Parents' Guide to

MLB The Show 23

By Jeff Haynes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

New mode brings fantastic historical focus on pastime.

Cover of MLB The Show 23 with Miami Marlins second baseman/shortstop Jazz Chisholm as the cover athlete.

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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age 2+

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While much of this year's installment may feel like a minor update, the new Storylines mode infuses this game with a fresh perspective, an infusion of history, and a spotlight on legendary athletes. MLB The Show 23's newest mode highlights the lives of eight athletes from the Negro Leagues whose play had massive impacts on and off the field of baseball. Of course, you expect to find Jackie Robinson to be included in Season one as the trailblazer that destroyed MLB's color line, and he's rightfully included. But other heavyweights, such as Satchel Paige and Buck O'Neil get their time to shine as well, alongside figures that aren't as widely known, such as Rube Foster. The presentation, which is beautifully narrated by Bob Kendrick with a mix of video clips, animated screens, and splashy visuals, instills both a sense of respect and admiration for these men's accomplishments, and the growth of the game in general. It's hard not to learn something about the sport itself, such as Satchel Paige aiming his pitches with a chewing gum wrapper on home plate, or the impact of Martin Dihigo as a true five-way player. While the first season of this mode is pitcher heavy (five of the eight players are hurlers), this is a great demonstration of how to give a history lesson for a baseball game or any sports game, and leaves open the possibility for future seasons to cover other stars, potentially even expanding to players from countries. Hopefully more of these will be released over the course of this year instead of having to wait till next year for the next installment.

It's also great that completing this mode gives players a solid base for their Diamond Dynasty team, giving them a head start without opening a single pack in the game. These players also highlight the new Captain mechanic, which can boost the batting power and pitching performance of your team significantly. Not only does it lean into the idea that some players could elevate their own play, but they could raise the level of their teammates during key games. It's a concept that feels so natural to the game, it's hard to believe that it hadn't been included before, and it makes you more of a contender to complete game programs and get better rewards by playing games in any mode. The same could be said about supercharged cards to reflect the performance of current players on the field during the 2023 season. Watching a player get on a hot streak and see that reflected in boosted stats is something that feels like a no-brainer, but its inclusion in the game just feels right. If anything, the biggest knock against The Show 23 is that there's not a huge amount of enhancement to the other modes for this year's game. Now, much of last year's game wasn't flawed, so this is a case of cleaning up items that the developers didn't get to. Adding a dynamic throwing meter is nice, boosting the created stadium option pieces is a plus, and refining other elements of play are good, but these are somewhat expected when it comes to a yearly installment. If you were looking for a massive leap forward with Road to the Show, Franchise mode, or Diamond Dynasty, you're out of luck, because these are mainly the same as they've been for a while. But that's fine when the Storylines mode for MLB The Show 23 not only provides a solid foundation for baseball games and sports games in general, it lays a blueprint for where this franchise could go in the future.

Game Details

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