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LETHALgames: MLB The Show 20 Review (PlayStation 4)

This isn’t anything that to influence some on if they’re going to buy this game or not, cause honestly, it’s a pretty dead title at this point. I just wanted to do this as a bit of a recap on what I thought of the 2020 MLB offering from San Diego Studios. At this point and time I would say MLB The Show is the only annual sports title that feels MUST BUY each year, and after such a great year with the game in 2019 I was FIRED UP for MLB The Show 20 to drop back in March.

To sum the game up in one sentence: 
Why can’t San Diego Studios make all sports games!?
For the sake of the review I’ll stick to my usual 3 categories: concept, content & gameplay.


The concept, I suppose, is pretty simple - it’s baseball. But in this, I’m going to talk about some new stuff they brought to the table. 

One of the additions, the biggest I think, was a new mode in Diamond Dynasty called “Showdown”. For those who had played before, it’s basically Battle Royal meets Moments. You draft a team to start, then play through some moments with the squad you put together. Depending how you do in those moments dictate how big of a hill you need to climb in the final showdown. The final showdown is you vs a set pitcher, where you only bat with your squad and have a set numbers of outs to score a set number of runs. It’s a lot of fun, and it played a big role in a lot of the content drops for inning programs. 

My main game mode with The Show is Diamond Dynasty, but the have some much more in the game in terms of ways to enjoy baseball in a digital way. There’s a career mode, home run derby, season/franchise modes, and your standard “play now” stuff where you can just have a game without all the bells and whistles. They really cover all their bases.


This is where MLB The Show and San Diego Studios shines. The content (and steady updates) in this series is OUTSTANDING. I can’t possible touch on it all, but I’m hitting the key points for this year.

  • Prospects - there’s been the odd highly touted prospect in the past get added, but this year they went all in. If I recall there was somewhere between 75-100 prospects added to the game this year. They played into many game modes, but the most apparent was Diamond Dynasty. 
  • New Legends - it seems like every year we’re getting a few new legends. My memory sucks so I can’t name them all but they worked things out for some pretty big additions this year in Ortiz, Rivera, Walker, Sheffield, The Brave Big 3 (Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz), Mantle, and more
  • Inning Programs - the backbone of Diamond Dynasty! They dropped 10 unique inning programs that gave players A LOT of content to play though, and kept the game feeling fresh for MONTHS. 
  • Team Affinity - I can’t remember if this was a thing in 19, but if it was it definitely wasn’t as good as it is in 20. They added 4 stages of team affinity (with staggered releases) where you could get prospects, legends, and other reward by completing team specific goals. More incentive to grind and get the most out of Diamond Dynasty.
One thing about SDS/The Show that I love is they allow people who don’t want to sink extra money in the game to be competitive in an online setting with the content they drop. You look at other modes similar to this is offerings from companies like 2K and you can’t say the same. MLB The Show gives players and incentive to spend a bit more, but by no means makes it feel like a requirement to keep up.


This is where we had some issues this year, and I don’t think it’s because SDS had a lack of attention to detail or unwillingness to fix. I think some things went off the rails, and with the studio having to respond to the pandemic it slowed a lot of things down in terms of responding to gameplay problems & getting patches out.

The BIGGEST issue was the thing that cause the most hype pre-launch. They introduced a new “Perfect-Perfect” feedback system. It was supposed to be, to sum it up, a system where if you times your swing perfectly, and made perfect contact it was the best hit possible. The problem is after an early patch, perfect-perfects although good, would OFTEN result in a line out or even warning track pop out. It was INFURIATING. My buddy managed to hit a few perfect-perfect foul balls! If you’re timing it perfectly, how on earth is it going foul? They eventually improved the feedback system for hitting, but the issue persisted that perfect-perfects weren’t driving the success that they had hyped before the game released.

Personally, the biggest issue I had with this game was the online matchmaking. I get that online with this is build to be a competitive environment, and some modes have their own performance based match making.. but some of the matches I got online seemed so extremely lopsided. It was either people who’s profile levels were insanely above OR below mine. I would say MAYBE 25% of my online matches were an even matched, competitive game. I feel like they could better optimize the online match making, and I hope they do as in the future I’d love to move to grinding more of the online aspects of The Show.

Perfect-Perfect and online match making aside, for the most part this game is SMOOTH. You may get the odd play that seems a bit glitchy, but they’re few and far between. There’s a reason this is the only legitimate baseball sim on the market today, it can’t be touched. 
I’m definitely at a point that I’m done with this game (after 380 hours & 25 minutes of gameplay), but I’m eager to get into MLB The Show 21. I have no clue when we see that. Usually it’s March, but with the transition to next gen and it being avail on 5 different consoles (PS4/PS5/XB1/XBSX/Switch) + PC I can see it coming later this year. 

I made it to around the 8th inning Diamond Dynasty content drop before I had to ease up on playing. SDS makes the game feel so fresh for so long, I honestly wish they could get their hands on a few more sports titles cause The Show is the closest thing to a perfect sports game I’ve ever played. SDS just gets it, man. They listen to the community so well.

Final Rating: 9.0/10

Although 20 was a step back from 19 (which I would give a 9.5/10) for me, to say I got my money’s worth and then some is an understatement. I think the pandemic limited them from addressing some community concerns with the gameplay, but even with some broken aspects of gameplay I see The Show as being head and shoulders above other sports titles.

For other game reviews check out this archive of other titles that I’ve given my thoughts on!