As spring training begins to wind down, and the World Baseball Classic heads towards its championship round (go USA!), the MLB baseball season looms ever closer, and with it comes San Diego Studio’s highly anticipated MLB: The Show 17. We’re now just over a week from launch, and while we’ve covered certain aspects of the game, today we’re going to preview the revamped Road to the Show game mode, which has now added some very deep role-playing elements to give players the feeling of what it takes to actually get to The Show.
MLB: The Show 17 is going to have the usual stellar gameplay and graphical wonderment that have defined the series since its inception. That’s a given. And while I called 2015’s game the best sports RPG on the market, Sony and San Diego Studio set out to prove me wrong, by taking the RTTS mode and rebuilding it. They’ve added conversation trees, and more interactions with coaches, GMs, agents, and teammates, in what is being called “Pave Your Path.” The mode is presented in a documentary style, with a narrator, who will document your career every step of the way. This is a fantastic addition. No longer will the story of a player’s rise to possible superstardom be told in a series of emails sent to the player’s inbox.
MLB: The Show 17 promises to take the player on a journey; a personal journey that will be based off player skill, and decisions made in the locker room from conversations, interactions, and by actually playing the game. In the past, getting to the show always felt a little too easy. And if a player hit a rough patch in their development, they could always spend real money on Stubs to buy skill points for upgrades to get their in-game player over the hump. This has always proven the way to go for impatient people, but baseball fans — true baseball fans — are ingrained with patience.
Look at Cubs fans. They had to wait 108 years between championships, and the true fans never gave up hope. As a lifelong Seattle Mariner fan myself, I get that frustration, and my patience often wears thin at the prospect of another “wait ’til next year,” which for us usually happens in late June or early July. Patience is the key to success in the Road to the Show; patience at the plate, in the training, and in the overall development.
The greatest thing about MLB: The Show is the realism that it tries — and so often succeeds — to capture. And it is realistic to earn your way to camp in spring. You earn your way into an organization’s AA or AAA teams based on how well you play, not how many stubs you pay. That makes the eventual — if you’re good enough — debut on the major league roster that much sweeter. I will never forget my first call up, my first major league home run, or my first post season and eventual World Series crown.
And all of this from a video game. Check out the video below for more on the true RPG-like Pave Your Path feature in the Road to the Show game mode.
That goes to show why MLB: The Show is so beloved by fans, and why the fact that San Diego Studio has given so much attention to the role playing aspects in MLB: The Show 17 is such a big deal. Will it deliver on the promises made? Time will tell, but if the past is truly prologue, I’d say all signs point to a happy fanbase on March 28.
Stay tuned for more coverage of MLB: The Show 17 and our official review in the coming weeks. Check out all the cool versions and preorder bonuses available for pre-order now, and that amazing Ken Griffey, Jr. cover!
MLB: The Show 17 is available exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and will release on March 28, 2017.