I was able to get a quick hands-on with MLB The Show 19 last week. While my time was limited to roughly 30 minutes with the game — at least in terms of hands-on time — I did manage to get in a few questions that you guys asked in the forums, and I got to sink into a little bit of the game. Here’s what I took away from my experience.
- Gameplay: It’s clear from the start that this year’s game plays and looks much smoother than previous versions. Fielding is very fluid, and I did feel in complete control of my actions. Pitching has also been tuned in such a way where it felt like on higher difficulty levels I was really needing to focus. I did not get away with grooving one down the middle, and being complacent on the mound was just not working out for me. Staying on pitching, it seems relatively clear already that you will not be able to consistently fool hitters by just throwing your pitcher’s third or fourth best pitch. If a pitch has a poor rating attached to it, there’s a greater chance of that pitch missing its mark or simply being left over the heart of the plate. I also got to see a few new hit animations, including some new hits up the middle, down the line and even some new “seeing-eye” singles.
- Presentation: There wasn’t a complete overhaul this year for presentation but it has been polished and does look fresher. Right away, I noticed some new cutscenes and visual angles that enhanced the gaming experience. Hundreds of new animations have been added overall to all areas (i.e. hitting, pitching, fielding and celebrations).
- New Mode: A new mode has also been added this year called Moments. This new mode allows you to try and relive baseball history. It was fun to see The Show try their hands in creating this mode, and the developers definitely invested time in doing so as Moments is an extremely deep and robust mode with tons of different challenges and difficulty levels. This mode is very very in-depth and should provide hours of game time that can also be added to throughout the season — I know I will be spending hours on it. For more details on Moments, check out the details here.
- Road To The Show: As always, Road to the Show has been revamped with a new look, and offers more options and control than ever before.
- The Ohtani question: Shohei Ohtani can be used as both a hitter and pitcher. However, just like in real life, he won’t pitch and DH in the same game.
- As it relates to ball physics, the baseball bouncing over outfield walls has been tuned. The ball will bounce more realistically and differently off of different structures. This has also been discussed in some of the live streams.
- No new attributes have been added to this year’s game, but all attributes have been tuned and tweaked for more realism.
- An infielder’s range is more realistic and fielding attributes have much more of an impact this year than in the past. You’ll notice that lesser rated fielders will struggle with getting good jumps on balls and/or taking correct routes to balls.
- The shallow pop up that would bloop over the middle infielder’s head — the one where you couldn’t take control of your fielder — was not a bug. It was just a ball that realistically the infielder wouldn’t have gotten to in real life, so it was a design decision to have it play out that way.
- No rainouts or day-night double headers this year, but it is something the development team has been looking into for the future.