MLB The Show 24 Review (PS5)


MLB The Show 24 may not be the best-looking sports game on the market anymore, but San Diego Studio continues to lead the field by pushing the boundaries of the genre overall. This year’s release may feel largely familiar when you’re at the plate, but the expansion of narrative-based experiences in the Storylines section demonstrates how the first-party developer is evolving elsewhere.

For starters, the user interface is extraordinarily stylish this year. While it contains many of the same features and functions from years past, transitions fizzle and pop with a level of polish we’ve not seen from the series before. The new documentary-like Derek Jeter mode is a particular highlight, with its menus adopting the look and feel of New York’s iconic subway.

Classic stadiums, like Seattle’s legendary Kingdome, have been recreated for the first time this year, completing the period appropriate presentation, which already utilised classic broadcast overlays. While the gameplay amounts to little more than repurposed Moments – hit a crucial RBI, for example, or score a home run – the interviews and archive footage add crucial context.

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The same is true of Season 2 of the Negro Leagues, which continues the outstanding work San Diego Studio started in last year’s game. While the format is largely identical – anchored once more by the infectiously enthusiastic Bob Kendrick – the stories are bolder this time, with female player Toni Stone’s tale being a particular highlight. The only downside is that Season 1’s content isn’t bundled in as well.

For a sports game, it’s an unexpectedly progressive one, with a new Road to the Show storyline focusing on female athletes. This comes with its own narrative about two high school friends supporting each other’s journeys, and while the writing is a bit heavy handed, the content could potentially prove inspirational to an entire generation of young ladies trying to make it to the big leagues.

Out on the field, batting remains largely unchanged – by San Diego Studio’s own admission. This is because it feels largely comfortable with the state of the offensive game, and we’d tend to agree: clean connections feel sublime, amplified by great use of the DualSense controller and superb sound design. The balance is good here, although we’d like to see a few more animations following fresh air swings.

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It’s on the defensive side that the most work has been invested. Impact Plays aim to capture those highlight defensive moments, like diving catches and millimetre-accurate throws. These largely boil down to QTEs, which may disappoint those looking for something a bit more in-depth, but personally we reckon the addition adds enough control to make these plays feel impactful.

The freshly added animations make the biggest difference, though, especially during double-plays. You can now have your shortstop dive to the grass to stop the ball, toss it up to second base, and then launch it back to first. As in real-life, executing these multi-stage pickoffs isn’t easy, and there’s a tremendous margin of error, but pull it off and you’ll feel like the superstar you’re supposed to be.

There are also changes to reflect the new rules in real-life MLB, such as the adjustments to disengagement and the larger bases. All of these alterations have come with subtle balancing tweaks to accommodate them, and while San Diego Studio will likely continue tweaking things throughout the season, we largely feel like everything is in a good place at launch.

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Our biggest criticism, as has been the case for a while now, is that the graphics don’t feel up to snuff really. Even major names, like Shohei Ohtani, look a little off – and despite apparent improvements to hair physics, it all looks decidedly dated to us. The grass and dirt, two things you’ll be staring at for the vast majority of your time playing, still look pretty ugly; it’s hard to believe they’ve not been improved.

But the overall presentation is generally good, with the developer aping the crucial aspects of a real-world broadcast. In the previously mentioned Storylines modes, there’s unique flavour commentary which adds key context and trivia to the content, and we really appreciated the subtle integration of this additional information.

Diamond Dynasty remains one of the most generous team-building modes on the market as well. While there are microtransactions, you never really need them unless you want to collect all the players, and the rewards are plentiful throughout. Tweaks here aim to alter the flow between seasons and keep players engaged all year, but it’s hard for us to comment on their success at this early stage.


MLB The Show 24 tweaks an already sturdy foundation, with new defensive animations bringing the biggest change to gameplay. Its success as a compelling package largely stems from its single player additions, with the documentary-like Storylines mode starring Derek Jeter accompanying the second season of the outstanding Negro Leagues. The addition of female athletes to Road to the Show is sure to inspire an entire generation, while foundational favourites like Franchise and Diamond Dynasty remain at the top of their game, despite their underlying familiarity.

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