visual, or mode-related, collectively make this the most improved, and best, Show of this generation.
 
 
Gameplay

First, if you are a Show veteran, don’t expect this game to feel tremendously different. This is still the same baseball game, for better or worse, that we’ve been playing for the past two generations. Certain aspects are simply going to seem similar.

Regardless of familiarity, I contend that this is the best playing version of The Show since its debut on the PS4. Everything seems much more responsive this year, thanks in part to new animations and tweaks to user input.
 

"The sheer amount of changes, whether under the hood, visual, or mode-related, collectively make this the most improved, and best, Show of this generation."

 
It seems like the responsiveness is as advertised. If you do well, you will expect good results. Miss your mark (whether pitching or hitting), and you will suffer the consequences. In other words, the results seems to mirror the effort. When hitting, I felt I could really discern from my timing whether I got good wood on the ball. In years past, I sometimes felt like I had timed everything perfectly, only to pop up on the infield. Pitching and throwing have a similar level of response; max out your throws every time and expect a ton of errors/wild pitches.
 
 
Speaking of throwing, I really like the new throwing indicator. The game instructs you to "pre-load" throws, which almost seems like a necessity. On a few occasions, I had an outfielder animate to a casual stop, simply because I did not log the throw early enough in the sequence. However, when you do pre-load, such as on routine double plays, everything looks and feels really nice.

Also of note is the new "fish eye" camera, which does a number of things. I find it makes reading pitches a little easier, especially off-speed and breaking balls. It’s also really functional. You can see all the bases and fielders from the default camera. Finally, it showcases the beautiful stadiums and weather effects.
 
 
Presentation

The biggest change in regards to presentation is the graphical improvements created by the physical-based rendering system. Basically, the way surfaces reflect light -- that very picturesque and geographically accurate light -- is now varied. The various textures, from dugouts to stadium walls to ornamental structures, really look different. This may not seem like a big deal at first; in fact you may not even notice it initially. I think that’s because things look very natural now. Your mind is not (typically) jarred by something looking like plastic or inappropriately artificial. To me, the combination of the realistic lighting and the new rendering system creates a very bright, vibrant and nearly photo-realistic game, especially when viewing things from a distance.

Multiple new animations have been introduced, which further enhance the game’s authenticity. These are especially apparent when playing in the field. Distinct home run celebrations and player interactions are fun to spot -- plenty of new fielding animations are also evident. The long-awaited open domes look nice, as do the classic stadiums.
 

"Generally, though, this is the best looking Show available, even if major elements, like player models, remain seemingly unchanged."

 
As good as all of this looks, it makes what doesn’t look so hot stand out. One of the new running animations looks very awkward. Wall interactions are still problematic, with collision animations kicking in early or not at all. I also had the odd occurrence of a fielder getting stuck in a "jog to the bag" routine only to have the runner beat him there.

Generally, though, this is the best looking Show available, even if major elements, like player models, remain seemingly unchanged. Other tiny changes, like various video style packages and informative loading screens, round out the improvements. I also really like the universal change to radial rating displays, which freshens up the menus throughout the game.
 
 
On the sound front, the announcing remains relatively static. You will occasionally catch some new lines of dialogue, but you'll more often catch lines you've already memorized. I did notice some inaccurate or poorly timed lines of dialogue, like "he’s already 2-for-2" when my batter was actually 2-for-4. Commentary is not generally bad, but it lags well behind others in the sports category.

The big new addition here is the return of Sounds of the Show. Using it to import sounds was easy enough, as was assigning them to players and teams. Since you save player sounds to a roster, it looks like you will have to re-assign music each time a new roster is released. That small issue aside, it’s really nice to have this feature back.
 
 
Road to the Show

This mode has increasingly become one of my favorites, and the improvements made this year really make this one of the most appealing career modes in sports games.

Let’s start with a practical change, and that is the ability to play an entire series without dropping back to the menu. It’s now very easy to complete an entire month in one sitting, which is huge. Pressing "X" in-game jumps you immediately to your next moment. Afterward, there’s no loading as you jump to the next game. I can’t emphasize how much this addition has added to my enjoyment of Road to the Show.
 

 
My next favorite addition is the Showtime feature, which essentially slows down your player's biggest moments so you can execute diving catches, clutch throws and key hits with more control. This function feels like a natural evolution of the button catching added a few years ago; it also puts your skill at the heart of the game, instead of invisible dice rolls.

To illustrate this, let me break down a sequence I had with my created third baseman. After the pitch, the ball is smoked to my player’s left. I’m given a second or so to press R1 to complete the fielding motion. In the past, I’m guessing I would have completely missed this opportunity. Showtime gives me time to process and execute the play. After my player dives to his left to field the ball, I now have a few moments to line up a throwing target and press R2. Hit the target, and I finish a great play. If I miss, I’m likely allowing the batter to take second on an error. In this case, I’m able to get an accurate throw off in time -- and rack up a ton of training points.
 

"Showtime doesn’t necessarily make things easier. In fact, I’d say hitting with Showtime (which is manually activated) can be difficult."

 
All of this takes place in only a few seconds, creating quick bouts of intensity without disrupting the flow of the game. Watching the replay is the perfect reward for pulling off a highlight-reel play.

Again, Showtime doesn’t necessarily make things easier. In fact, I’d say hitting with Showtime (which is manually activated) can be difficult. I was initially worried this addition would feel arcade-like in an otherwise sim environment. I’m happy to report it feels very seamless and is a great way to enhance the core gameplay of the mode.
 
 
 
As for the perks, I’m not completely sold. First, they don’t break anything, and they definitely are not overpowered. You pay for them in "Showtime" seconds, so a big part of pregame planning is deciding on what perks (if any) to enable. Secondly, you only get them for hitting stat levels in certain traits, so it’s not like you are going to immediately have access to every perk.

My hesitancy lies mostly in theming, which some seem to lack. I get ones like Quick Wrists, which make umps call check swings in your favor. I also like the one that unlocks with speed and increases the likelihood of an error. Other ones, like those that impact the count or what teammates do, don’t make a lot of sense in context. Again, though, these are optional and don’t ruin the mode.
 
 
Franchise

Franchise mode has seen the least amount of changes, but the changes present are still important. Increased stat tracking is so important for a numbers-driven game like baseball. Having career stats really allows for more thoughtful roster decisions. I also like the authenticity provided by the new rating scale, even if it takes some getting used to. The trade finder also works better, finding multiple trades (even if a little unrealistic) instead of just one or two.

Other tweaks include more owner goals, a neat morale system and some new financial options. Of these, the morale system is my favorite. All of these are good additions, but in general the mode seems a little outdated when compared to what other franchise modes are doing. I would love to see relocation/expansion, more unique goals or even just the ability to update uniforms or import created teams. The issue with The Show’s franchise is not depth -- it certainly offers a lot to do -- it’s just a little too static, especially when compared to the rest of the game’s improvements.
 
 
Diamond Dynasty

Diamond Dynasty (DD) on the other hand, feels almost completely brand new. Two new modes, including Battle Royale and Conquest, offer new ways to use your squad, while missions and captains offer incentives to utilize players who may otherwise constantly ride the pine.

Conquest is very interesting, and thus far, my favorite. It plays like Risk in a lot of ways, except you use fans instead of soldiers. Capturing territories expands your fan base, and when you face another team you battle in a three-inning game. Three innings is just about right as far as these new modes go because you can accomplish a lot of gameplay in a little bit of time. Even though a board game like Risk and baseball may seem like an odd combination, it actually works quite well and is a lot of fun.
 

"Three innings is just about right as far as these new modes go because you can accomplish a lot of gameplay in a little bit of time."

 
Battle Royale is sort of like Madden’s Draft Champions, where you build a team and enter a quick tournament. It’s fun and challenging to build your roster for the short term; I’d say it’s even more enjoyable than Madden’s in some respects. Like that mode though, I saw a lot of the same players on the teams I went up against.

Layered on top of these modes, and traditional head-to-head Diamond Dynasty, is a new system that challenges you to use players like never before. You play for a "captain" who gives you tasks. If you meet them, you can earn the ability to purchase items from a rotating selection of prizes. It’s a neat system and rewards you for using a variety of players. However, it can feel a little daunting at first thanks to a lot of menus and multiple currencies. Thankfully, some nice tutorials help explain the newer features of the game.

While the Inside Edge performance bonuses/penalties are not live yet, I can’t wait to see how this system impact what cards are used. It’s another nice way to encourage the use of a variety of cards.
 
 
Online Play

While we’ll break this down more in the future (as we always do), I am a little disappointed in my online experiences thus far (the servers were not turned on until right before release). First, the servers really lag during peak time, almost to the point that Diamond Dynasty menus are impossible to navigate. Even Conquest, which is a single-player experience, was affected -- turns took minutes to execute.

Secondly, when I was able to get online, I experienced frequent, though not constant, drops in frame rate. The ball would hover for an instant after contact, or my pitching reticle would not respond. There is also the concern of a dropped game here and there so far. Here’s hoping online gets fixed as server load becomes stable.
 
 
Final Thoughts

I’ve been playing MLB The Show 16 for a week, and despite the core gameplay being familiar, I have experienced something new each night. Whether it’s marveling at the new lighting/rendering system, taking my created player to the Bowman Showcase or wrapping my head around my next Conquest move, there really is a ton to do. I have certainly not even covered all of the new improvements in this game.

Even if all of the modes were exactly the same as last year, the visual upgrades and animation improvements would be nearly enough to make this a recommendation in my book. Add in new features, multiple ways to play, the numerous tweaks to long-standing modes and you have a game firmly in "recommend" territory.

Score: 8.5 (Great)

MLB The Show 16 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Dazraz @ 03/31/16 03:27 PM
At this stage there's an element of expectation outweighing appreciation. Review in a months time & this game will be a 9-9.5.
 
# 2 SeaTownGamer @ 03/31/16 03:59 PM
No way it's a 9-9.5 if this game is reviewed in a month lol. 8-8.5 seems about right.
 
# 3 Quentin32 @ 03/31/16 06:09 PM
I kno different games different ratings. But man UFC the same rating as MLB just feels wrong.
 
# 4 Don Jon @ 03/31/16 06:21 PM
Yes I agree with a 8.5. The game is consistent with the game play, its just some things are off for me.

For instance, the base-running thing in the top right is about 5x too big, and the quick counts box, stays on until the pitcher starts the windup, which i'm not sure if that is a bug or not, but it is quite annoying.

Again I only play offline so im just going with that, but game modes feel about the same for me, no big improvements, just small things.
 
# 5 Lovesports @ 03/31/16 06:33 PM
It's a 9 now so I'm not sure what the issue is. The game plays well, it's not perfect but it's very good.
 
# 6 AncientDiety @ 03/31/16 07:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaTownGamer
No way it's a 9-9.5 if this game is reviewed in a month lol. 8-8.5 seems about right.
It's a 9 now imo....the show is so good it's a victim of it's success imo. A game like madden which is ten times worse reviews as well says it all.
 
# 7 jw9036 @ 03/31/16 07:27 PM
All pitching grip is a terrible in the MLB The Show 16. why SDS change the pitching grip? I can't understand... serious frame rate, terrible pitching motion capture, boring sportscaster~ I honestly think 7.5.

MLB 15 The Show - KERSHAW





MLB 16 The Show - KERSHAW





 
# 8 AncientDiety @ 03/31/16 07:29 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jw9036
All pitching grip is a terrible in the MLB The Show 16. why SDS change the pitching grip? I can't understand... serious frame rate, terrible pitching motion capture, boring sportscaster~ I honestly think 7.5.
Geez Ridiculous...there is this thing called gameplay, what you listed are minor nitpicks and certainly not deserving of a 7.5. People are spoiled. Framerate has been great for me, shrugs.
 
# 9 jw9036 @ 03/31/16 08:03 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AncientDiety
Geez Ridiculous...there is this thing called gameplay, what you listed are minor nitpicks and certainly not deserving of a 7.5. People are spoiled. Framerate has been great for me, shrugs.
I love the sports game. Especially MLB The Show. But the changes are minimal for the last 3 games. Improvement is only Diamond Dynasty mode.
 
# 10 ShaiLeGran @ 04/01/16 05:28 AM
I wish we all could feel like the reviewer. Everything is subjective, but too me graphics took a step back. Cant put my finger on it if it is colour, lightning or something else, but they dont pop as much as in 15 and the grass in certain stadiums (Pirates, for example) looks really, really ugly and distracts me (yes me, maybe not you) from the overall experience.
 
# 11 ShaiLeGran @ 04/01/16 05:31 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Jon
Yes I agree with a 8.5. The game is consistent with the game play, its just some things are off for me.

For instance, the base-running thing in the top right is about 5x too big, and the quick counts box, stays on until the pitcher starts the windup, which i'm not sure if that is a bug or not, but it is quite annoying.

Again I only play offline so im just going with that, but game modes feel about the same for me, no big improvements, just small things.
Agreed with the baserunners box, way to big
 
# 12 ShaiLeGran @ 04/01/16 05:34 AM
Also, when batting, no option to check the balls that were trown to you anymore. I think you could press left or right on de d-pad in MLB 15. Wonder why they took this out or am I missing something?
 
# 13 AncientDiety @ 04/01/16 05:54 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jw9036
I love the sports game. Especially MLB The Show. But the changes are minimal for the last 3 games. Improvement is only Diamond Dynasty mode.
That's totally false...
 
# 14 NAFBUC @ 04/01/16 06:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jw9036
All pitching grip is a terrible in the MLB The Show 16. why SDS change the pitching grip? I can't understand... serious frame rate, terrible pitching motion capture, boring sportscaster~ I honestly think 7.5.

MLB 15 The Show - KERSHAW





MLB 16 The Show - KERSHAW





Nice collection of The Show jw9036!
 
# 15 NAFBUC @ 04/01/16 06:45 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazraz
At this stage there's an element of expectation outweighing appreciation. Review in a months time & this game will be a 9-9.5.
I was lucky and received The Show a week early. My initial rating was 9.44, but I tend to rate The Show .5 higher than OS. I love baseball and that may bias my opinion.

Everyone has 'hotspots' when rating a game. Stats, player models, presentation and giving an user a chance to see the entire play are big on my list for future improvements.
 
# 16 lilrosati56 @ 04/01/16 08:50 AM
I've only played a number of Play Now games with a variety teams and stadiums, I do this until rosters are ready because once I start my Franchise I only play with one team. I haven't had any frame rate issues, at least none that I've noticed. Is it strictly an online problem? I'm very happy with the game. Better lighting, better sounds and a better throwing meter. Plus the fish eye cam is a welcomed addition, it's really helping me on the one pitch I could never adjust to, the low change up. Is the game a MASSIVE improvement to '15? No. Could I be happy with just playing '15 for the next year? Yes. But to me the small improvements are worth $60 every year. This studio just gets it.
 
# 17 countryboy @ 04/01/16 09:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaiLeGran
Also, when batting, no option to check the balls that were trown to you anymore. I think you could press left or right on de d-pad in MLB 15. Wonder why they took this out or am I missing something?
Press R2.

I believe you have to have Guess Pitch ON for this to work. If that doesn't work try pressing R3 which is what the command is when pitching.
 
# 18 jkra0512 @ 04/01/16 09:27 AM
April Fools, everyone! The game is really a 10!!! Enjoy!
 
# 19 econoodle @ 04/01/16 09:34 AM
agree on franchise thoughts.

next year presentation needs to be at the top of the list. its lagging WAY behind every other sports game ive played this gen.
 
# 20 econoodle @ 04/01/16 10:26 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by NAFBUC
I was lucky and received The Show a week early. My initial rating was 9.44, but I tend to rate The Show .5 higher than OS. I love baseball and that may bias my opinion.

Everyone has 'hotspots' when rating a game. Stats, player models, presentation and giving an user a chance to see the entire play are big on my list for future improvements.
NAf, do you play any of the other modes? if so i have preorder bonus stuff from gstop i have no interest in using, since i am only a franchise man.
 

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