The new baseball game MLB The Show 21 was recently released on April 20th and for those with the Jackie Robinson Edition, they have had early access since April 16th. San Diego Studio and Sony Interactive Entertainment really put a lot of effort in making this title above and beyond previous iterations, as it is the first one in the series to be released on multiple consoles as well as the first to be on next-gen consoles. While many improvements have been made, and the series is still one that I love, I thought I’d take a look at 4 problems needing to be fixed in MLB The Show 21.
As mentioned previously, I have historically been someone who doesn’t play online, but with recently getting PS Plus, I have been trying to explore and expand the types of modes I find myself playing. While it has been a blast getting to play with my friends, I have found that there have been a plethora of issues we have all experienced.
Furthermore, I know we are not the only ones to experience these problems as message boards, and places like Reddit, are filled with comments from gamers who have experienced the same problems. Some of these issues appear to stem from the influx of users who are playing on Microsoft platforms for the first time. Others may stem from the studio’s desire to really make this a noteworthy release but having certain performance aspects fall through the cracks.
I feel the need to note that despite its flaws, I still maintain the notion that this is the best title in the series in a few years. The addition of the ballpark creator (for next-gen consoles) was an addition fans have been clamoring after for quite some time. Adding podcasts highlighting a player’s journey through the Road to the Show mode was another interesting aspect that I thought made the mode feel a bit more immersive. Other new features will be even more admirable once they are remedied.
It must also be noted that it is very possible, even likely, that the developers are already working to solve some of the various issues I list here. With that being said, however, while none of these problems are really capable of “breaking” the game, these are still the biggest 4 problems needing to be rectified in MLB The Show 21 as soon as possible.
1. Fix the Servers, Please
For the love of all that is good in the world, this is by far the biggest issue needing immediately fixed. I think I have been able to play just one exhibition game against a friend that didn’t require us to try at least two, three or more times. While the developers surely planned for the influx of players who would be playing online, it still seems that not enough was done to solidify the servers for cross-gen and cross-platform play.
For those unfamiliar with the issue, I, my friends, (along with most people who have attempted to play The Show online since release) have been hit at least once (or a dozen) times with a message that pops up saying, “unhandled server exception.” These server errors are frequent and often cause lost progress in online modes. For someone like me, trying to explore Diamond Dynasty for the first time, it’s a little hard to get into a new mode that simply does not work.
There are a ton of players out there who are understandably frustrated with not being able to consistently play online, losing their progress, and wins not counting. While nobody expects perfect connection for everybody with such a popular game, it appears that most people are getting disconnected several times a day regardless of when they play.
All the other issues are minor compared to this one, and I would hope that all resources are being devoted to resolving this matter. This iteration in the series has the potential to be even better than it already is, but in order to do so, the persistent server issues need to get fixed as soon as possible.
2. Multiple Loadouts Are Nice… When They Work
Another cool addition that I’ve really enjoyed so far is having your Road to the Show player be a two-way player, playing as both a pitcher as well as batting or playing in the field, just like the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. A new aspect that goes hand in hand with this is the integration of “My Ballplayer” so that your created person can progress and improve their abilities as well as earn rewards, whether they are in Road to the Show or Diamond Dynasty modes.
As a result of this, players can create multiple loadouts to boost their abilities in certain situations. For example, I created a loadout for when my player is pitching to boost his pitching attributes, and I created a separate loadout for when my player is at Second Base to boost his hitting abilities.
While this is a great feature, the trouble comes when switching between loadouts from one start to the next. The Show allows players to play an entire series against an opponent without having to back out to the main screen in between, cutting down on load times and hastening gameplay. However, it appears that even when selecting a different loadout in the midst of a series, it does not take effect and I’ve read where other players have had to completely exit out to the main RTTS menu in order to effectively select the correct loadout.
There were instances that I selected my pitcher loadout and was constantly giving up hits. Other times after a pitching start, when I selected my batting loadout for my next outing, I couldn’t buy myself a hit. At first, I thought it was just my own atrocious capabilities, but I finally discovered that my attributes were not changing along with the loadouts that I picked and were instead staying with the loadout I selected to start the series. While this is more of an inconvenience than anything else, it would still be nice to have this work properly.
3. Where Have My Sounds of the Show Gone?
For those who don’t know, players are able to import their own MP3 files onto The Show so that they can have customized player walkup music, stadium sounds, and cheers and jeers from the crowd. This feature has been around for a while (though it is, unfortunately, unavailable to those on PS5 because of the way the system is set up.) Since I hadn’t messed around with this feature in a few years, I thought I’d give it a try.
I downloaded files set to resemble the music played in real-life for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, as well as some custom chants and fan outbursts. I added everything to my system and spent the time needed to customize every music file and implement the accurate sounds for the correct team, in addition to adding what I wanted for my player.
I was disappointed to find that the next time I logged on, several hours of work had disappeared and the customized music for both teams and my player was gone. After going through and trying it all again once more, the same thing happened again.
While all the cheers and jeers were intact and the complete files were still on the system, all of that which I had marked to be saved under “Music Cues” in the Playlist Editor had disappeared, and I once again was forced to go back, re-edit the music clips, and add them to the correct teams once again.
Luckily for me, I had only wasted a couple of hours trying to get this to work before ultimately giving up. But I know there are players out there who do put in the time and effort to accurately add the real-life music and sounds for all 30 MLB teams. I can only imagine how this error would wear and frustrate a devoted player putting in that time and effort into their Sounds of the Show.
SOTS is a great, beloved feature of the game that adds immersion, accuracy, and even humor, to the experience. Correcting this issue so that players won’t have to waste time or worry about their music being available is one that the developers should really work on fixing soon.
4. Cognizant Equipment?
As players play and progress, they are awarded packs that players can use in DD and RTTS modes. Some of these packs award equipment which players can equip in their loadouts. The equipment, which includes name-brand cleats, bats, gloves, and other items, offers statistical boosts to the player when equipped. Players then can also design what their player looks like at all times.
The issue I experienced with equipment was not related to the stats but was more of an aesthetic error. I attempted to have my player equipped with sunglasses on his head while he plays the field and no glasses while he pitches. Additionally, I have both loadouts set to have batting gloves on both of his hands.
Even though I set my loadouts differently, my own experience has been that each time I start the game, sunglasses are equipped for both of my loadouts and oddly enough, I only have a batting glove on my one hand. Some of my friends have also experienced similar issues with their selections not carrying over when they start. Again, while this is purely an aesthetic issue, it would be nice to have this adjusted so players would not have to constantly update their player’s outfit each time they start up.
What new features do you like about MLB The Show 21? Are there any other issues you are running into with the game? If you want to share your thoughts on your experience with the release so far, feel free to leave a comment below.