Playing ‘MLB The Show 18’ feels like a baseball veteran approaching his retirement. He feels unafraid and knows he will have a spot in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
With that said, ‘MLB The Show 18’ feels more like a fine-tuning installment in the series. There are some excellent gameplay changes players had issues with last year that keep the action on the field fair and balanced, but takes baby steps as far as new features go in three main modes that have been a stable of the series over the last few years.
The gameplay in ‘MLB The Show 18’ is the best it has ever been in the series, with the main culprit being better hitting results. Hitting the ball feels a lot more logical than it was last year where a pitch can be anywhere in the zone and the ball would leave the stadium in no time. It is definitely less frustrating than in ‘MLB The Show 17.’
The ball also travels a lot better thanks to a new variety of hits and more realistic ball physics. Fielding also feels much more compact with the main problem in ‘MLB 17’ being addressed and that is catchers are much less of a liability. They can block balls that go in the dirt and are able to throw out potential base stealers with much more relative ease than in previous years.
Going beyond gameplay, the new visuals are outstanding. The textures on the uniforms are stunning to look at, the new camera angles and replay effects make ‘MLB The Show 18’ feel like as much of a television broadcast than ever before.
Matt Vasgersian once again returns as the play-by-play commentator along with Dan Plesac and former Chicago Cub Mark DeRosa who replaces Harold Reynolds from last year’s game. The commentary feels incoherent at times but it is still nice that they still include allusions to past performance and stats on specific players.
Gameplay aside, the overall package of the game is a bit of letdown. There were little changes made to Franchise Mode and Road To The Show. Online Franchise and Season Mode are absent in this game. The two distinct changes made to Franchise is re-designed menus and the season being broken up into phases which helps the process of how a baseball team is ran.
Other little changes include weather effects (rain delays can occur) and the CPU can sit a player down if he is underperforming on the team.
The card collecting mode Diamond Dynasty sees a change in the ratings system. Diamond level players can range from 85-99 overall, with the 99 overall cards referred to as the Immortals. Small programs eventually lead up to obtaining the Immortals. The pleasure someone will get out of Diamond Dynasty is how much time and hard earned money a player is willing to spend to have a stacked team.
Road to the Show sees changes in how your created player will develop his skills. No longer are there microtransactions to upgrade stats, they increase or decrease based on performance on the field. Player archetypes are new to the mode as well. Selecting one of many archetypes will increase and decrease stats in specific areas. For instance the Power Corner archetype will see an increase in fielding and power in return for low speed.
Despite few changes to the game’s three main modes, ‘MLB The Show 18’ still remains as the best baseball simulation on console thanks to the welcomed gameplay tweaks and fantastic authenticity.