MLB The Show 22 Review: Waiting for a Next-Gen Leap

MLB The Show 22 is one of the weirder entries in the series over the course of the past decade. On one hand, I've found myself just as engaged as ever with the core gameplay of MLB The Show 22 and fully expect to continue playing it frequently over the course of this season. On the other hand, this is likely the most underwhelming jump between MLB The Show installments that I can remember as nothing much of note has really been added or altered this year. This lack of flashy new content doesn't make MLB The Show 22 worse by any means, but it does show that this series is somewhat struggling to evolve beyond what it has become. 

In a general sense, MLB The Show 22 very much sticks with the same formula that we've seen over the past few years. All of the game's core modes (Road to the Show, Diamond Dynasty, Franchise, and March to October) are back and have been tweaked in some slight ways. Road to the Show has notably received some new upgrades in terms of presentation, while Diamond Dynasty has added some cool features that more directly improve players depending on how they're performing in the actual MLB. Plus, it's nice to see some new players from the past like Joe Mauer make their return in Diamond Dynasty as well. None of these alterations are vast by any means, but longtime fans will likely appreciate how they mix things up just a bit.

(Photo: Sony)

Of the things that are wholly new in MLB The Show 22, there's not a lot to touch on. Online co-op has finally been added this time around after numerous requests from fans, and it works pretty much exactly as you would expect. It's a nice addition to what MLB The Show 22 offers, but it's also something that I imagine a lot of people won't even use – myself included.   

The biggest change by far in MLB The Show 22 though is the addition of a new set of announcers who are calling each game. Gone is Matt Vasgersian, who had been the play-by-play commentator for every MLB The Show title since the series began, and in steps Jon "Boog" Sciambi and Chris Singleton. The announcing work in MLB The Show 22 sounds a bit off at times, likely because the game doesn't have as many legacy voice lines to pull from like it did with Vasgersian. That being said, I love Sciambi as a play-by-play voice and I think he particularly does stellar work in this game. Then again, I'm extremely biased because I'm used to hearing his voice on a regular basis in Cubs broadcasts.

Unfortunately, MLB The Show 22 still feels like it hasn't properly taken advantage of current-gen hardware yet. This year's entry isn't ugly or unimpressive from a graphics or performance standpoint, necessarily, but it definitely feels like it's being somewhat held back by last-gen platforms. MLB The Show used to be one of Sony's most visually impressive franchises, and this hasn't proven to be true so far since the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. With the series now on Nintendo Switch, I also have a feeling that we might not see any hardware-pushing graphics any time soon. Still, if this is the tradeoff that is required for cross-platform play and progression, I guess it's worth it.

(Photo: Sony)

Even though it sounds like I'm underwhelmed by MLB The Show 22 overall, I cannot stress enough that the gameplay of this series continues to be top-notch. The Show has been the best baseball sim on the market for well over a decade at this point, so to say that it continues to be good here in 2022 isn't really a surprise. The gameplay refinements with this year's game might feel smaller than they have in forever, but that hasn't prevented MLB The Show 22 from being engaging and thoroughly fun in every aspect. 

By all accounts, MLB The Show 22 is still a great baseball game, but it definitely isn't going to blow you away if you already put a lot of time into The Show 21. The changes that have been included here in the latest entry feel more iterative than they have in quite some time, which leads to the final product feeling a bit disappointing. Still, in all of the ways that matter, MLB The Show 22 is another strong installment, even if it doesn't quite feel like it has taken a next-gen leap just yet. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

MLB The Show 22 is available right now across PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. A review code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review and the game was reviewed on a PS5.