MLB The Show 24 Co-Op Review

MLB The Show 24 Co-Op Review

With thanks to PlayStation Australia, our own editor Paul James partnered up with good friend of the site, Ryan Betson of The PopCulturists and For The Players fame, to play MLB The Show 24, the latest from PlayStation’s San Diego Studio. Join them as they pull apart what makes the game tick in this new co-op review.

Paul James: Betson, it’s awesome to get to chat to you about this one, I know you’ve been a student of the IP for quite a while, and Baseball is something of a blind spot for this sporting aficionado. So you’ve played quite a few of these over the years and have sunk your teeth into the latest as well. Let’s get the ball rolling with something top level –  I was impressed, but not amazed by this one. As a student of the franchise, what makes this one tick (or not) for you?

Ryan Betson: Hey! Thanks for having me!

My history with the series goes ALL the way back to, I’m gunna say, MLB The Show 13. I was right in my peak baseball fandom (Go Tigers!) and adored the title. Since then I’ve not kept up with the sport itself for a number of years, however I will always play The Show. My top level thoughts on this are simple: It’s MLB The Show. I know it sounds like a cop out but, like any annualised franchise, year in year out it’s mostly the same. Like every year I step into Road To The Show and make #17 Detroit Tigers Shortstop, Ryan “Big Daddy” Benson, and play on and off until the next year. This mode will always have my heart. However, fundamentally it’s the same as it ever was. This year I tried something different. With WWE2K24’s MyFaction mode opening the floodgate of my apparently suppressed, dopamine desired enjoyment of digital card collecting, I stepped foot into Diamond Dynasty. Oh boy. This could be dangerous…
What modes did you dive into, Paj?

PJ: As someone who doesn’t really dabble in Baseball, I was keen to get a taste of everything, in the hopes of finding something that would really click with me. While there was a barrier built through the lack of experience, knowledge, and understanding of the sport, I did find myself (perhaps unsurprisingly to all) checking out more of that Road To The Show campaign. You mention the dangerous steps into Diamond Dynasty – that scared me to death, due to those parallels with time and money sinks across NBA 2K and FIFA titles. There’s a clear, addictive feel to this mode that was immediately obvious to me, and so I dabbled but I was treading with care. 

The moment-to-moment of MLB has been a barrier to me in the past; I think I’d been too keen to get straight into the action that I wouldn’t take the time to devour the tutorials like I needed to, and so I would bounce off the games pretty quickly – not this time though. I took my time and I feel like I’m really getting my sea legs now. You though, Mr. Big Daddy Betson, are are better versed than I, you’ve been smoking home runs for a while now, how does this latest entry hold up through a moment-to-moment gameplay lens?

RB: Baseball is such a stats heavy sport with seemingly arbitrary acronyms all over the place. So big shout outs to you for jumping straight in! I’m very lucky in that my anxiety around spending money cancels out my ADHD impulse for purchasing, so thankfully I’m yet to spend any extra in modes like Diamond Dynasty… although, I am most certainly booting the gaming up every morning to get my daily drop! Plus it’s also more than just spending cash. You can get a solid squad just by playing. Each season has a number of tasks with many of them being “get on base 10 times” or “Score an RBI and extra bases”, which are simple!

For me, the moment-to-moment feels as good as it ever has. If you are playing Road to The Show you can skip all the situations where your character isn’t involved. This can include skipping entire innings if you aren’t scheduled to hit or not much is happening where you field. But if you do choose to see it all, damn does MLB The Show continue to have some of the best broadcast feel in sports games. Especially when playing in the majors, there are times when it looks real. Player models can look fantastic and the stadiums are near replicas. Saying that, similar to games like WWE, you can clearly tell who the important players are in each team. They have been given so much extra love compared to the right field player from the Rocket City Trash Pandas (a real MiLB AA team!). Saying that though, when I booted it up I did have the initial feeling of “hmmm, this doesn’t look as good as I remember”. I’m assuming that this is rose-tinted glasses sneaking through.

When it comes to gameplay MLB The Show provided a full suite of control schemes. Whether you want the more EA’s Skate thumbstick flickin’, Everybody’s Golf power bar, or good old button pressing. Whether it be throwing or hitting baseballs, it really opens it up to anyone’s choice of playstyle or experience. I also dipped my toe into the Storylines mode. Normally I stick to RTTS, but the history of baseball is always fascinating – check out the Ken Burns’ doco if you have a weekend free. It’s long but amazing.

The Show 24 has continued the tale of The Negro Leagues, the side leagues from a different time where African American folk weren’t able to share the same diamond. It’s a great way to literally play through history. I’m learning without realising!
Shoutout to the Road to The Show: Women Pave The Way too. The first ever in game baseball career mode.


PJ: Mate, what they’ve done with the Negro Leagues is incredible. Obviously I’m not a Baseball person, so it’s an aspect of that game’s history that I absolutely had no knowledge about, but considering that we have had equivalent segregation in our own Australian sports, I think it’s amazing that they’ve told the story and properly represented the community from that era. If only a similar thing could be done within AFL, NRL, or Cricketing circles. I’m shocked to your point that the Women’s league in The Show 24 is a first for the IP, that feels like it is well overdue considering what peers have been producing for years, but I’m glad that it has finally made the cut. 

I’ve been really impressed by what the team have produced with this entry, and I’m certainly interested in checking the game out longer term, whilst remaining from partaking in any wallet-draining modes. You’ve been super comprehensive so far, but is there anything else you wanted to touch on at all before we wrap up?

RB: When it comes to baseball games there is no one, and we mean literally no one, that does it like Sony San Diego and MLB The Show. It plays as good as ever, the modes are fleshed out and fun, it’s always a blast making yourself, and it has enough accessibility options and control schemes that you can make it super pick up and play for a couple innings with mates. It continues to run like a champ with no major hiccups, glitches, or bugs. As mentioned before, the visuals don’t feel as crisp as they used to but that could be entirely anecdotal. However in the last couple years the MLB did put San Diego in a tough position of forcing the title to be cross platform, so needing to be pairable across new lower speced devices (like Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series S) could be affecting it’s higher level potential.

Huge thank you to PlayStation Australia for kindly providing access to MLB The Show again. It continues to be a personal stand out of each year and now that I’m diving deeper into other modes and re-engaging with the overall sport, who knows, maybe I will need to dust off my old Detroit merch.

MLB The Show 24 Review Box

MLB The Show 24 was reviewed on PS5 with codes kindly provided by PlayStation Australia

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