More of a belly-itcher than a pitcher, really
May 3, 2020 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Would MLB the Show be a playable game for casual-to-poor gamers? Looking for a game I can play (versus, couch co-op, or both) with my ten-year-old. Either one of us might pick up the play a minor leaguer RPG aspect, or not, but neither of us is likely to go looking for online play. Is this a good game to pick up, or is it too geared for the fast-twitch high end gamer? I gave up Madden fifteen years ago because I didn't want to put the time into it to get good enough to enjoy it. Would this be ok for us, or would we be better off with one of the more cartoony games like RBI Baseball?
posted by stevis23 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes. I play this exact game with my 10 year old (who is a budding sports video game fan) and I absolutely hold my own.
posted by hijinx at 8:04 PM on May 3, 2020

I am not a gamer so take this for what it is worth. If you consider a PC game ok, I would look into Strat-O-Matic baseball. It is both a PC game and a board game. It does not take dexterity. Just baseball decision making.
posted by AugustWest at 8:22 PM on May 3, 2020

Best answer: My opinion of The Show is not that it's built for a twitch gamer - just the opposite, I think it's built for the stat-loving gamer. I found it really boring personally, since all I really wanted to do was play baseball and The Show is about so much more than that (progression, roster management, etc., etc.). The sweet spot for me -- and my non-video game playing wife and my baseball-head brother was Super Mega Baseball. You can really fine-tune the difficulty for each player independently (they call it Ego) and it skips all the parts of baseball that The Show includes for reasons of realism rather than fun.
posted by dbx at 7:22 AM on May 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've always been crap at baseball games, but I enjoyed playing The Show 10 years ago on a PS3. At least back then it was perfectly possible to ignore the vast majority of the management type stuff and just play some baseball.
posted by wierdo at 11:02 AM on May 4, 2020

Best answer: If you're looking for quick fun baseball action I would second the recommendation for Super Mega Baseball. You don't get MLB players, but in all other regards it's probably what you're looking for. As for The Show...

Here's way more thoughts than you probably need. Before getting to anything else, know that most of what the game has to offer is really tailored for single player. I will describe the multiplayer/couch-play aspect first, but yeah... then I'll describe everything else. Don't sleep on the single player modes. It could be really fun to play these together by handing the controller off between innings or batters.

Casual Play
I think this is what it's called. This is what you're primarily looking for. Each player picks a team and you play. I do believe both players can be on the same team but don't know exactly how it works. If I were to guess I would suspect that one player pitches while the other fields and the batters are divided some other way. There also might be a "player lock" aspect to this where, say, one person is the pitcher and the other is everyone else. But in general the meat of this is two players going against each other. Now, when it comes to the actual gameplay: This can be as hard or as easy as you like. You each can choose between three different styles of hitting and pitching. The easier ones offer lest fine-tuned control, but are easier. The harder ones aren't *hard*, they're just harder to get the hang of. Beyond this you can agree to an overall difficulty setting that you'll both share. This setting determines how forgiving your chosen pitching/batting style will be when you don't execute perfectly. For example if you're on Rookie and you totally screw up a pitch, it's less likely to be a wild pitch or an absolute meatball nowhere near where you aimed. Conversely, hitting on Rookie will give you more solid hits even if you didn't line it up/time it correctly. To answer your question more closely: Yes. In this mode, you do not have to be amazing to play. Find a pitching/batting style you like, set it on Rookie and you both should have a blast. Fielding's pretty easy when you get the hang of it and baserunning is always a little tricky, but you should have the basics down after your first game.

Diamond Dynasty
The overwhelming majority of content in the game exists in something called "Diamond Dynasty." The very short version is that in this mode (which you must have online access to play) you collect cards, build a team, and then play games with that team. This earns you more cards, which improves your team, then you play games with them. Repeat. On paper this probably sounds really fun. In practice... it can be! But it's a tremendous grind to actually improve your team in any meaningful way. After what has to be at least 50 hours of play from me, I only have two "Diamond" players and both have ratings in the mid-80s (with 99 being the best for the Mike Trouts of the world.) Suffice to say: Unless you are willing to dedicate an absolute boatload of time (or buy in-game currency) you're never going to get the best players in the league in this mode. But it's still pretty fun, IMHO. Single player only, however, so probably not a good fit for you. Worth pointing out: This is where you *could* play online against others but you don't have to do that to progress. If you ever want the absolute best cards you would have to eventually, but if you would describe yourself as casual to poor I wouldn't recommend it.

Road to the Show
Pretty classic build a player and then bring him up through the minor leagues and into the majors mode. Light RPG elements. Fun! You can select a difficulty setting for this.

March to October
My favorite mode! Pick a team and play through a season with them. Rather than having to play 162 full games, this mode skips the majority of games during the season and drops you into one every week or so. It will usually drop you into a game in progress sometime between the 6th and 9th innings with a scenario like "come from behind and win this game" or "complete this no-hitter." It's really a great way to get to know all the players on various teams (both the team you choose and the teams you play.) It does become a bit of a slog if/when you get to the playoffs because at that point you have to play every game and it may start you off as early as the fourth innings. Bonus for this mode: Playing it gives you "Team Affinity" points which unlocks things in Diamond Dynasty. This is how I got my first Diamond card (woohoo Devers "Face of the Franchise" card!) You can select a difficulty setting for this.

I haven't touched it but this is where you can do a whole nuts and bolts team management sim, with the option to play or not play the individual games.

Home Run Derby
It sure is. I *think* you can play two player here but not sure.

TL;DR: The multiplayer experience you describe above is available in this game and could totally be enjoyable by a casual gamer. There is far more single-player content that could still be enjoyable by a casual gamer and you can hand off the controller if you want to play with more than one person.

If somehow you need more info, please feel free to MeMail me.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:21 AM on May 5, 2020

Oh and one more thing: The presentation of MLB The Show is *amazing.* Between the graphics and the announcing it feels very much like watching real baseball. In our current climate that has proved to be very soothing and goes a long way to scratch the itch of not having real games to watch.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:22 AM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Checking back in--we did get Super Mega Baseball 3, and are loving it. The skill level/Ego setting is helping making it fun for all, we can have all 3 of us play (2 vs. 1), and my daughter and I have started a season. Co-play does work in alternating form: you hit for every other batter, while the other baseruns, and switch. You switch pitching and fielding every other inning as well.

We're also appreciating the female athletes in SMB3. Everything's a little cartoonish, but not so much to kill the immersion.

Apparently on PC one can get fan made MLB rosters, but not on Ps.

Thanks again all!
posted by stevis23 at 11:16 AM on June 20, 2020

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