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MLB The Show 18 promises improvement in its weakest area: the broadcast

Analysts have recorded dialogue together to make games more lifelike

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

PlayStation’s MLB The Show franchise has, for more than a decade, been one of the most consistently praised titles in sports video gaming. It still has blind spots, and broadcast presentation has been a big one compared to peers licensed by the other big leagues. This latest video from Sony San Diego says the game is shoring that up with new elements.

Mark DeRosa, the former pro and current analyst on MLB Network’s MLB Central morning recap show, joins the MLB The Show 18 broadcast. More importantly, according to this trailer he recorded some of his dialogue alongside booth partners Matt Vasgersian and Dan Plesac (who are also MLB Network personalities). In other words, he didn’t just go into a booth and recite lines by himself. 2K Sports made this a priority in its broadcast presentation a generation ago, and EA Sports’ Madden NFL has done it since 2012. MLB The Show, it seems, has finally caught on.

That pushes out Harold Reynolds after just one year on the call. The 20-year veteran of baseball broadcasting debuted in MLB The Show 17 last year but seemed just as disconnected from the action on the field as previous Show analysts Steve Lyons, Dave Campbell, Eric Karros and Rex Hudler. Everyone in this virtual booth has, through no fault of their own, sounded canned. It’s just how the game has continued to serve commentary in a last-gen way.

So maybe that changes with MLB The Show 18. We get a lot of expansive dialogue in this trailer. And while it’s an atmospheric detail, crowd size — and reaction — is still most apparent in a game that’s trying to realistically present the story of a 162-game season where, let’s face it, the stands aren’t always packed and people aren’t always paying attention.

MLB The Show 18 launches March 27 on PlayStation 4. It’ll probably be a good game again, considering how enjoyable its previous versions have been (and the fact it’s the only full fledged baseball sim on a console). That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, and it’s good to see Sony San Diego working on that, and making the national pastime’s video game more conversational and true to life.

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