A review of MLB The Show- 2023


The Show at… The Show: MLB The Show 2023 game rests against a standing room only ledge at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark. (Photo by Tyler Letcher/ Knight Crier)

There’s a common misconception with sports games, and that’s that nothing changes between the yearly releases of them. In the case of MLB: The Show, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Show 23 stays with what the series is mostly known for: its Diamond Dynasty mode, allowing players to collect cards and battle other players with their teams made of their cards, its Road to the Show mode, allowing players to simulate the path it takes for a player to make it in the Big Leagues, its Franchise and March to October modes, allowing for simulated seasons, and many more minimodes.

However, the main addition of content for this year’s game is the incredibly forward-thinking Negro Leagues storylines mode, allowing players to gain insight into the struggles of the Black baseball community and the accomplishments of its members. Something like this will help those who may have never considered the struggles of this community in the past to understand the strides the sports community, and our country as a whole, have made.

As far as gameplay improvements are concerned, there aren’t as many leaps as last year’s entry, but the ones that have been added are certainly necessary improvements. Fielding, for example, has an added roadblock – jump times.

For players with generally well-regarded fielding stats, such as Mookie Betts or Mike Trout, an immediate jump towards where the ball is expected to go should occur. However, for more sluggish fielders, a Kyle Schwarber or Giancarlo Stanton, for example, you’ll find that their reaction times jumping for balls in play is greatly diminished from their gold-glove counterparts.

One of the more impactful improvements is a new overlay for the PCI system. The PCI system, for the uninitiated, is a hitting method where, instead of simply hitting a button on time with a pitch, one needs to line up the on-screen PCI toggle with the pitch, then hit the button to hit the ideal ball in play. The old system simply had overlays of dots, making it relatively difficult to visualize where the ball would hit the bat, and whether or not you’d barrel it up or not.

The new overlay, however, features a mini image of a bat in the middle of the dots, making it much easier to visualize whether or not you’re actually getting the barrel on the ball. In practice, I’ve found that it makes hitting much more comfortable than either timed hitting (without the PCI anchor) and the dotted PCI anchor themselves. It’s so much easier to track a pitch with the bat, ensuring you’ll get it the entirety of the way to the plate,

Regardless of how you hit the ball, you need good hitters at bat to do so. And, with The Show: 23’s new Captain feature, just about any player can gain an extra boost to launch that ball further than they could alone! Essentially, one player’s card in your squad is designated as the team’s “Captain”, who boosts the stats of all the other players in the squad as a result.

With this feature, you could assign a captain such as Elvis Andrus, for example, to boost fielding stats. Doing this will allow you to use players with traditionally worse fielding abilities in everyday roles in your lineup without becoming defensive liabilities.

The opposite could be said for a captain like Bryce Harper, for example. Equipping him would add offensive boosts to your squad, giving you the ability to add defensive-focused players like Isiah Kiner-Filefa or Steven Kwan while allowing them a greater chance at the plate at the same time.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with the yearly release of MLB: The Show. However, with this year’s offering giving players the chance to relive history through the eyes of Negro League stars, the addition of the Captain and Designated Hitter options in Diamond Dynasty, and the new gameplay improvements, The Show: 23 is the series’ most well-rounded entry to date.