When it comes to the game of baseball it's all about the numbers. Whether you're an old-school purist or a new-school Moneyball type, we all can agree that numbers mean more to baseball than any other sport. With that, MLB The Show 16 has added new advanced statistics in the game, as well as career statistics for all players. This is a great addition for Franchise Mode players, like myself, who like to play/simulate several seasons to see how a player's career progresses and if they can challenge some of baseball's iconic numbers: 56, 4,256 and 762 (some will still say 755, but that’s an argument for another time, and another blog).
For example, if you're playing Franchise Mode with the Miami Marlins (stop laughing), MLB The Show 16 now has all of Ichiro's career stats going back to 2001 when he made his MLB debut. With Ichiro being only 65 hits shy of 3000, this is a milestone you can achieve in the game and it will be mentioned as part of the game broadcast (see video below), along with any other milestones that happen during your franchise. For the sabermetrics geeks, and I use that term in a loving way, you now have advanced statistics like WAR, Runs Created, Isolated Power, Fielding Independent Pitching and many more. All of this data can help you make the best decisions possible when setting your lineup or making roster moves in MLB The Show 16.
Another factor that you will have to consider when making roster moves in MLB The Show 16 is player morale. If a player is not happy with his coaching staff or role on the team, it can affect his play on the field. Or if you don't let the player bring his kid to work every day, he could retire! The latter example is a little White Sox humor, but you'll need to manage these prima donnas to get the most out of them.
Playing Franchise Mode is quite a commitment and when you're playing that many games redundancy can be an issue. MLB The Show 16 has added hundreds of new animations, new home run reactions, team-specific celebrations, and new dialog for the broadcast team to help avoid this issue. One of the biggest graphical improvements to MLB The Show 16 is Physically Based Rendering (PBR). This is how light reacts to metallic and non-metallic surfaces. PBR combined with the seasonal shadowing that was added in MLB The Show 15, makes for such a visually pleasing experience. MLB The Show 16's PBR is a lot better than the vile liquid that is passed off as beer in some parts of our country. Kidding aside, as a Cubs fan, it's nice to see the video boards added to Wrigley Field. Stadiums are so important to the game of baseball, more so than any other sport, and MLB 16 The Show does a great job in capturing the details of each park.
If you're a Road To The Show player, you have some new features there as well. When you start your career, you'll take part in Bowman Scout Day. After the mini skills session you'll be assigned grades based on the real 20-80 scale that is used by major league scouts. Then you will play in a few regional games to show off your skills for major league teams. Your performance at scout day and in these prospect games will determine where you get drafted. Once you get to the minors and start playing RTTS games, you'll notice a few changes. One of which is Showtime. Showtime allows you to slow the game down at critical moments at the plate or in the field. You only have a limited amount of Showtime, so you'll need to use it wisely. Another great feature that was added to RTTS is the ability to play an entire series without having to go back to the main menu. Anything that can save you time when it comes to baseball video games is a welcomed addition.
MLB The Show 16 has added more depth in terms of game modes with the new Battle Royale and Conquest modes. In Battle Royale you will take part in a fantasy draft and use that team in a double-elimination tournament where you can win packs of cards, or classic player cards, for your Diamond Dynasty team. This game is similar to Madden 16's Draft Champions Mode. In Conquest Mode you will take your Diamond Dynasty team and battle major league teams in order to gain territory in North America. If you're a fan of baseball video games and thought to yourself "I wish baseball was more like the board game Risk," then Conquest is for you. If you're more of a Chutes and Ladders guy, I don't know what to tell you. Between Franchise Mode, RTTS, Home Run Derby, Diamond Dynasty, Battle Royale, Online Franchise and Online vs., MLB 16 The Show is one of the deepest sports video games out there.
It's now year three on the PlayStation 4 for the MLB The Show franchise, and it looks as though the game is starting to hit its stride in terms of graphics, gameplay and depth of game modes. The Show still has some issues in terms of the defense being too slow to react in the field at times and online gameplay can be hit or miss, but MLB 16 The Show is by far the best baseball video game on the market. And if I had a nickel for every time I heard "I wish I had a PlayStation just so I can play The Show," I could retire like Adam LaRoche.
Score: 8.5 out of 10