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 19 is the latest installment in the baseball simulation franchise that's exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Players are presented with multiple options of gameplay, including the ability to play through shortened seasons, historically significant moments in baseball, and taking a created player from the minor leagues to a professional league squad. The game offers multiple control settings, as well as tutorial and practice sessions, so players can find the scheme that works best for them; even still, some of the higher difficulty levels require great timing, ball placement, and luck to be successful at the plate. There's no inappropriate content in the game, but there's lots of product placement for Topps, Major League Baseball, and other brands in stadiums or in stat boosting items found in card packs. These items, along with players and other extras, can be purchased with real money or earned by playing multiple games. Players could potentially be exposed to inappropriate comments in online games because they're unmoderated.
What's it about?
MLB THE SHOW 19 swings for the fences this year with a brand-new installment that's larger and more expansive than ever before. New to this year's game is the March to October mode, which lets you select a major league team and try to get it into the postseason through an accelerated series of games. Depending on how well you perform in matches, you'll earn or lose team momentum, which will translate into automatic wins or losses for your squad. Road to the Show has been significantly revamped with new features, such as new player archetypes and training mini-games. Players also have the option to express themselves in a more complex manner by expressing their personality in dialogue with teammates, managers, and even rivals in one of four ways: the Captain, Maverick, Heart and Soul, and Lightning Rod. Each personality type can unlock new abilities for you and your teammates in games, which can be the difference between a win and a loss. Along with revamps to the Diamond Dynasty and Conquest modes, there's a new mode called Moments, where players can explore some of the biggest moments in MLB history and see if they can match or improve on what happened by some of the biggest stars. Lace up your cleats and grab your glove, because it's time to hit the field.
Is it any good?
This updated chapter of baseball is a true home run of enhanced gameplay, improved modes, and extras that will thrill baseball fans and bring newcomers to the digital ballpark. MLB The Show 19 has clearly spent time in the training room, because this is the best presentation of the pastime in years. For one thing, more attention has been paid to the defensive side of the game, so players will really have to time their swings to drive a ball into a gap or past the infielders. You'll see outfielders making more subtle adjustments before a pitch to react to sluggers so they can rob hits going over the fence or reaching the wall. So knocks that would've gone for extra bases in last year's game aren't so easy to make now. Improved visuals and the addition of MLB Network's Heidi Watney to the announcing team as a dugout reporter round out the presentation of the on-field game. Similarly, the Road to the Show mode has been vastly revamped, with larger role-playing game mechanics. This time around, players will pick their archetype (like a Flamethrower for a pitcher that tosses fastballs, or The Anomaly for power hitting speedsters) and can express themselves with personality traits. These have a larger impact this year: Not only can you boost the stats of yourself and your teammates, you can even start rivalries with other teams, which will make athletes play harder when they face each other. You'll also get dynamic challenges during at bats, like driving in runs or advancing runners, which boost your stats. Honestly, the mode just feels brand new.
That would be plenty, but two other modes are also noteworthy. The March to October mode accelerates play for a season, leaping into key moments during games, like trying to mount a comeback from a certain number of runs. Managing to successfully accomplish these goals contributes to a momentum meter, allowing your squad to go on a hot winning streak. Lose these challenges, and your squad goes on a cold losing slide. It's a great way to fly through seasons and test your skills. Finally, the addition of MLB Moments is a fun way to explore historical moments in MLB history. Players are tasked with meeting or surpassing moments in history, such as hitting a number of home runs with Babe Ruth over a four-game series or actually getting Tom Seaver the perfect game that slipped through his fingers in 1969. Sony plans on adding more historical moments along with events from the current season for players to test their skills. Simply put, MLB The Show 19 overflows with gameplay and modes that sports fans and baseball fans will love. It's worth a PlayStation owner's time to head out to this digital ballgame.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism. Do you feel pressured to spend your money on in-game packs in MLB The Show 19 to give your created baseball teams an advantage, or would you rather earn new players by playing multiple baseball games?
Does playing this game make you interested in playing or watching baseball in real life? Do the historic moments make you want to track down info or video (if available) of those key times in MLB history? Could it make someone who isn't a fan of baseball a fan of the sport?
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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.