A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Play promotes competition, sporting behavior, and the rules of baseball. Even being negative to rival players in Road to the Show can become a positive motivator for athletes.
Positive Role Models
Game features pro players, so if they're a role model in real life, it can be argued that they're a role model in game. The ability to pick negative, self-focused options, including starting rivalries with opposing teams, is available for players. These can be manipulated into advantages for you and your teammates.
Ease of Play
Game features simple controls. It also offers multiple control options, tutorials, and practice sessions, as well as lots of personalized sliders. It still takes lots of practice to fully master gameplay, especially against other players. The new timing meters can be challenging to successfully hit regardless of difficulty level. Higher difficulty levels can challenge series vets.
Violence & Scariness
While pitchers and batters can get hit by balls, players tend to shake those injuries off without any blood or gore shown.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Players could be exposed to inappropriate comments through unmoderated multiplayer.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Game features loads of promotion for Topps, Bowman, Under Armor, Major League Baseball, other brands in stadiums. Buying game packs is mainly for Diamond Dynasty mode, through cash or tokens earned in-game. Players aren't pushed to buy these packs, but it's easier to get a head start by paying. Latest installment in long-running baseball franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that MLB The Show 20 is the latest installment in the baseball simulation franchise that's exclusively for the PlayStation 4. Players get the option to select multiple gameplay modes, such as playing through shortened seasons, classic moments in baseball, and bringing a created player from the minor leagues to the major leagues. The Show 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. Similarly, some of the new meters can still be hard to pull off regardless of difficulty level, although these are optional during gameplay. No inappropriate content is included, 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, stadiums, and other extras, can be purchased with real money or earned by playing through sessions in every game mode. Players could potentially be exposed to inappropriate comments in online games because they're unmoderated.
Is It Any Good?
This year's chapter of baseball gets you as close as possible to the game without sitting in a stadium. MLB The Show 20 is the sharpest-looking baseball game ever, as players look closer to their real counterparts than ever before, and for the first time, real minor league rosters are included, making the journey of athletes from minors to majors more believable. Similarly, tweaks to the fielding and batting system just feel right. You can't rely on your outfielders making mad dashes and snagging fly balls. Now, if you don't make a good first step in the right direction, you're going to give your opponent extra bases. Even better is the new Perfect Perfect batting system, which gauges your timing and aim on a pitch. When your timing is just right, the ball soars through the air from the whip crack of the bat. It doesn't guarantee that this ball will be a home run, but it sure gives you a jolt of excitement when your player drives the ball during a key moment. Speaking of key moments, the new Showdown mode takes this concept and raises it to a tense fever pitch, becoming easily one of the most engaging modes that The Show, and arguably many sports games, has had in years. Draft a team from a handful of players and choose a set of perks to enhance your squad. From there, play through scenarios, like avoiding strikeouts or getting on base a certain number of times. Failing gives you no help, while successfully completing these tasks lets you draft additional players, and gives you points toward a Showdown against an ace pitcher from a major league team. Here, you receive a set of outs (like 15 or 20) as you try to score more points off this hurler than his team has. Win, and you can continue for additional prizes, but fail, and you have to start over from the beginning. Considering that some showdowns cost in-game currency to enter, each at-bat feels vital and important, every swing and pitch exciting.
All of this being said, some elements should be sent back to the minors. For instance, the preload pitch timing meter is supposed to capture the split-second decisions and reactions necessary to make throws, but it fills up way too quickly, resulting in far too many wild throws, even with practice. If you're looking for extra challenge, you can turn it on, but it's much better if you leave this feature in the dugout. Another issue: Some sections just feel stale. While Road to the Show has tweaked the relationship features between teammates and rivals, the "story" of your created player has been the same for years now, and Show veterans know the sequence of plot cutscenes in their sleep. Similarly, the booth commentary feels stale and outdated, using many of the same phrases in a series of games, so on-the-field action doesn't seem that dynamic. But overall, MLB The Show 20 is still full of great features that will easily rally baseball fans to cheer for its gameplay.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.