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MLB The Show 18 First Impressions

MLB The Show 18

MLB The Show 18 First Impressions

One of the hardest things to accomplish as a developer of a yearly title is to make a game feel fresh and new to the community, and even more so with a sports title. Well, that is the burden that has been tasked to the developers over at Sony San Diego, the creators of MLB The Show. The biggest worry for me is that I literally play this title almost year-round, and so it’s even harder for the developers to shock me in a good way. Thankfully though, from the minute I took the field, I was amazed by all the newly included nuances that just dripped with baseball TLC. Obviously that is a bit of hyperbole, and a personal opinion that will not be shared by all, but for me, my initial impressions were beyond any hope that I selfishly carried inside.

The Good

Upon entering my first exhibition title, the initial surprise was just how much better the game looks overall. Now, I am playing on a PS4 Pro with a 4K Samsung TV and enabled HDR, so that definitely helps, but it goes beyond just graphical fidelity. The colors pop, the player movement is fluid, and the stadium detail is certainly improved.

While all of that is very exciting, upgraded graphics and colors will only hold for so long if the gameplay feels the same. That being said, I also immediately noticed the refined ball physics, the weight of the ball as it springs off the bat, and the new fielding cameras and cutscenes.

All of this combined had me wanting to keep playing exhibition games between different clubs, over and over. Now please, think about what I just said there.

I am someone who plays this title throughout the year, and yet the new inclusions had me wanting to play simple exhibition games with random teams, just so I could continue to embrace and enjoy all the new little details that the developers have put in place here.

The Bad

While playing defense, although it has been tweaked and refined, I still noticed some of the same bothersome animations that for any veteran of the series will be noticeable almost instantaneously — ”Ole” anyone? The commentary, even with the addition of MLB Network’s Mark DeRosa, still feels a bit stale, and at times badly disjointed.

There were times where simple pop-ups just beyond the infield would be described as deep drives to center, or a squib hit just foul up the line would be addressed by Matt Vasgersian (play-by-play announcer), as a hard shot down the line that could be a two-bagger.

On top of the commentary and animation issues that still crop up, if you’re looking to play a single season by yourself or an online franchise with some of your friends, well you need to look elsewhere because you won’t be doing that in MLB The Show 18 as both have been removed.

Final Analysis

There is no question that, as with any title, the more you play the more your impressions of the game will change. But for now, these are some of my early views of the newest baseball title from SDS.

We’ll be checking back in with more in-depth thoughts and deeper dives into the modes in the days to come. 

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  1. DvsClint
    Why in thenhell is it so hard to throw the ball accurately??
    What’s the trick there

    In what capacity? Pitching or fielding?
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    The article is right about the commentary being ''at times badly disjointed''. I know they mentioned that Vasgersian Plesac & DeRosa would record their lines together in the same studio, but IMO that wasnt even the real problem previously. I know they want that 3rd man booth, but the commentary would be fine with just 2 guys, & frankly, would also be better .
    Caulfield
    The article is right about the commentary being ''at times badly disjointed''. I know they mentioned that Vasgersian Plesac & DeRosa would record their lines together in the same studio, but IMO that wasnt even the real problem previously. I know they want that 3rd man booth, but the commentary would be fine with just 2 guys, & frankly, would also be better .
    I completely agree about the 2 man booth. I have no idea why they want 3 so badly
    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk
    I can't imagine Derosa recorded as many lines as Reynolds. He is much more quiet and I've heard a ton of repeats already. They would have been better off kust keeping all of Reynolds lines and just have plesac and Matty v record the new stuff
    Sent from my Redmi 4 using Tapatalk
    Agree you with Bob in terms of how great this year's title is. There are things that still bug me, such as the "ole" that you mentioned. I also think that the corner infielders miss too many plays, but overall the game feels extremely solid and fluid from the first pitch to the last.
    oilersfan99
    I completely agree about the 2 man booth. I have no idea why they want 3 so badly
    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk

    The commentary truly is bad and I all ready think I want to turn it off and just use stadium crowd. So disappointing year after year. :(
    Not only does Matty V still sound boring and stale and like a robot instead of a real human being but there are times where both the color commentary guys go silent for too long.
    It's been like this for 10+ years so at this point I think we all need to just get used to it and understand that it is not going to get better any time soon.
    MLB The Show 18 commentary can put you to sleep at times!
    Having said that SDS did a fantastic job on the presentation visuals in 18 :)
    I may be in the minority but I think the commentary is a bit better this year vs year's past. There are still times when they seem disjointed and make odd remarks, as Bob noted in his article, but overall I think the commentary is solid/good.
    I particularly like how they reference the player on base. And they seem to call fielder's names a bit more this year.
    The article mentions strange commentary prompts. I have a hilarious one as well that I'll bring up once I upload the video for it.
    isherdish
    I can't imagine Derosa recorded as many lines as Reynolds. He is much more quiet and I've heard a ton of repeats already.

    Have you played the Mets yet? I've played against them six times. Every time they go into the Mets defense he does this weird accent thing when he says "New York Metropolitans." I hate hate hate standout repeat lines. It would almost make me not want to start a Mets franchise if I liked them lol.
    DvsClint
    Why in thenhell is it so hard to throw the ball accurately??
    What’s the trick there

    bluengold34_OS
    In what capacity? Pitching or fielding?

    Perhaps hitting, maybe? :y11:
    countryboy
    I may be in the minority but I think the commentary is a bit better this year vs year's past. There are still times when they seem disjointed and make odd remarks, as Bob noted in his article, but overall I think the commentary is solid/good.
    I particularly like how they reference the player on base. And they seem to call fielder's names a bit more this year.

    See that's actually still one of my big issues with the commentary.
    Maybe it's better as you say but honestly I am not seeing any improvement in this area. Still to many times Matty V will say "He makes the play" instead of the players name?
    One of the big focuses for 19 should be to make sure Matty V and the color guys say the players names like 90% of the time if not more when fielding a ball.
    The show 18 is by far the best they have ever produced in terms of the game on the field. As a manage mode exclusive franchise player I would have preferred to see a little more done with franchise but the gameplay improvements are phenomenal.
    Superman infielders are gone, new ball spin is realistic, new animations are good. Best game in the series. I'm reluctant to download any patches because I like the game as it is.
    The exclusion of the season mode really kills this game for me. I am a gamer and play all the COD games online. I am currently playing seasons in NBA live 18 and 2K18 as well as NHL 18 and FIFA 18. Heck i just now made it to the playoffs in Madden18 and I have been playing Fortnite. I have a wife and kids and a job, so I just don't have time to play 164 games. I know you can sim but part of the fun for me is looking at my stats. I don't want the computer stats mixed in with mine. As others have ssid, i find listening to Matt V boring. They need to find some new announcers. The commentary has grown stale.
    oldmanonsilvercreek
    The exclusion of the season mode really kills this game for me. I am a gamer and play all the COD games online. I am currently playing seasons in NBA live 18 and 2K18 as well as NHL 18 and FIFA 18. Heck i just now made it to the playoffs in Madden18 and I have been playing Fortnite. I have a wife and kids and a job, so I just don't have time to play 164 games. I know you can sim but part of the fun for me is looking at my stats. I don't want the computer stats mixed in with mine. As others have ssid, i find listening to Matt V boring. They need to find some new announcers. The commentary has grown stale.

    Are you playing on the Ps4 pro or Ps4,? Because I'm playing on Ps4 pro and it is very spot on little repetition.
    As I previously stated, the biggest and best change for me is how good the color red is. Cardinals, Reds, Angels and Red Sox all look fantastic! Other than that, franchise mode feels pretty much the same but the game is very good overall.
    I think they did a helluva job on commentary year 1, the deeper you get into franchise the better it gets as you build up history your story gets told. I think you guys are being quite harsh with no caveats and besides they are recorded lines so they are bound to repeat some things and I don't think that shoud be the sole reason for being a negative. This happens in all sports games, you can't get around that. I just think context matters and if they are in context in the 90 percentile then so be it.
    So far, MLB 18 is a disappointment. I play Franchise mode, so a menu update and new rosters are a disappointment. The graphical difference from last year's game is a minimal improvement to my eyes, your's my vary. The primary thought I had going through my head as I played was that the developer team most have pulled staff off the project to work on the PS5 version's development or something. It's still a solid game, but is falling way behind several other sports video game franchises in feature depth.
    countryboy
    I may be in the minority but I think the commentary is a bit better this year vs year's past.

    I am fairly optimistic about it this year, it's still a bit early and i haven't played any games in franchise but if some of the commentary i have heard in play now games is in franchise and is dynamic, able to be applied to all players, both created/drafted and current mlb players then that would be a big improvement imo and definitely heading in the right direction.
    Some of the things i have heard include where a player is from, drafted, years in majors, team player was traded from and milestones players are close to achieving.
    EnigmaNemesis
    Do you know what elements they are saying this about?

    1) Pitchers seem to only progress in "break" and "control" for their primary pitches while other pitches get ignored, unless they sim
    2) Arm strength not training
    3) People getting called up too quickly after changing positions or getting an agent. So no progression since they'll just be riding the bench.
    4) Players with low fielding attributes starting at DH but can't leave DH since the only way to progress fielding attributes is by actually playing the field.
    5) The game not differentiating between earned runs and runs so both affecting your ERA.
    6) New outfielder camera is wonky
    These are the issues I've seen others talk about.
    bxphenom7
    1) Pitchers seem to only progress in "break" and "control" for their primary pitches while other pitches get ignored, unless they sim
    2) Arm strength not training
    3) People getting called up too quickly after changing positions or getting an agent. So no progression since they'll just be riding the bench.
    4) Players with low fielding attributes starting at DH but can't leave DH since the only way to progress fielding attributes is by actually playing the field.
    5) The game not differentiating between earned runs and runs so both affecting your ERA.
    6) New outfielder camera is wonky
    These are the issues I've seen others talk about.

    Thanks for the reply. I hope things can get ironed out soon.
    EnigmaNemesis
    Thanks for the reply. I hope things can get ironed out soon.

    No problem. Yeah, I hope they get ironed out too. Until all of this logic's fixed, won't be getting the game. Glad I didn't preorder.
    I am franchise player and does seem pretty much all they did was update the menus. Gameplay seems more fluid. I like seeing the players reactions. Also saw a cool play where Rizzo blocks base hit with his back in mid air. Looks like what they did in the draft to make sure there was enough players was to cut out the seventh round. Commentary does get to old after awhile. Two man booth would be alot better than what we have now. I am still glad I bought the game.
    bxphenom7
    1) Pitchers seem to only progress in "break" and "control" for their primary pitches while other pitches get ignored, unless they sim
    2) Arm strength not training
    3) People getting called up too quickly after changing positions or getting an agent. So no progression since they'll just be riding the bench.
    4) Players with low fielding attributes starting at DH but can't leave DH since the only way to progress fielding attributes is by actually playing the field.
    5) The game not differentiating between earned runs and runs so both affecting your ERA.
    6) New outfielder camera is wonky
    These are the issues I've seen others talk about.

    Started a new RTTS with an SP and can definitely confirm #1.
    does anyone know why the game will not install? it allows me to play the dodgers vs astros game but the bar at the top that says installing is half way filled green and has been so for several hours now.
    i payed for this game through the playstation market
    ecuecu123
    does anyone know why the game will not install? it allows me to play the dodgers vs astros game but the bar at the top that says installing is half way filled green and has been so for several hours now.
    i payed for this game through the playstation market

    Go to your PS4 home screen, press Dpad up, and go to notifications. Then downloads, which should be at the top of the screen. If you see MLB 18 with a download progress bar and the numbers moving, your game is still downloading/installing. You will only be able to play the full version once it finishes.
    And it depends on your internet speed as to how fast that process will go. The game is 51 GB, which can take a while for people with slower connections (for me, it was 13-14 hours in all)
    ecuecu123
    does anyone know why the game will not install? it allows me to play the dodgers vs astros game but the bar at the top that says installing is half way filled green and has been so for several hours now.
    i payed for this game through the playstation market

    bcruise
    Go to your PS4 home screen, press Dpad up, and go to notifications. Then downloads, which should be at the top of the screen. If you see MLB 18 with a download progress bar and the numbers moving, your game is still downloading/installing. You will only be able to play the full version once it finishes.
    And it depends on your internet speed as to how fast that process will go. The game is 51 GB, which can take a while for people with slower connections (for me, it was 13-14 hours in all)

    thank you, i guess i should have just bought the actual disc instead as it says there are still 4 hours remaining smh
    Well, short, but sweet, I guess. Game will never be ideal. There will be stuff that pops up, e.g., the super close up by the manager’s face on a home run, but l’m not really sure what it takes to remove this. I haven’t seen the relief pitcher drop his glove yet, but it’s not to say it’s not still there. The additions I’ve seen presentation wise are really good (don’t have that quick fade and reset after almost every pitvh now). I know the game will offer more goodies as it goes along and with the huge gameplay improvements and graphical upgrades I’m in it for the entire season.
    ecuecu123
    thank you, i guess i should have just bought the actual disc instead as it says there are still 4 hours remaining smh

    Pause and start the download, it should lower the install time. May take a few attempts.
    The online pitcher/batter challenge is subpar this year for sure. The pitch speed seems to be slowed down considerably and you can't get a pitch by anyone anymore. You're lucky to register 1-2 strike outs per game on the mound. The ball is put into play far too often. Pitchers having 20 or so pitches thrown thru 3-4 innings.
    This makes all pitchers, for the most part, essentially the same. It doesn't matter if you have top tier pitchers Kluber, Scherzer, or Kershaw or if you a 65 rated #5 starter.
    Add to the fact that the PCI is gigantic and the most enjoyable aspect of baseball is missing...pitcher vs. batter. The chess game is gone at this point. I used to love playing online pitching with or hitting against nasty pitchers. If the development team's goal was to make hitting easier then they accomplished it. It's just not fun in it's current state. Just my take.
    bxphenom7
    1) Pitchers seem to only progress in "break" and "control" for their primary pitches while other pitches get ignored, unless they sim
    2) Arm strength not training
    3) People getting called up too quickly after changing positions or getting an agent. So no progression since they'll just be riding the bench.
    4) Players with low fielding attributes starting at DH but can't leave DH since the only way to progress fielding attributes is by actually playing the field.
    5) The game not differentiating between earned runs and runs so both affecting your ERA.
    6) New outfielder camera is wonky
    These are the issues I've seen others talk about.

    Add to the list additional pitch training did not show up after 3 years of simming. Something is a miss.
    Inflated X/9 stats result in being dragged up to the majors rather quickly given development of pitches is slow given bug #1 and all pitch training has a X/9 stat tied to if.
    I would love to find the clown who programed RTTS this way and give them a piece of my mind.
    CAMPBLACKMAMBA24
    Accurate assessment Bob!!
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Gracias James - I really am enjoying the game a lot more than I anticipated...even with some of the issues.
    Bronk_Bonin
    The online pitcher/batter challenge is subpar this year for sure. The pitch speed seems to be slowed down considerably and you can't get a pitch by anyone anymore. You're lucky to register 1-2 strike outs per game on the mound. The ball is put into play far too often. Pitchers having 20 or so pitches thrown thru 3-4 innings.
    This makes all pitchers, for the most part, essentially the same. It doesn't matter if you have top tier pitchers Kluber, Scherzer, or Kershaw or if you a 65 rated #5 starter.
    Add to the fact that the PCI is gigantic and the most enjoyable aspect of baseball is missing...pitcher vs. batter. The chess game is gone at this point. I used to love playing online pitching with or hitting against nasty pitchers. If the development team's goal was to make hitting easier then they accomplished it. It's just not fun in it's current state. Just my take.

    I'm kind of disagreement with you on this. Actually trying to pitch by moving eye levels and setting up pitches is really fun online this year. I wouldn't know about elite pitchers since I don't have anyone above silver.
    Pretty happy with where the game is right now, and the servers has been a lot better this year. Kudos to SDS!!!
    2 biggest gripe :
    - Fielding (especially OF) is ridiculous. 1/3 time they’re running thru the ball.
    - what the hell with paywalling almost all programs behind A LOT of souvenirs? Either award more souvenirs or lower the requirements... It’s taking all the fun away from me :/
    The commentary is pretty bad. Game 2 of my franchise and they were talking about how gregorious is having a terrible season so far but has time to turn it around lol
    My only complaint so far is the canned animations. Ole play happens too often. Infielders sometimes won't even respond to input when a shallow pop fly is hit right behind then which result in a hit as they go into the "watch" animation. The slow down speed and lunge with glove animation happens a lot as well with shallow pop flies.
    Other than these animations the game has been really fun to me outside of a graphical glitch here or there.
    It's funny how most of the "first impression" complaints are about commentary or animations. How about we point out the actual issue that servers are having ALREADY and the game isn't even at full release. We get fed a line about removing online franchise because it will make the "new technology" more sustainable with the servers. Don't see how anyone can believe that at this point. I love baseball as much as anyone. It is literally the only video game I buy every year and play still. I see the same issues with servers coming up for the next couple weeks like we experience every year and we all just keep on buying the game. I've had 3 games not count in Conquest and 2 of my 3 BR games disconnected as well. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me 5 times, well I (we) are quite the suckers.
    My fairly quick impressions...
    Count me as one who strictly played Season Mode. So, I definitely was not happy it was excluded. However, I guess I can simply set everything to AUTO with regards to all the off the field stuff. So, there is a workaround unless of course you wish to play a shorter season, which is not possible now. Whether or not they can patch it in, who knows. All I know is they are taking some pretty big heat from not communicating this exclusion. 
    So, they added Mark DeRosa to the commentary, but it still sounds very disjointed. I seem to recall they saying it will now sound like all three guys are in the same booth. I'm not sensing that. First of all, I don't think it's necessary to have a 3 man booth. Maybe for the playoffs and World Series. I'm bored with Matt V but it would sound better with just one other color commentary. I'm just surprised after all these years it doesn't sounds very authentic. 2K's baseball game was world's better in this category. 
    It's definitely easier to smash and pitch. I had to bump the level up from my standard Veteran skill for both pitching and hitting to All-Star. Also, I increased the speed on both the fastball and change-up to 7 each. Too slow for my tastes. There's definitely subtle improvements to how the ball comes off the bat. I'm seeing many varieties of hits which is awesome. Pitching wise, I'm fine with I guess. It's gotten to be a little bit tiring after all these years. I'm not sure what they can do to improve it. I switch back between meter and classic, with classic getting most of my time. I like meter, but I become impatient with the slow deliveries of some of the pitchers. 
    Fielding feels a tad bit better in terms of control. Fielding a fly ball still locks in too quickly but on the plus side, I'm not seeing some ugly animations that have been in the game for what seems like forever. With regards to grounders, I still don't feel that I am able to make the same spectacular plays the CPU will make on balls in in the hole. I will say that ratings do seem to play a fairly significant part in this game. 
    Visually, it's more clean and bright. Finally, the Cardinal red looks bright and accurate. There seems to be a lot more scanned faces in the game which is great. Hopefully, if I'm still playing video games when the PS5 comes out, they will be able to make the uniforms looks more life like. 
    All in all, I'm quite happy with the game on the field. There's enough subtle changes that it feels fresh and still fun. Improve the presentation and I think it'd be a near perfect baseball simulation.
    I’ve decided to just create my player and put him on the Red Sox to get the best of both world in my opinion. I plan to use player lock for most regular season games I jump in and play in big games from time to time and what I’ve really enjoyed is the new menu. It allows me to stay connected with my minor league teams and now what I’m doing is on my big league off days I will player lock one of my top prospects for the minor league games for that day so I can see how the team is doing and check out my upcoming prospects. Started out hot were 17-5 need some help in the bullpen though I think. Going to look to add a better lefty but this team is solid. Swihart is rolling just passed JD for the league lead in RBIs.
    I’m enjoying the game but there are some issues. Overall I would say it is an improvement from last year in my book. Still more tweaks to be made but loving all of the new additions.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
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