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Best Career Mode in 2019: MLB The Show 19's Road To The Show

MLB The Show 19

Best Career Mode in 2019: MLB The Show 19's Road To The Show

With our staff voting for Best Career Mode in 2019, it was an extremely close contest. The decision came down to QB1 in Madden NFL 20 versus MLB The Show 19‘s Road to the Show. In the end, Road to the Show won out by a small margin.

I think the right career mode won out in the end, and it’s because RttS is simply the most consistent career mode out there. On top of that, it’s still the only major console sports game carrying over your saves from game to game. Save transferring was an incredible feature when it was first introduced, and it remains an incredible one today. I’m sure it’s not easy to setup the infrastructure to bring saves from game to game, but it’s imperative that more sports games get to this feature at some point. We have been playing yearly sports titles forever, and it’s way past time we got more out of sticking with a gaming franchise year after year.

QB1 has a good opener and shows a lot of promise, and it’s why some staff members were passionate about it. The problem is the mode fades fast and eventually gives way to a career mode that simply is not as well rounded as RttS. The Show’s gameplay loop is simply better than Madden’s for a career mode, and then on top of that, it just has better extras to get you invested a bit more.

With Road to the Show, the focus this year was more on off-the-field elements like personality traits, archetypes, mini-games and perks. In other words, Road to the Show has continued to verge towards trying to become a full-on RPG (albeit it does not go as crazy off the field as something like MLB Power Pros did years back). These changes can take away from the “purity” of the game on the field, but it’s not as absurd as some of the stuff you end up doing in something like NBA 2K’s MyCareer.

On top of that, I don’t think everything added to the game this cycle really added a whole lot. Still, Road to the Show starts from a position of power. It is the most consistent career mode, and by having year-to-year saves a lot of people are invested in their characters in a special sort of way.

That being said, Road to the Show is stagnating a bit, but it really is hard to beat the gameplay loop. After all, even when the gameplay loop lets you down — being an outfielder can be boring because you never really get to throw anyone out or make a ton of spectacular plays — something smaller like a tweak to the simulation engine feels like the fix rather than some massive overhaul.

The bigger issue is that Road to the Show still lacks a bit of punch and excitement off the field. The developers have tried to spruce it up and add new things to do, but it still feels like busywork a good amount of time as you wait to get back out on the field. I don’t think I want to see Road to the Show follow the trend of having a super linear, story-driven start to career mode before going into the normal Road to the Show loop, but it would be nice to see The Show get even more dynamic and interesting with the choices you’re making off the field.

Be that as it may, Road to the Show is still a solid career mode and deserves this award.

Community Vote

1.    MLB The Show 19 – Road to the Show
2.    NBA 2K20 – MyCareer
3.    Madden NFL 20 – QB1

The community vote was not nearly as close. Road to the Show got just about 53 percent of the vote and easily took home the award. NBA 2K20‘s MyCareer checked in around 32 percent, and QB1 in Madden 20 trailed way behind that with 6 percent of the vote.

If MyCareer mode did not have such rough launches, and it did not feel like you were getting squeezed for money so often, it would probably do better in the voting. But that’s just not the reality of the situation right now with the NBA 2K franchise. Within the community, QB1 just didn’t get much traction because too many people don’t like a ton about the mode beyond the very opening portions of it. None of these things are new criticisms for these titles, but they are the strongest points made against those modes in the community.

With Road to the Show, certainly some mention issues and talk about it being a little boring at times, but people still love sharing their stories about what’s happening in their careers. Again, the ability to convert saves from game to game has been a huge positive for MLB The Show, and it’s no question a reason why people love it.

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  1. I'll say this...I am NOT a player career mode kind of guy. I have no innate desire to "be a player" - so it just doesn't resonate for me....
    That said, I've watched streamers play RTTS, and it is a really darn cool mode this year. It's not a surprise that RTTS is the most played mode in The Show. They have a lot of cool little features that help it stand out (the boss battles or whatever they are called - very freakin' cool).
    I am not sold on any of these games but I must say that when you look at the overall fun factor of things, I must say that I would have ruled it either a tie between NBA 2k20 and the Show 19 or I would have sent a message and declared no winners at all due to the stagnant state of sports gaming. Madden 20 shouldn't even be mentioned in this argument. I've spent the past few days playing Maddens 17-20 and I can say that I really found very little to decipher the difference between any of them.
    I tried it a few times but always got drafted by the Orioles. Different rounds, same team. Seemed the case for others as well. If they fixed that, I would take another look.
    *edit* Definitely fixed.
    I think I'll take a managers or general managers (or even an owners) career mode over a players career mode.
    So the Best Career Mode in MLB The Show 19, IMO, is...
    ...Franchise Mode, bare bones & warts all.
    So so so glad there is no story mode in this mode. All they have to do is add more decision making off the field, perhaps a rivalry system,  and keep on improving what's already there that's off the field.
    Still needs improvement. I jokingly call it Road to the Bench because the AI somehow always tries it's hardest to keep you from playing unless it has no choice. Oh you're better than all our right fielders? Let's trade for one with a higher rating and then have you ride the bench. Oh you're rated higher than all the other starters at you're secondary positions? Nah we'll just keep trotting out this journeyman that can't hit above the mendoza line. Oh you just won MVP, we'll sign Mookie Betts and bench you.
    Oh, you wanted to play your career as a right fielder? Well too bad, you're a first basemen forever!
    BatsareBugs
    Still needs improvement. I jokingly call it Road to the Bench because the AI somehow always tries it's hardest to keep you from playing unless it has no choice. Oh you're better than all our right fielders? Let's trade for one with a higher rating and then have you ride the bench. Oh you're rated higher than all the other starters at you're secondary positions? Nah we'll just keep trotting out this journeyman that can't hit above the mendoza line. Oh you just won MVP, we'll sign Mookie Betts and bench you.
    Oh, you wanted to play your career as a right fielder? Well too bad, you're a first basemen forever!

    Over the last couple of years, I have definitely experienced some of what you speak of with previous RTTS characters I created. For sure there is some crazy "hard to explain" logic going on behind the scenes. But I am in the midst of experiencing something different and only time will tell if I can hold on to my starting position with a new RTTS player I just started the other day.
    I have several RTTS players most of whom I am thinking of killing off once the new MLB The Show 20 game drops in March and one of these RTTS players is a SS who is at the end of his 2nd year playing at the MLB level for the Giants and no his ratings are not as good yet as the Giant's regular SS starter Brandon Crawford. So the game is correct in only using this RTTS SS player at this time as a utility man on the team. The good thing is that while he was not the starting SS, he still got plenty of starts in his rookie MLB season mostly in LF (where the talent in LF is thin on this Giants team), but he also started a number of games at 2B, 3B and yes SS when the regular starters needed a day off. But I am not sure how many more years I must endure riding the bench with my Giants SS. I suspect at least one more year, maybe more.
    But I thought I would try something different with a new RTTS player and so far "knock on wood", my success appears to be unprecedented. Now is this just short term success, or will it last? Only time will tell. You see I scanned the league looking for teams that didn't have a highly skilled SS starter and settled on the Detroit Tigers and made sure they drafted me (thanks to MLB 19 where you can pick your own team for RTTS players). I guess I had good results during my "Show Case" games and came out of it with the potential of an "A" player (whereas my previous RTTS SS was only a "C"). I then had a very good April, May and June on the AA team. But what happened next was a surprise. Normally the path of progression for RTTS positional players is AA until the All Star break. Then AAA for the remainder of the season followed by an invite to the MLB Spring Training and then you earn a spot on the 25 man MLB roster where you ride the bench and only appear in games as a pinch hitter until later in the season when you get the odd start when the starters need a rest. But here is where things differed for my new Tiger's SS. In the third week of June, he got called up, but got called up not to the AAA team but instead got called up to the MLB squad where right from the get go he has been assigned as the starting SS. Now I still need to finish the season with this player and it is anyone's guess as to what will happen next season. Will he maintain his starting role into Spring Training and the 2020 Season or will the game revert back to it's normal logic (as mention by the previous poster) where he needs to ride the bench and be happy as a utility player. Once again, only time will tell. But I am enjoying the starting role for now, even if it is on a poor team. RTTS can be fun. But sometimes it does some weird hard to explain things. :lol:
    PS: I have played every inning of my AA games and now MLB games where every plate and fielding opportunity were actually played with this new RTTS SS player I recently started. None of my appearances were simulated. Now my new RTTS player does not have a whole lot of power to his swing. In about 70 AA games he only managed to hit 3 HRs, but he was hitting around .340 with 30+ RBIs when he got called up to the Show. All my stats to date are the result of what happened on the field and while I could be wrong, I wonder if SDS is rewarding me with my accelerated progression simply because my stats for this new player are my actual stats, not simulated stats. While he doesn't hit for power, he does gets on base a lot. Money Ball? LOL

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