The pinnacle of the Major League Baseball season is the World Series. After a 162 game grueling season that lasts nearly six to seven months, you have the final two teams battling to become World Series champions, leading to a final matchup to determine the champion. The suspense, the intensity and excitement are all on center stage now in front of the entire world to see. As a gamer, you live for these moments. You live for the big hit you need to win the game, or the play at the plate to determine the series.
In MLB 19 The Show, you can definitely play in a World Series. But when you make it to the final series in MLB The Show, does it capture the intensity? The passion? The nerve-racking moments inning after inning? Let us dig deeper into the World Series presentation and how it plays out in MLB 19 The Show.
Sadly, not much has changed in MLB The Show’s World Series presentation in the last six years. Yes, six years. Take a look at the two videos below. The first video is from MLB The Show 14 and the second is of MLB 19 The Show. There are differences, but only improved graphics in MLB 19 The Show — or flashy screens in between each cutscene. But from where the presentation is at in MLB 14 to where it has arrived in MLB 19, it is disappointing to know that zero progress has been made in this area. Try an experiment and play both the first and second video at the same time. You will notice that they follow the same exact flow from beginning to end.
And from an overall perspective, not a whole lot has changed. There is still the same type of opening with the same exact statistical screen and a shot of the players and the pitchers warming up in the bullpen. MLB 19 has done its best to trick the audience with flashy screens in between to make the player believe they are experiencing something different.
However, for the caliber of something like the MLB The Show franchise, I think the MLB The Show fans know that it is time to completely overhaul the entire playoff and World Series presentation. There is a lot of dead air in the World Series presentation, and a lot of cuts from scene to scene that are long and drawn out. There also isn’t much excitement being built from one interaction to the next. In addition, there is a stale feeling game after game when playing through a World Series that dampens the excitement of the opening and closing out of each game. The in-game presentation is the standard MLB Network presentation you will experience throughout the season as well. In short, this is the World Series and it deserves a much-needed overhaul.
Another element of presentation in sports gaming is the statistical side, and baseball is all about statistics. Over the course of the MLB season and the playoffs leading up to the World Series, a ton of statistics are tracked. Statistics in the World Series presentation are minimal. Displayed is historical data relating to how each team made it to the Series and how their players have performed. But in the World Series, the details should be deeper. It would be fantastic to see the announcer go into how well a player has batted against lefties or righties in the postseason. Or how many players a team has left on base in the postseason. Details on statistics you don’t normally hear during the regular season would add a fresh new layer into the World Series experience.
How Can It Improve?
In the World Series, baseball comes down to every pitch, foul tip, ground ball or double play. There is a do or die feeling in the World Series. Unfortunately, MLB The Show 19 has not evolved their playoff and World Series presentation in the last six years. It is the same standard intro and doesn’t give me any extra excitement for a chance at becoming a champion. MLB The Show presentation can make several changes to improve playoff and World Series presentation.
One area is fan noise. This is a major area of World Series gameplay to focus on. If you watch the World Series on TV, you will notice how much louder the fans sound. It’s almost deafening to the players on the field. Each two-strike moment is accompanied by fans ready to erupt. Improving in this area and building the fan noise with accurate levels mixed in against the PA and commentators will amplify the experience. Take the WWE, NHL, and older Madden titles as examples. The hype is built in these titles by using the announcer to set up the stage and bring the gamer into the box. Building hype with intro videos like those in WWE that accompany the wrestlers to the ring. Just like you watch on actual television broadcasts, the Monday Night and Sunday Night Football intro videos are used to build the excitement for all of the primetime matchups. In my opinion, gamers want to feel as if they are replicating exactly what they see on TV each week.
Let us take a look at Madden 13, and although this is an older video, you can see they were on the right track with the general idea. There is a nice solid introduction with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms that brings you into the booth and sets up the fact that this is it, this is the Super Bowl. The final game for the championship. If only they had continued in this direction and built upon it, then it could have rivaled areas of NFL 2K5.
If MLB The Show takes a look back at past games and then takes bits and pieces of current titles, I believe they can create a dynamic and engaging presentation for all of their modes. The key is creating separation from spring training to the regular season to the playoffs and then the World Series. With an added focus on rebuilding their playoff and World Series presentation, they could take the game to the next level and build hype for people who want to re-create what they are used to watching on TV.