With the coronavirus keeping everyone inside, it falls on us to make sure y’all are properly entertained. It’s weird, MLB Opening Day has come and gone, ESPN is empty and we all have to be indoors and life is looking bleak. But, not if you own a gaming console: MLB The Show 20 is here and just in time…
Sony San Diego’s hyper-realism in The Show is — and always has been — fantastic. It’s amazing how far the franchise has come graphics-wise over the past 15-years. The Franchise mode is seriously in-depth with in-game reporting and fairly accurate announcing. I recently took my Astros through Spring Training, and am 5-0 in the regular season. No delays here. Mind you, players now have the ability to change the team name, create their own uni’s, and even select a new home ballpark. The Minor Leagues are also, finally, fully represented. Real players from the A-AAA squads for a change!
The controls are, for the most part, fairly easy to handle. Hitting and pitching are pretty standard and haven’t changed much from the past few Show‘s. Continuing the improvements on the fielding and defensive side of the field, however, is the spotlight on Gold Glove play. You can now tell the difference from the superior fielding of, say, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman and some Joe Schmoe called up from AA. The best defensive players will react to liners towards the outfield or infield much quicker this season, and the more apprehensive fielders around the league will struggle even more with routine stuff.
To help with this, Sony San Diego incorporated an ECI (Extreme Catch Indicator) that helps fielders judge hard hit drives and bloopy “B.S.” singles. Should you dig in and go for the catch, or let the ball fall to prevent extra bases? There’s also a new THI (sounds like all new sexual diseases, but really just a Throw Home Indicator). If you time it just right, the throwing meter will allow for a much more accurate and powerful toss into the diamond. The one new addition to hitting this year is the — you guessed it! — PCI (Plate Coverage Indicator). This helps with plate vision and contact, and separating the league’s poorer hitters to the finest with the stick. The indicator offers much better feedback when digging in at the batter’s box.
As usual, you have 3 main modes to choose from. Play, which is the franchise, Road to the Show, and March to October. Then you have Community, which is the unlockables, the stadiums, and sponsorships that players can unlock for the Road to the Show and Custom Leagues. There is also Mini Modes, which are really cool. Here, you have Moments where you can relive legendary moments and relive or rewrite baseball history. You also have Challenge of the Week, the Home Run Derby (a lot of fun since we have a choice of Derby players of the past, so I went with Jeff Bagwell, naturally), custom practice, Retro Mode, and Postseason where you can create your own MLB Playoff.
At the bottom of the 9th, MLB The Show 20 is a baseball game loaded with goodies for hardcore baseball fans, hardcore sportsballers and people who just like to pick up a control and start playing. For anyone missing their sports I like I am, this game is a fun pick up; but be careful because like most sports games you get it this week for $60, you can probably pick it up in a few weeks for $40 then $20 on Black Friday.
But no matter the cost, I was real pleased with the gameplay and improvements of The Show 20 and appreciate being able to step on the Astroturf when my lovable millionaire pals don’t have the current option to. 4.25/5 Altuves.