One of Sony’s annual sluggers is a free agent this year. MLB The Show 21, developed and published by Sony’s internal studios, is the first in the series not exclusive to PlayStation. Not only that, but Xbox Game Pass members get it as part of their paid subscription, so the audience for this iconic baseball series is bigger than ever before.
So how well does this year’s entry capture America’s pastime? The critical reaction so far seems mildly enthusiastic. The consensus appears to be that while MLB The Show 21 captures the fundamentals just as well as ever, it’s has lost a few features from prior entries and still hasn’t matched some offered by other high-profile sports franchises. Plus as the first new MLB The Show game on the new generation of hardware, critics don’t seem entirely wowed by the bump in power.
In GameSpot’s MLB The Show 21 review, Richard Wakeling said, “MLB The Show 21 maintains the series’ high bar of excellence once the ball’s in play. Away from the diamond, however, there are a number of missing features and questionable decisions that take some of the shine off an otherwise fantastic game of baseball.”
We’ve compiled some reviews from around the industry below. For even more critical impressions, check out GameSpot sister site Metacritic.
- Game: MLB The Show 21
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
- Developer: Sony San Diego Studio
- Release Date: April 20
- Price: $60-70 / £60
GameSpot — 7/10
“Much like its predecessors, MLB The Show 21 is still one of the best sports games available once you step over the foul line. The gameplay has been tightened up and Pinpoint Pitching is a potential game-changer, and all of these elements go some way to dampening the disappointment of its missing features, stale commentary, and changes (or lack thereof) to Road to the Show and Franchise. It’s not the strongest debut the series could’ve had on new hardware, but if you’re in the mood for nine innings of America’s favorite pastime, MLB The Show is still the undisputed king.” — Richard Wakeling [Full Review]
Attack of the Fanboy — 4/5
“Being the most consistent annual sports franchise out there, MLB The Show manages to overcome the loss of a few key features to give players yet another reason to step right back into the batter’s box in MLB The Show 21.” — Dean James [Full Review]
Hardcore Gamer — 4/5
“San Diego Studios continue to try and improve an annual product that already has a fantastic core with MLB The Show 21. New Xbox players will be blown away at the realism and the gameplay options in the game while PlayStation players will appreciate the changes to the presentation and some of the visual improvements. The four main game modes don’t see any huge changes outside of Road to the Show, which may nab a mixed reaction from fans on how it was designed, but personally I feel it’s a good if unnecessary change. The visuals are still great, but there are next to no next-generation implementations across the board outside of running at 4K and 60 FPS, which does change the game especially if you didn’t try last year’s title on PS5. Whether on PlayStation or Xbox, MLB The Show 21 remains the gold standard for realistic sports games.” — Cory Wells [Full Review]
Screen Rant — 3.5/5
“Nonetheless, MLB The Show 21 is yet another solid entry in Sony’s now multi-platform sports franchise. The consistent tweaks to how the game functions and its quality-of-life improvements each year have helped create a balanced, solid foundation for each iteration to improve on. Even though MLB The Show 21 lacks in delivering a truly engrossing current-gen experience on the new consoles in some ways and has a few typical sports franchise pitfalls, it’s still an enjoyable game that has a high degree of craftsmanship.” — Cade Onder [Full Review]
Forbes — 7/10
“MLB The Show 21 is still loads of fun to play. Franchise is slightly improved, Diamond Dynasty continues to be strong, and Stadium Creator is even better than expected. However, there are areas of the game that don’t feel like an actual next-gen experience, and we’re still missing features that other sports games have had for years.” — Brian Mazique [Full Review]
Game Informer — Unscored (Review-in-Progress)
“I still have days of playing ahead of me, but I can already say that MLB The Show 21 is a hell of a game. The first impression it makes is strong, and it looks absolutely stunning. The lighting, fluidity of animations, sharpness of picture; it screams of quality. The Show is obviously the best baseball game out there each year, but it has also long been one of the best sports series, period. From what I’ve played thus far, this entry upholds that legacy in fun, inventive, and deep ways.” — Andrew Reiner [Full Review-in-Progress]
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