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MLB The Show 21 Check Swings - Love it or Hate it?

mlb the show 21 check swing

MLB The Show 21

MLB The Show 21 Check Swings - Love it or Hate it?

MLB The Show 21 check swings were a big point of emphasis this year, as detailed in the Hitting and Pitching Feature Premiere last month.

Tons of time went into check swings. Kyle Saul, lead gameplay designer admitted in the feature that check swings were too generous in 2020 — and only got more generous as the year went on after tuning/patches. The discipline attribute has been removed from the equation entirely this year and your controller input will now reign supreme — this applies in both the Simulation and Competitive gameplay styles. Also of note, check swing animation feedback will now be more accurate to both pitcher and hitter. So you should have a reasonably good idea of the outcome from both sides of the coin without the need for a blind first or third base umpire.

Now that you’ve had time with the game and plenty of ABs, how do you feel about the check swing in MLB The Show 21? Love it or hate it? Let us know your thoughts.

mlb the show 21 check swing 2

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  1. For both myself and the cpu I'm seeing good realistic strike out numbers and walks, but you're right that the check swings for both humans and cpu are almost always considered to have gone around.
    I believe they made this change because online players complained that it was too easy and unrealistic to see players check swing regularly 3 or 4 times in a single at bat.
    I feel like they overcompensated with the fix though
    I noticed in the Xbox One beta test literally every check swing resulted in a strike for me.
    Playing the XSX version, I have seen a lot go the other way and it is definitely more balanced. Not sure why that is...
    Before when it was a mix of player ratings and user input it felt random, this year I feel like I know whether I went or not before the appeal.
    It's definitely harder to check swing this year but I don't think it's broken the game in any way.
    Jay Cee
    What else can I say but wow, this is impacting both myself and the AI but check swings are called for a strikes DRAMATICALLY more often this year to the point it’s a problem. Strikeouts on both sides are way up and walks are way down as compared to usual. Please tell me one of you slider gurus can control from this really bad programming bug.

    It's not a bug first of all. That was a design decision (one I wholeheartedly agree with now having played with it). Yes, I think it's a hair overdone, mainly on the CPU side as I definitely noted the same uptick in K-rate for the CPU (and myself).
    I raised foul frequency to 6 for both sides and that helped the CPU without jacking-up the balance. Raising user pitch control to 6 also helps the CPU batters play more intelligently....as usual.
    When the check swing changes were announced I was a little hesitant on how the changes would play out, although I thought something had to be done because check swinging in previous years was far to easy to successfully execute.
    This is another one of those small adjustments that makes a significant impact on the game and how it plays out, and its for the better.
    Feels good to fool a hitter into a check swing and seeing the 1st/3rd base ump ring him up for the strikeout. :)
    It also made pitches in the dirt ALOT more effective. I felt like in previous years, in strike-out counts you still had to make a borderline pitch to get a swing. Now I'm finding that burying curveballs and change-ups is more viable because you can draw check swings. Same with sliders away.
    I have not played enough to really digest the changes, but the 15-20 games I have played I don't like it.
    I feel like it is more catered to prevent online and head to head manipulation that hurts the offline experience. Similar to bunts IMO.
    Sent from my SM-N986U using Tapatalk
    Rmiok222
    I honestly love this change. It’s making it way more realistic in my eyes.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    I am okay with a change, but it isn’t realistic when it gets called a strike 95% of the time. May as well just remove the mechanic altogether.
    The vast majority of my check swings result in strikes. It can get frustrating at times, but I think I'll eventually adjust. Got a chuckle while watching a stream and seeing a cpu pitcher execute a check swing. I mean if a cpu pitcher can do it, surely I can to with higher DISC rated players.... ;)
    Sent from my SM-S205DL using Operation Sports mobile app
    I hope it doesn’t get touched because at least I’m striking out some now. Previous years I was barely striking, once or twice a game. Now it’s between 5-10 a game. I will say in the beginning it was mostly strikes when I checked. Now I don’t know if I’m adjusting or it’s coincidence but it’s been more 50-50 when I check.
    I like the change so far. I just wish the animation would match the outcome. There are times when the animation says I clearly checked but don't get the call.
    It's definitely a change for the better though.
    dubplate
    I am okay with a change, but it isn’t realistic when it gets called a strike 95% of the time. May as well just remove the mechanic altogether.

    Interesting to see opinions. To each his own obviously. Sadly they’d never be able to make all of us happy lol. I feel like my check swing rate success is happening at a realistic clip. Like if I press X and back off right when my swing starts it’s usually NOT a swing, which to me, seems realistic.
    Flip side is when I commit longer to X than a light tap it’s usually a swing, which to me...seems pretty realistic too.
    I can see how some people wouldn’t like it though. Me striking out last year was an absolute rarity. I’m talking maybe 3-6 Ks a game against me at MOST. Thats why I enjoy it more. I didn’t notice how much of a crutch check swing was to me last year. I never swung at balls in the dirt or sliders outside of the zone because I was almost always able to successfully check swing.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    NYJin2011tm
    I hope it doesn’t get touched because at least I’m striking out some now. Previous years I was barely striking, once or twice a game. Now it’s between 5-10 a game. I will say in the beginning it was mostly strikes when I checked. Now I don’t know if I’m adjusting or it’s coincidence but it’s been more 50-50 when I check.

    How good you are at the game and the difficulty level you play at has nothing to do with check swings. If you think the games too easy then up the difficulty and the pitch speeds or lower the timing slider.
    That said, I firmly believe that once the ball crosses a certain distance on the way to the plate it's too late and the batter will go around no matter how lightning fast you are at trying to check up. I've been trying to check over and over again with directional inputs and just a very fast tap on the button at the beginning of a pitch I can get the guys shoulder to flinch, but once the ball has gotten close to the plate he goes around every time. Somewhere in the middle there has to be a point of no return and when you attempt to check very close to either side of that invisible line, that's when it appears to be 50-50 or more like 90-10 for the user.
    Edit: My testing has been on HOF with max pitch speeds.
    NYJin2011tm
    I hope it doesn’t get touched because at least I’m striking out some now. Previous years I was barely striking, once or twice a game. Now it’s between 5-10 a game. I will say in the beginning it was mostly strikes when I checked. Now I don’t know if I’m adjusting or it’s coincidence but it’s been more 50-50 when I check.

    Exactly this.
    I play on all star because it feels most balanced, and I used to strike out 1 or 2 times per game. Now I'm locked in to prevent getting down 0-2, 1-2 since they took away the tool that prevented so many strike outs. This also increases my walks.
    My hitting mostly matches last years game, but a bunch of 2 strike hits by sluggers who have no right to suddenly have a perfect approach in a bad count have turned to strike outs making my hitting stats much more realistic.
    My only worry is that I'm getting better at checking my swing, and my phenomenal thumb skills might offset the excellent change they made to check swings.
    Dolenz
    I believe they made this change because online players complained that it was too easy and unrealistic to see players check swing regularly 3 or 4 times in a single at bat.
    I feel like they overcompensated with the fix though

    Agreed and I can also see this is as something they patch pretty quick. They made it about 35% too difficult or thereabouts. Agreed it was too easy last year but just dial it back a notch. I think most players agree.
    I think it’s perfect. If you check early on a breaking ball/changeup, you have time to pull back. Fastballs; not so much. I really hope they don’t tweak it.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Rmiok222
    Interesting to see opinions. To each his own obviously. Sadly they’d never be able to make all of us happy lol. I feel like my check swing rate success is happening at a realistic clip. Like if I press X and back off right when my swing starts it’s usually NOT a swing, which to me, seems realistic.
    Flip side is when I commit longer to X than a light tap it’s usually a swing, which to me...seems pretty realistic too.
    I can see how some people wouldn’t like it though. Me striking out last year was an absolute rarity. I’m talking maybe 3-6 Ks a game against me at MOST. Thats why I enjoy it more. I didn’t notice how much of a crutch check swing was to me last year. I never swung at balls in the dirt or sliders outside of the zone because I was almost always able to successfully check swing.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    I agree. And like I said, I’m okay with the change, but it seems to be a little too far to one side.
    I agree with what you and others are saying about striking out, though. It is nice to see my strikeouts per game increase since it seemed to be a rarity in the past.
    sva91
    I think it’s perfect. If you check early on a breaking ball/changeup, you have time to pull back. Fastballs; not so much. I really hope they don’t tweak it.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    It's more that if you're early and you didn't like the release you can shut it down, but if you're late and throwing a catch up swing, you're not stopping it. How would that even make sense?
    There are so many aspects of baseball that they've missed badly on, but check swing logic is not one of them. Actually the pitch speed representation is probably the real issue. The real difference between 100mph heat and an 80mph curve is 100ms, ya, .1 seconds. In this game you can order a pizza between those two pitches.
    I actually like how it's called now....In years pass I barely ever got called for a strike and it felt a little like a cheat code now I've been called stike 3 in the bottom of the 9th with a runner on 3rd and loved it.
    I love the change overall, but this should not be surprising because I talked about it a lot in the lead up to the reveal for hitting this year.
    I do think more work needs to go into the visual feedback for check swings and when they're called/not called still, but the gameplay mechanic itself was a very good quality of life tweak.
    I've picked a side and I'm solidly in it: love it or hate it, I'm in the indifferent camp. I'm fine with check swings being untethered to discipline this year and I'm also fine going back and playing with the 20 check swings. or the check swings in 14.
    truth is, I'm a terrible hitter w/poor discipline so check swings really isn't in my vernacular. when I decide to swing, I'm all in. I'm not going to try to stop once I've committed to a swing. let'er rip tater chip. if I go down swinging so be it. even though they're not alike, I treat at-bats like appetites. if I ruin one, there will be another behind it sooner or later
    love it.  i felt like last year and for a while, it was op in online games, way to easy flor legends and diamonds, people would be fooled by the pitch and say man i tried to swing at a ball in the dirt, .so i don't get a strike out and have to keep pitching
    I don't really mind the change, however it sure seems like the "HAMMER" comes out far more often these days, even on very mild checks that definitely didn't cross the plate, but that 1B and 3B ump (Joe West / Angel Hernandez) sure love to let the fans know they're working the game! :-)
    I played a lot of 21 on the tech test and over 6 hours of game time (enough to know what is different and what is not as I have logged 1000’s of hours with this series) on the retail copy (a buddy’s copy at his home). I am not thrilled they turfed the discipline rating.
    I felt like the animations did not always match up properly with the result so it seemed worse than it really was on 20. And while I am fine with it on 20....21 is not awful in the least bit. But...but it is too harsh for sure on hitters who have good to great discipline and now it is all user based....again why are offline simulation players subjected to online players wishes? This is the core issue. Instead of improving the animations and tweaking the core function of having the rating plus user input (because user input is still apart of it on MLB 20) they simply turfed it and now it is 100% stock or button skill with no regard to the player rating.
    And this shows...the operation of casual, stick skills and simulation.....is window dressing. Core coding can turf whatever they want.
    I thought that was a bad move in the grand scheme. And not a good precedent that was set....along with rocket bunting which is still an issue....again because of online exploits.....so the solution spills into offline franchise guys.
    Now I am personally able to bunt pretty well since the change in bunting....I learned...and adapted. It is not what it should be....but it also is not awful (release the triangle right at contact, also use the directional left or right pre pitch for drag or push bunt and also bunt strikes down in he zone for the best success).
    After playing 21 and checks swings...they simply need to make it slightly more forgiving to strike the balance it is lacking. It is brutal OOTB.
    Again we are seeing a changing of the guard in the core of this game as it is slowly but surely drifting away from offline "simulation style” based gameplay to a more user stick skill game. And I get it. A lot of people play that way.....but what made The Show great was their ability to keep its “simulation style” gameplay going. But that is changing ever so slowly.
    Anyway to answer the OP....I don’t love it and I don’t hate it.....but I much prefer how it was. And I wish they would work harder for the ratings vs the stick skills.....and they are not in this regard and I am afraid this is the trend moving forward.
    I’d really like for it to be 50% attribute-based on the simulation play style with an adjustable slider. Casual and competitive modes, do whatever they want.
    Not a fan of this year’s change to be honest. Mainly because if you’re playing on directional hitting it’s not a 1:1 skill based system anyway, so the weird check swings are immersion breaking.
    Hated it at first, but I’ve adjusted and now I can grasp the mechanic and the changes they’ve made so I guess I’m indifferent on the whole thing. People don’t necessarily like change until they’ve gotten used to it.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I quite enjoy the little replay that shows the bat going almost all the way around, clearly going past the plate, then the umpire signalling no swing. It's as if we have Angel Hernandez and Joe West in the game, so realistic.
    This article has really made me stop and think about whether I ever want to upgrade from 20 to 21. The check swings in 20 are one of the biggest helpful additions to the game in its history, for me. For the first time EVER in playing baseball video games, I'm actually able to take a reasonable amount of walks! Its fantastic. And I'm not interested in having that taken away.
    I don't play DD or any online version of MLB The Show and I wish the new check swing coding was something toggle on and off. On to keep playing the new way and off to play with check swings the old way. I totally understand the new system is probably best for online play fairness, but not for offline franchises. It makes more sense to tie the check swing ability to a player's attributes when playing in an offline franchise. 
    Unlucky 13
    This article has really made me stop and think about whether I ever want to upgrade from 20 to 21. The check swings in 20 are one of the biggest helpful additions to the game in its history, for me. For the first time EVER in playing baseball video games, I'm actually able to take a reasonable amount of walks! Its fantastic. And I'm not interested in having that taken away.

    It’s weird. I’m striking out more(which I’m all for) but also walking more on 21 than any previous versions. No quick counts either.
    There are times this year when check  swing seems broken then there are times I actually don't get a strike called on EVERY check swing. Sucks losing a player attribute - I have mixed feelings about 100% user input driven results...
    Not a big fan. I agree it was too easy in the past, but both myself and the CPU have had 20+ check swings at this point and I've only seen 1 each that was said to be held up. Some of the ones being called swings are pretty bad considering the animation that played out. When the bat doesn't even go past the catcher's side of home plate, but it is still ruled a strike, there's something wrong in my eyes.
    I would rather discipline still matter and it had just been tuned to be a bit harder to hold up. I feel like they simply went from one extreme(incredibly easy to check swing) to the other extreme this year while removing the ratings impact during it.
    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Is it confirmed that discipline means absolutely nothing offline?
    I felt like my high discipline guys were checking easier than others, but it's hard to quantify.
    Fours
    Is it confirmed that discipline means absolutely nothing offline?
    I felt like my high discipline guys were checking easier than others, but it's hard to quantify.

    Yes. On the developers stream they confirmed it means absolutely nothing now.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Funny at nearly the same time this thread started, i was literally in a exhibition game practicing check swinging, since I was failing miserably at it in my franchise.
    I like it. I'm an analog hitter, which I think might matter. Probably harder to check with a button. I'm getting a good mix of successful/unsuccessful checks. I think perhaps we've all gotten a little check-happy over the past year or so since it was so easy to check. I'm making an effort to either hold off or go all in on my swings.
    But yeah, I like it.
    Jolly Roger
    I like it. I'm an analog hitter, which I think might matter. Probably harder to check with a button. I'm getting a good mix of successful/unsuccessful checks. I think perhaps we've all gotten a little check-happy over the past year or so since it was so easy to check. I'm making an effort to either hold off or go all in on my swings.
    But yeah, I like it.

    Do you think or find it easier to pull back on the stick from going forward, oppose to double tapping the button? I used to use analog before they remove the stride portion to the mechanic and set that alone to the power swing only. Never felt right just pushing up to swing after so many years of going down and up. I just figured without the down motion on the thumb stick on a regular swing anymore doesn't give you a lot of motion forward to work with, to draw back on quickly. I might have to give a try.
    Didn’t notice much of a change in the tech test, but I notice it in the final game and I’d say I’m indifferent overall.
    I was definitely using check swings as a crutch in previous games, so I’m trying to be more patient now (or still swing wildly because it’s like that sometimes). Still a decent amount of times where I’ll go around and it’s called a check, or I check and it’s called a swing, so there’s definitely more to be done as far as matching up the animation and the result.
    Speaking in general, I hope they leave it as-is for this year just to get a full year’s worth of data on its’ effects.
    canes21
    Not a big fan. I agree it was too easy in the past, but both myself and the CPU have had 20+ check swings at this point and I've only seen 1 each that was said to be held up. Some of the ones being called swings are pretty bad considering the animation that played out. When the bat doesn't even go past the catcher's side of home plate, but it is still ruled a strike, there's something wrong in my eyes.
    I would rather discipline still matter and it had just been tuned to be a bit harder to hold up. I feel like they simply went from one extreme(incredibly easy to check swing) to the other extreme this year while removing the ratings impact during it.
    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

    Sounds like real life to me lol. Third and first base umps must not pay attention all the time because it seems they get the checks wrong 50% of the time.
    Jolly Roger
    I like it. I'm an analog hitter, which I think might matter. Probably harder to check with a button. I'm getting a good mix of successful/unsuccessful checks. I think perhaps we've all gotten a little check-happy over the past year or so since it was so easy to check. I'm making an effort to either hold off or go all in on my swings.
    But yeah, I like it.

    I am purely a button pusher myself. Which means that about 95% of the time, I'm hitting X to swing. I accept that when I hit square and try to mash a high fastball, I'm not going to be able to check it, but the fact that 20 allows me to check with X a lot of the time has been spectacular. A literal game changer, in this case.
    NYJin2011tm
    Sounds like real life to me lol. Third and first base umps must not pay attention all the time because it seems they get the checks wrong 50% of the time.

    In real life they'll get it wrong and say a guy did hold up. In The Show they don't know they are allowed to say a guy held up.
    canes21
    In real life they'll get it wrong and say a guy did hold up. In The Show they don't know they are allowed to say a guy held up.

    I’ve been about 50-50. Seems well balanced to me. In the beginning I would’ve agreed with you but lately it just seems I’ve adjusted.
    I have been getting some CPU Ks on check swings, which is nice. But as someone who always plays and never sims, it would be nice if discipline played some role, at least for borderline check swings
    I had a check swing last night where the bat just barely left the shoulder but because I did it late it was called a strike. Absolutely ridiculous that it is apparently based not only on how hard you press the swing button but on how deep into receiving the pitch you are.
    HustlinOwl
    loving the change for online h2h as in years past you could check swing 10+ times per at bat

    10 times per at bat ?
    Unless you hit a foul ball accidentally on a check swing you can only do it 6 times per at bat.
    I'm noticing that when I am fully pressing the power button (and normal swing button too I think, but not sure. I'll have to pay more attention)  a lot of times my player is checking his swing. It is so irritating because sometimes I've got that baby lined up for a bomb with a power hitter or at least a line drive with a contact hitter. This never happened to me in years past, so I think it has to be related to this check swing functionality change. I hope this get fixed. Anyone else experiencing this?
    bigdawg1690
    I had a check swing last night where the bat just barely left the shoulder but because I did it late it was called a strike. Absolutely ridiculous that it is apparently based not only on how hard you press the swing button but on how deep into receiving the pitch you are.

    I can see how this would be frustrating, but I think it's a product of how the game works. You have to time your swing differently depending on the pitch. You need to swing earlier to perfect an inside fastball than you do an outside fastball for example. Like others have said, a late "emergency" swing gives you a different swing than if you're early. As a result, successful check-swing timing is different depending on the situation. I think this is what's going on.
    Personally, I'm not having too bad a time with it. I feel like I'm successful holding up about 35-40% of the time. And I'm better at it if I'm seeing pitches well. The thing that's bothering me more is how often I half-swing at pitches I mean to swing at, but I don't think that's the game's fault.
    Another thing people don't seem to bring up is now you're not penalized for a well-timed check swing with a low-discipline player. There were certain guys last year who almost never held up for me.
    Overall I'm fine with the change, but it's strange they didn't leave the option in at least for offline. Making a change like this at the same time you introduce separate casual, simulation, and competitive mode is just... odd.
    dherrera1015
    I'm noticing that when I am fully pressing the power button (and normal swing button too I think, but not sure. I'll have to pay more attention)* a lot of times my player is checking his swing. It is so irritating because sometimes I've got that baby lined up for a bomb with a power hitter or at least a line drive with a contact hitter. This never happened to me in years past, so I think it has to be related to this check swing functionality change. I hope this get fixed. Anyone else experiencing this?

    That's definitely not new. I have a habit of frantically tapping the button when I get a juicy pitch and I think I just pull or slip my finger off the button instead of holding it.
    RainOnTim
    That's definitely not new. I have a habit of frantically tapping the button when I get a juicy pitch and I think I just pull or slip my finger off the button instead of holding it.

    Same here. Happened very often for me in '20 where I'd get too excited about hitting a pitch and quickly double-tapping by accident instead of pressing the button fully. Definitely not a by-product of the new system in place.
    In regards to check-swings in general, I love them now. After adjusting, I haven't had any troubles w/ them at all. I get punished when I tap the button on pitches I have no business attempting to swing at in the first place, but still able to check swing successfully the majority of the time, so it doesn't punish me that much.
    Hitting, overall, took a bit to get adjusted to this year. But after changing around a few settings and switching to another batting camera (which I actually found to be better than the one I was using), hitting in '21 has been the most enjoyable for me than it has in a long time.
    The changes nudged me out of my comfort zone, made me less reliable on being bailed out of poor decisions at the plate by the system, and made a better hitter in the process. Discipline's improved, timing's improved, and I'm reading pitches a lot faster than before.
    bigd51
    Same here. Happened very often for me in '20 where I'd get too excited about hitting a pitch and quickly double-tapping by accident instead of pressing the button fully. Definitely not a by-product of the new system in place.
    In regards to check-swings in general, I love them now. After adjusting, I haven't had any troubles w/ them at all. I get punished when I tap the button on pitches I have no business attempting to swing at in the first place, but still able to check swing successfully the majority of the time, so it doesn't punish me that much.
    Hitting, overall, took a bit to get adjusted to this year. But after changing around a few settings and switching to another batting camera (which I actually found to be better than the one I was using), hitting in '21 has been the most enjoyable for me than it has in a long time.
    The changes nudged me out of my comfort zone, made me less reliable on being bailed out of poor decisions at the plate by the system, and made a better hitter in the process. Discipline's improved, timing's improved, and I'm reading pitches a lot faster than before.

    What hitting camera did you change to?
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Normally I play on HOF or legend with max pitch speeds using directional hitting and check swinging is borderline impossible. Yesterday I tested it out on veteran with default pitch speeds, which are insanely slow by the way, and check swinging was MUCH easier.
    knucklecutter
    Normally I play on HOF or legend with max pitch speeds using directional hitting and check swinging is borderline impossible. Yesterday I tested it out on veteran with default pitch speeds, which are insanely slow by the way, and check swinging was MUCH easier.

    Have you tried it with analog swinging? Also, check swinging is more successful with contact swings than normal swings (I'm sure you know that).
    My only issue is that when I watch the bat replay in the lower left box, it does not seem representative of what my guy actually did. Watching my batter check swing he DEFINITELY did not go half way around, but the swing replay shows my bat going 3/4 or more.
    InstaBuzz
    My only issue is that when I watch the bat replay in the lower left box, it does not seem representative of what my guy actually did. Watching my batter check swing he DEFINITELY did not go half way around, but the swing replay shows my bat going 3/4 or more.

    Yeah, I agree. I just ignore it.
    InstaBuzz
    My only issue is that when I watch the bat replay in the lower left box, it does not seem representative of what my guy actually did. Watching my batter check swing he DEFINITELY did not go half way around, but the swing replay shows my bat going 3/4 or more.
    That box isn't a 1:1 recreation of what happened. It is generic and gives a brief recap of what happened, so when it is registered as a strike it will just show you going around each time and vice versa.
    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
    Dolenz
    I believe they made this change because online players complained that it was too easy and unrealistic to see players check swing regularly 3 or 4 times in a single at bat.
    I feel like they overcompensated with the fix though

    On multiple gameplay items over they years they have over compensated based on a few complaints. At the same time they have fixed a lot of previous issues.
    Gotta take the good with the bad.

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