The annual trip to the best virtual diamond in video games is another triumph from San Diego studios. MLB 17 The Show is another fab version of their fantastic Baseball and business sim is not just a reissue of last year’s model. In addition to roster updates and uniform tweaks, the commentary booth has two new assistants to provide analysis to the game you’re playing, in Major League veterans Harold Reynolds and Dan Plesac.
Then, there’s the small but certainly not insignificant change in ball physics. In previous MLB The Show titles, the ball hit off the bat used a model of a ball hitting off a flat wall. This installment models it properly as a round ball hitting off a round bat, allowing for more realistic hitting and curved flight paths that otherwise haven’t existed in the series before.
Plus, the newest stadium in the bigs, the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park is fully rendered in 4K glory, along with the other 29 current parks, and eleven classic out-of-use parks. The players’ faces, body language, motions for their swings, throws, and catches, and even their celebrations for homers and victories is the most realistic yet seen in a sports video game.
Still, this isn’t just a technical marvel. The game provides plenty of modes to keep the casual player amazed and the hardcore player entertained. There’s the return of the traditional modes like Exhibition, Season, Playoff, and Franchise, where you take the ownership of any major league team, and Diamond Dynasty, where you can play against other players online for better players to stack your own dream team.
Then there’s its signature Road to the Show, where you control one player’s career on his quest to become one of the greats in the game, in this version with even more in depth in choice on how his story will play out both on and off the field.
And then, new to this installment, great for more casual players, is the fantastic Retro Mode, which replicates and pays tribute to the more simple baseball video games of the old days, such as ‘RBI Baseball’ for the NES, and ‘Ken Griffey Jr Presents’ for the Super Nintendo. Speaking of which, Junior himself provides occasional commentary to the games and is the cover athlete for this edition.
All in all, there’s no substitute for watching or playing the real sport. But if you want to get unbelievably close to that, there’s this. Fantastic graphics, smooth presentation, fun gameplay and a multitude of options make this a no brainer purchase for any baseball fan.