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MLB The Show 24 Review

Steady production once again

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Heading into the 2024 MLB season, I must admit I'm feeling a little blah. My beloved New York Yankees are already dealing with a slate of injuries, and the powers that be retained a manager that has more or less worn out his welcome in the Bronx. With our history of success, though, no one is going to feel bad for us. And even if they did, it's not like there's anything we the fans could do to change things. That's the real-world, though, and thankfully, MLB The Show 24 offers up ways to both relive the glory days and reconstruct the unfortunate present.

MLB The Show 24

After making a sensational debut last year, Storylines returns this year in two flavors. The Negro Leagues are once again spotlighted, with four new players getting their stories told. The line-up includes former home run king Hank Aaron, dynamic catcher Josh Gibson, first baseman Buck Leonard, and Toni Stone - a female player who played alongside the men. Negro League Museum president Bob Kendrik returns to deliver fun narration for each player as well. Besides the new stories, not much has changed for the mode. The goals for completing each chapter, which largely revolve around getting hits, have been decreased in difficulty. There's also an option to skip a chapter if you find yourself getting stuck. The goal of the mode, though, has always been to educate fans of the sport, not challenge them. I don't mind the lack of challenge because I enjoyed seeing the recreations of the players and stadiums, as well as hearing the charismatic Kendrik tell stories.

Alongside season two of The Negro Leagues is a Storylines path following the career of Yankees captain and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. A little odd considering Jeter was one of the cover stars last year, but as a fan, I'm not going to complain. Narrated by the man himself, the mode follows him from his days of trying to crack the line-up to the integral role he played in rebuilding the franchise. A lot of the goals are similar across both iterations of Storylines, but there is a greater focus on individual moments here. For example, one early section has you reenacting his controversial home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the 1996 ALCS. There are plenty of critics of both the man and the team he played for, but as a fan of both, I loved the walk down memory lane. I also hope this two-prong Storylines approach is something San Diego Studio continues going forward. Keep telling the stories of historical players, while also having a version focused on a modern star of the game.

Surprisingly, Road to the Show has received some significant updates in MLB The Show 24. After years of the mode mostly resting on its laurels, it's nice to see some new ideas flow into it. The biggest addition is the fact that now you can get to the majors with a female player. It would have been easy for this to be a half-baked reskin of the regular experience, but that's not the case. Thanks to input from Mollie Braley and Kelsie Whitmore, extra detail has been paid to the unique path and challenges your created player would face to get promoted to a major league team. This is done through video packages starring MLB Network personalities such as Robert Flores and Sarah Langs, as well as unique in-game conversations that differ from a created male player. It's a well-done addition that further exemplifies San Diego Studio's desire to open the sport up to all genders and athletes.

MLB The Show 24

The other new additions to Road to the Show include a greater focus on moments outside of in-game action and training, as well as the debut of the MLB Draft Combine. When you're not in action or honing your skills, you'll be talking with other players and coaches or your agent via multiple choice conversations. We've seen this mechanic in prior sports games, such as EA NHL, so it's not exactly fresh, but it's good to see it brought here as a way to flesh out your player. The MLB Draft Combine is used to determine where you'll end up on Draft Night. You compete against your peers in a live game, as well as demonstrate your skills in front of team scouts. I always choose pitcher for RTTS, so this involved me trying to successfully place my pitches in the desired location. These ultimately don't matter much in terms of your overall stats, but it helps the mode feel more like you really are rising from fresh faced draftee to grizzled veteran.

The only other mode to see noticeable changes this year is Diamond Dynasty. This year's iteration plays around with the seasons system introduced last year. 99 level cards are no longer available from the get-go, with top tier cards now starting in the lower 90s. The levels are then raised throughout the season. To help achieve this, the time frame of a given season will be longer than it was last year. The downside of this, though, is that outside of the Wild Card slot, the cards you do level up will no longer be able to be used in ranked play the following season. Seasons will also be kick-started with Cornerstone Cards that serve as building blocks for what your team will be for that respective timeframe. The idea here is that while it may sting to not be able to reuse the same cards for every season, you'll be able to get equally as good cards throughout the following season.

Across years of covering video game sports franchises, I have made my lack of interest in these kinds of card-based modes known. The extended grind for cards, luck of the draw when it comes to packs and push to spend real money just does not appeal to me. But San Diego Studio continues to deliver the version of this mode that I tolerate the most. They do a solid job of rewarding you with new cards and bonus packs, while also explaining clear paths for upgrading your roster. The goals and challenges of the mode are presented in a straight forward, concise manner that other sports franchises should take note of. I don't think Diamond Dynasty will ever be my go-to for the series, but I can still have fun with it.

MLB The Show 24

Aside from that, the other major modes of MLB The Show 24 remain largely the same. March to October still delivers a bite-sized take on a full season worth of action. Worth delving into if you want to perhaps take a team you normally don't use on a run to the World Series. Franchise offers a more in-depth experience for those who want to really get their hands dirty running a team. One of the additions this year is the inclusion of the Prospect Promotion Initiative system that rewards teams with a draft pick in exchange for promoting minor league talent. Also new this year is the Custom Game Entry option, which brings in the condensed action of March to October to Franchise. You can choose the parameters for when you would like to enter a game if you don't want to take the time to play a full 162 game schedule. This could be anything from only coming in if it's a close game, or only choosing to play after the 6th inning. It's a nice option for gamers who are not as interested in playing the sport as they are in running the team.

When you're on the field, not too much has changed from last year's release. There's a host of new and tweaked animations that accentuate specific ballplayers' quirks. The size of the bases has been increased per MLB guidelines. The biggest change comes when you're on defense with the inclusion of Impact Plays. These optional mechanics enable you to make bigtime defensive plays in the field through quick-time events. Successfully hitting the correct prompts could lead to a flashy out, while messing it up may cause a costly error. It's a fun enough gimmick, but not something I would qualify as groundbreaking. There may not be huge change in this year's iteration, but the foundation was already solid enough that I can't complain about it remaining steady.

Although MLB The Show 24 remains a cross-gen release, the graphics have still been improved. The new animations are nice, and extra detail has been paid to skin tone and eye movement. This was an area of focus due to the developer wanting to show off their improved lighting engine. This was one of my complaints with last year's release, and I'm happy to see that it has been corrected. Extra attention has once again also been paid to the period specific moments of Storylines. Whether it be the minimalist stadiums and classy fashion of the Negro Leagues, or the hysteria of playoff baseball in the Bronx, the details are there to make sure you are properly invested in the action.

MLB The Show 24

When it comes to The Show, there's a level of quality to be expected from it year after year, and this release once again hits that mark. The mechanics of the sport have been refined to the point where I'm not sure what could be done to improve them. While the Impact Plays system is more gimmick than not, it's not harming the experience. Storylines remains just as engaging this season, and my Yankee loving heart enjoyed reliving the exploits of Derek Jeter. Even Road to the Show saw improvements this year with the addition of a female career path and further player development outside of the field. MLB The Show 24 is a picture of a series at arguably the peak of its powers. While the lack of competition in the market may not necessitate evolution, it's nice to see the franchise continue to improve and evolve.

Our ratings for MLB The Show 24 on PlayStation 5 out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
80
While the adherence to cross-gen still hampers the visuals, an improved lighting system helps refine the visuals of The Show. The detail paid to the history of the game continues to be a strong point as well.
Gameplay
85
The addition of Impact Plays is a fun diversion, but the nuts and bolts of the gameplay remain as sound as ever.
Single Player
82
The return of Storylines is welcome, and while it may not appeal to all, the Derek Jeter spotlight is a must for any Yankees fan. After a few years of being ignored, Road to the Show has been improved thanks to the addition of the female career path.
Multiplayer
76
Unchanged from the previous year. Cross-play functionality is great to have, especially with the title's continued presence on Game Pass.
Performance
85
No issues with the game during my time with it.
Overall
84
MLB The Show 24 may not offer up many changes when it comes to outfield action, but the modes continue to be improved. I loved seeing Road to the Show finally get some dev time, and Storylines continues to be one of the strongest modes introduced by the series. If you're looking to escape from the potential disappointment of your real-life ball team, you'll find plenty of ways to do so here.
Comments
MLB The Show 24
MLB The Show 24 box art Platform:
PlayStation 5
Our Review of MLB The Show 24
84%
Great
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
MLB The Show 24 is ranked #267 out of 1968 total reviewed games. It is ranked #2 out of 23 games reviewed in 2024.
267. MLB The Show 24
268. Creaks
PC
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Screenshots

MLB The Show 24
10 images added 20 days ago
Videos
MLB The Show 24 - Launch Trailer
Posted: 23 days ago
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