MLB The Show 21

released on Apr 20, 2021

Own the show!
Experience faster, deeper and more intense moment-to-moment match action on the field, with a variety of game modes for all you rookie players and returning seasoned vets.


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was a fun experience for the first iteration of diamond dynasty ive played but i sucked


Diamond Dynasty is leaps and bounds better than modes like Ultimate Team in the EA sports games.


only mlb game ive played so its good


With how EA has ruined Madden and FIFA and 2K has made NBA 2K a boring series, MLB the Show was a breath of fresh air.


FIRST OVERALL FAVORITE GAME OF 2021

703 hours played - and that's the least amount of hours I've played The Show since MLB The Show 16. Yet I accomplished more with less friction and more efficiently than in any previous year of Diamond Dynasty. Where so many Ultimate Team modes are finding more and more ways to antagonize their players and goad wallets out of pockets, Sony's San Diego Studios have zagged and searched furiously for ways to give the players what they want. Yes, of course, there is the grind of all grinds at the core of MLB The Show, but at the periphery is none of the bullshit, none of the gambling mechanics (packs, sure, but trust me when I say no reasonable person spends a cent on this game's packs and it's designed for that to be the case) and none of the obfuscation.

San Diego Studios has built an incredible baseball sim purely on presentation and gameplay, then built this mode designed entirely around taking advantage of players' nostalgia and desire to watch meters go up while card collections swell in size...only to focus exclusively on how to make those goals more achievable and constant for players. What they're doing should be one of the biggest stories in modern gaming, bucking every trend in its field and garnering unheard of positive sentiment as a result. This has been going on for years now, and has played no small part in how much time I've been willing to give this franchise - 900 hours into both 17 and 18, 800 into both 19 and 20 - year in and year out.

It is the perfect podcast game, it is the perfect barely pay attention and read the news game. You can treat it as a clicker if you want to or an insanely competitive, the best players in the world succeed three out of ten tries online competitive experience if you want to. MLB The Show 21 is the rare game that wants to cater to everyone and for whom reaching everyone is their one and only design goal. I haven't played less and less of this game over the years because I don't want to play it as much as I'm used to or am exhausted by a formula that's only seen slight alterations over the past five years. No, I'm playing the game less because San Diego Studios has made their game more and more accessible, easier for players to set long-term goals for themselves, achieve those goals and then accept that's the end of that year's grind.

Baseball is a beautiful game, and over the past five years The Show has reminded me of that. After several years listing it somewhere in the middle of my lists on this website out of deference to the annual sameness of it all, in a year in which I couldn't decide between two truly exceptional throwback titles, it's finally time to give San Diego Studios and their exceptional sports sim its due as the one game as a service that truly wants nothing more than to satisfy its fanbase no matter the cost to its overall value on an accountant's spreadsheet somewhere. Thanks for everything, SDS. Here's hoping you keep it up into the next generation and beyond.