A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MLB The Show 16 is a professional baseball simulation that is the latest installment in the sports franchise. There's no questionable content in this game except for product branding across billboards and stadiums, along with team websites and other URLs. But parents should be aware that this PlayStation exclusive can be played online with voice support, so kids could be engaged in inappropriate language (or hear profanity), as there's no monitoring or filtering.
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What's it about?
MLB THE SHOW 16 aims to be the definitive interactive baseball simulation, whether you prefer to play by yourself or with a friend beside you or online. Available for PlayStation 4 and the older PlayStation 3, this year's game includes many improvements and fixes over last year's MLB The Show 15 -- already a stellar pro ball sim. Along with playing as or against your favorite Major League Baseball team from the National or American leagues (and, if you like, recruiting legends of the game onto your team), new this year are additional gameplay modes (such as ShowTime, where you can replay big baseball moments with more control and precision), enhancement to fan-favorite modes (Diamond Dynasty and Road to the Show), more personalization, unlockable (and redeemable) perks for playing, and tweaks to the AI and control. Note: The PS3 version of the game doesn't share all the features (or near-photo-realistic graphics) as the PS4 version.
Is it any good?
This year's baseball game is nearly flawless and is easily the best baseball simulation money can buy. How was this achieved? Sony took last year's already excellent game and improved it in almost every department. Load the game, and right off the "bat" you'll see the slick production values as you scroll through the menu and select which kind of baseball experience you feel like. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the franchise, some of the new additions worth noting are tied to the Road to the Show mode. One is a feature called ShowTime, which lets you slow down major game moments and replay them with more cinematics and drama. Plus, the Road to the Show mode now lets you play out a string of games without having to return to the menu.
New modes include Battle Royale -- which is similar to Madden 16’s Draft Champions -- which lets you build a fantasy dream team for hours of fun -- and then there’s Conquest, a strange new mode that has you compete against 30 other teams to see which can build the biggest fan base and “conquer” North America through short, three-inning games. Players also receive in-game rewards through every mode, earning XP and Tickets (think Chuck E. Cheese's), which you can use toward unlockable goodies such as special players, player cards, bonus stats, and more. Franchise Mode is as meaty and challenging as previous MLB The Show games. Plus, there’s new AI, new pitcher and base-runner controls, new animations (including the José Bautista "bat flip" on the Toronto Blue Jays), classic stadiums, new broadcast-like presentation, and more. Other than there being no PS Vita version as in years’ past, there’s nothing really to complain about in MLB The Show 16. It's a grand slam of a baseball game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing a virtual sports game on a television versus playing the real game on a baseball diamond. Is this game a substitute or merely an entertaining addendum for when you can't play outside? How can you best bridge the gap between real and simulated play?
Do you prefer games where you're active? What benefits does active gaming have?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy
Creativity: making new creations
Self-Direction: effort, time management, work to achieve goals
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct
- Price: $59.99 ($39.99 for PS3)
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Release date: March 28, 2016
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- ESRB rating: E
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.