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Best 8th Gen Series Award: MLB The Show

Best game from last generation

MLB The Show 21

Best 8th Gen Series Award: MLB The Show

When the new consoles launched in 2020, it did not feel quite right to call it the “end of an era” yet because not every sports game even made it to those consoles at launch. We got some “performance updates” and other phrasing around the new-gen updated games, and so it felt a little early. This year we got NHL, eFootball, and a lot of other games we did not see during the 2020/21 window of releases on the newest consoles, so it feels like a majority of companies have made the leap now. And maybe even now it’s too soon to call it the end of that era when many people still can’t find a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S. Still, we’re considering 2021 the end of the 8th generation of consoles, and we believe MLB The Show should win the Best 8th Gen Series Award.

Best 8th Generation Series: MLB The Show

best 8th gen series

This award came down to consistency. What series was the best during that run from roughly 2013 to 2021? If you can remember back that far, at the start of the generation I think we all would have said NBA 2K would end up dominating it.

The Momentous NBA 2K14 trailer was an all-timer in terms of building hype for a game that looked truly next-gen, and it did end up being a showcase at launch for the power of the next-gen consoles. On top of that, 2K14 felt different on the court, and it just seemed like a great first entry that would set the tone for all sports games to try and live up to the next several years.

On the other side of things, MLB The Show 14 was delayed on next-gen consoles into May, and while it did have visual upgrades, it did not feel as “next gen” as NBA 2K14. This was not a new place for The Show to be in either because the PS3 era of The Show (MLB 07, which was also delayed to May) also got off to a sort of false start before SDS found a groove the following year.

To say the 7th and 8th generations mirrored each other in how things progressed would be an oversimplification, but I do think it’s fair to say that MLB The Show caught up with NBA 2K by about MLB The Show 16 or so. From there, these two games generally battled it out for pole position in the community, and most years it was these two games that the staff would argue about year to year for the “best game of the year” award.

I don’t think it would be incorrect to give either NBA 2K or MLB The Show this award, but I think a couple factors made up the difference. MLB The Show had year-to-year saves and custom rosters that could also exist year to year, which meant you did not have to start from scratch when you picked up the new game. This was a huge deal for franchise mode fans, and for people who did not want to start from scratch every year when creating new rosters.

It maybe does not seem like the “biggest” feature, but that continuity was the general way The Show held up against the might of NBA 2K‘s more rapid implementation of new ideas that made their modes more impressive than what was in The Show. NBA 2K was sort of the three-outcome player to MLB The Show‘s contact-heavy approach. Or maybe the better way to put is 2K was that oft-injured superstar, while you could count on The Show to make it on the diamond and be above replacement at the end of every season. The lifetime WAR totals probably ended up being close to even, but you just trusted one player’s performance to be more consistent year to year.

Beyond that, I do think gameplay matters here as well. Again, NBA 2K generally tries to implement new gameplay mechanics more often than The Show, but no game remains as consistent year to year as The Show. You can knock it at times for maybe not evolving enough, but the formula is tried and true on the diamond, and rarely is “gameplay” the reason The Show struggles during a year.

Lastly, I don’t think Diamond Dynasty should go unmentioned. Depending on who you are, you can take it as a negative in some regard that Diamond Dynasty probably received the most transformational updates during the 8th generation — it would battle with Road to the Show for those honors — but it absolutely improved year after year to now dominate that area of things. Maybe it doesn’t compete with any of the heavy hitters in terms of the profits it makes from packs or in-game currency, but it’s without question the best mode of that sort.

Beyond those two juggernauts, I think Forza Horizon and Super Mega Baseball deserve some amount of recognition as well. Neither game came out every single year, but both series almost universally nailed it when they did get a release. On a personal level, I really did struggle between Super Mega Baseball and MLB The Show for my own personal selection, but I think considering the length of this generation, it made me lean just slightly more towards The Show.

I do think one final game to call out here is Rocket League. It was not in our voting because there was only one game, but it would be relatively easy to argue it was one of the more important games of the generation, and it remains one of the best games to this day. It’s just that the Psyonix developers more or less perfected their formula with this version, so it’s made more sense to just grow that audience while focusing on the esports aspect of things and getting people to buy new cosmetics as a way to keep the game profitable.

All in all, I don’t think the 8th generation will go down as an all-time generation for sports games, but there was still quite a few series that were consistently excellent, and MLB The Show was out in front of them all.

Community Vote – Best 8th Generation Series

  1. MLB The Show
  2. NBA 2K
  3. Forza Horizon
  4. FIFA
  5. Super Mega Baseball

The community oscillated between the same two games the staff did for this selection. MLB The Show ultimately won by a relatively comfortable margin. Forza Horizon, FIFA, and Super Mega Baseball all had around the same number of votes as they battled it out for the bronze.

 

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  1. It is well deserved. Greatest console sports series ever. And the PS4 run of 14-20 is as epic as it gets with Y2Y saves and the plethora of Classic Rosters to grace the game and keep it’s replayability virtually unlimited.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Steve_OS

    When the new consoles launched in 2020, it did not feel quite right to call it...
    Written By: Chase Becotte
    Click here to view the article.

    It's so good and yet I feel robbed because as an Xbox owner, I'm just now experiencing how this game is beyond Madden and 2k (2K was always my favorite, no more thx to MLB). I feel like calling it the best 8th gen is insulting because the #8 is not #1.
    As a gamer who plays it sim style, I've plowed through multiple seasons of 2k, 12 min qtrs, and I remember the last 20 games I'm always ready for the playoffs, something fresh.
    While I've only been months since I first played the show, it's preventing me from playing anything else. Microsoft countdown sale,, I got 2k22 and Vanguard and yet I'm firing up a game of baseball right now.
    It's the presentation but it's also the game itself. Never have I played a game so much, took a thorough a$$ kicking and come back to say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?" It's that good, even losing is a blast.
    I don't even wanna talk about why Microsoft can do some so many great things except delivered a baseball game. I'd take it as the option for stranded on a dessert island. Next thing I'll be ordering anabolic steroids and roid rage smashing my console.
    If I could build a bench, with tubs of sunflower seeds, bubble gum, I'd use it more than my gaming chair. And of course I wear eye black while playing even though I didn't wear it back in my younger days when I did play.
    We all know where this is going, I've already called Maury Povich for a paternity test but the show will be my father no matter what!
    I might be bias but I'll say yes, it's a runaway first place product.
    ...the PS4 run of 14-20 is as epic as it gets with Y2Y saves and the plethora of Classic Rosters to grace the game and keep it’s replayability virtually unlimited.

    It's so good and yet I feel robbed because as an Xbox owner, I'm just now experiencing how this game is beyond Madden and 2k (2K was always my favorite, no more thx to MLB). I feel like calling it the best 8th gen is insulting because the #8 is not #1.
    nothing wrong with having another console to go with the xbox, finding a used and affordable PS4 just to replay 14-20 using Y2Y like A&S was saying, could be epic.
    I originally played 14-20 with carry-over using Atlanta but now I rebooted my carry-over and started over with 14 and going to replay and carry-over with Baltimore all the way through 20.
    my appetite for all things baseball is unsatiable lol
    Caulfield
    nothing wrong with having another console to go with the xbox, finding a used and affordable PS4 just to replay 14-20 using Y2Y like A&S was saying, could be epic.
    I originally played 14-20 with carry-over using Atlanta but now I rebooted my carry-over and started over with 14 and going to replay and carry-over with Baltimore all the way through 20.
    my appetite for all things baseball is unsatiable lol

    LOL I did the same thing with Cleveland, which is why I decided to not move on to '21. Honestly I was thinking about doing the same thing and going back to '14 and doing the run over again with another team.
    Caulfield
    nothing wrong with having another console to go with the xbox, finding a used and affordable PS4 just to replay 14-20 using Y2Y like A&S was saying, could be epic.
    I originally played 14-20 with carry-over using Atlanta but now I rebooted my carry-over and started over with 14 and going to replay and carry-over with Baltimore all the way through 20.
    my appetite for all things baseball is unsatiable lol

    I would normally say no way fo having two consoles but for the show, I'm already browsing right now. Beat idea for 20'22 yet!
    uk389117

    I would normally say no way fo having two consoles but for the show, I'm already browsing right now. Beat idea for 20'22 yet!

    You will not regret it.......and grab all those incredible classic/Bacons fictional rosters on MLB 20’s vault....it is incredible.
    Deserved in my biased opinion (I don't play the other sports games), but this game has continually gotten better with each installment. For me the small things that don't make back of the box marketing are what have made this series to move forward with the feeling of familiarity but not being stale.
    No secret on this site, but I play this year round and stop once the new version drops. Playing every pitch of every game from Spring Training to when my season ends, no two games feel alike.
    Definitely earned here. With 20 being the best in the series, this is an easy choice.
    The last few iterations of this game, 17-20, have been the most fun I have ever had in a baseball game since the days of Ken Griffey Jr presents Major league baseball on the SNES. Before 19, the last time I finished a full season on an MLB game was that SNES game in the mid 90s. The show 17 and 18 were great games too but I was obsessed with unlocking the mysteries of roster potential theories and building rosters instead of playing. I know l know.
    But that doesn't change the fact that 20 is the epitome of an amazing baseball game that will entertain for the entire next generation of consoles.
    Funkycorm
    Definitely earned here. With 20 being the best in the series, this is an easy choice.
    But that doesn't change the fact that 20 is the epitome of an amazing baseball game that will entertain for the entire next generation of consoles.

    Yep. Bottom line. My friend and I have been playing video baseball games, seems like for centuries. We both are STILL awed by things we see in this game with the gameplay and both say....."how the hell do they do this?"
    Pretty amazing game that really doesn't get tiresome.

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