MLB The Show 22 is less than a month away from bringing their baseball simulation franchise another step forward from last year’s release, and that means there will be a flurry of upgrades as always to improve on every aspect of the game.
While many of the MLB The Show 22 game modes will get attention, it’s the title’s core gameplay that is most important. As revealed through their latest in-depth Feature Premiere, we’re breaking down all the changes to hitting, pitching, and fielding as explained by developer San Diego Studio.
Custom Practice levels up with addition of fielding in MLB The Show 22
Last year, MLB The Show 21 pushed Custom Practice forward by giving players all new levels of control in order to improve your hitting and pitching. This year, MLB The Show 22 will be adding fielding to Custom Practice for the first time.
As seen above, the new Fielding Practice feature will allow you to pinpoint an exact scenario as if it were taking place in an actual game. You’ll be able to Player Lock to practice with a specific player, and players will even be able to set the hit to repeat so that they can keep practicing the same moment until they get the fielding right.
Once a play is being practiced, you’ll also have the option to Repeat Hit, and this will give you an identical batting outcome. This is especially useful if you want to practice robbing home runs at the wall, as you can then constantly repeat that hit until you get the timing right. As developers explained in the Feature Premiere, many of these Custom Practice features are actually tools they use to test the game that have been adapted so players can use them as well.
Custom Practice is there for players to improve their skill, but developers have also added even more lower level difficulty options this year. Amateur and Minors are new difficulty options that exist between Beginner and Rookie, and these will help new players slowly work their way up to harder difficulties. This is especially true if you take advantage of this year’s improved Dynamic Difficulty, as that will adjust the difficulty based on your performance.
Hitting and Pitching add Dynamic PCI, PCI Anchor, and Dynamic PAR
When it comes to pure hitting and pitching in MLB The Show 22, there are a few major changes coming along that should make a big difference for both seasoned and inexperienced players. The PCI, or Plate Coverage Indicator, is an overlay when hitting that represents where your player is looking and aiming their swing.
This year, Dynamic PCI has created a major shift by causing the actual PCI overlay to shrink or expand based on where it’s being positioned. This illustrates how accuracy changes when swinging at low pitches, high pitches, or those inside or outside of the strike zone.
In addition, they’ve paired it with the new PCI Anchor feature this year. This allows players to choose one of nine locations on a central grid prior to the pitch, and from there you’ll have more precision anchored from a specific location in the strike zone. From the anchor point, the movement will then become more sensitive, allowing players to more easily adjust to other areas of the strike zone if needed.
Finally, pitching has added Dynamic PAR following the introduction of that core feature last year. PAR, or Perfect Accuracy Region, appears like a shadow around where your pitcher is aiming to show where that ball could be placed for a perfectly executed pitch. With Dynamic PAR, that visual representation will now expand when throwing pitches in areas where they don’t normally belong.
This is a huge boon for new players, as they can be less likely to know details about which kinds of pitches belong in which areas of the strike zone. As a result, you’ll see the Dynamic PAR expand to tip the user off about that particular pitch being more effective in a different part of the strike zone. This addition should help all players become more seasoned pitchers in MLB The Show 22.
Fielding adds perfect throws for every base along with new animations
San Diego Studio introduced a new perfect throw mechanic for fielding in MLB The Show 21, but it was specific only to outfielders and throws to home plate. This year, they’ve taken that feature and expanded it in MLB The Show 22 to be available for all throws from all players.
When fielding a ball in MLB The Show 22, players will have a timing mechanic where placing the cursor perfectly dead center for this will trigger a perfect throw. However, they’ve made pre-loading throws even more important this year. Pre-loading means executing that throw mechanic before your fielder even has the ball, and as a result players will be more likely to get better animations for that throw compared to waiting to execute a perfect throw the moment the ball reaches your player.
Developers explained in the Feature Premiere that multiple fielding animations have been added this year, and one big change is that a given player’s Arm Accuracy stat will actually affect the animations they have access to. Players with poor Arm Accuracy will be more likely to have standard throwing animations that take a hair longer to execute, and by comparison players with high Arm Accuracy ratings will be more likely to trigger difficult animations that can give you a split second edge.
That final change will play a big role in Diamond Dynasty and how player choose to build their squads for online play. In the past, Arm Accuracy was a much less crucial stat, but having it affect animations could significantly alter the playing field. It also means that gamers who struggle with fielding may want to lean on using players with higher Arm Accuracy.
All of these changes will make a difference in the actual gameplay of MLB The Show 22 when it is released in April, but developers took some time to stress where these decisions come from. As they showcased early on in the stream, data from thousands of games played in MLB The Show 21 is used in tandem with community feedback to determine how they can continue to improve and make this year’s game the most accurate simulation yet.