PlayStation Studios’ 2023 edition of MLB “The Show” offers many new features for the diehard fan of the series’ Diamond Dynasty mode, be it the reimplementation of Team Affinity programs or the return of Captains to boost your themed squads. One feature that has dominated the discussion before the March 24th release date, however. The addition of The Negro Leagues storyline mode promised fans the opportunity to play as and learn about some of Leagues’ most notable stars, but is it worth the hype?
Well, I suppose it depends on whether you play the Diamond Dynasty game mode. If you’re more inclined toward “The Show”’s single player modes such as Franchise or Road to the Show, these storylines will provide an enjoyable, if rather gameplay-shallow, look into eight Negro Leagues Icons: Satchel Paige, Hilton Smith, Rube Foster, Hank Thompson, Buck O’Neil, Jackie Robinson, John Donaldson, and Martin Dihigo.
A Diamond Dynasty player will find this mode holds another dimension, however. After completing each player’s storyline, composed of 8 to 9 episodes of gameplay challenges and intermittent video segments, the game rewards the player with a 90-rated Diamond Dynasty version of the player in question with a 95-rated Captain Buck O’Neill card awarded after completing all storylines.
Without the aforementioned video segments, this mode would be little more than the Milestones that have been present in Diamond Dynasty for years. In this sense, it is extremely fortunate that these videos are of such a high quality and can be recapped at any time after completion. The presence of Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, is massive in providing each of these videos with charismatic enthusiasm. The full videos range in length, with Hilton Smith’s segment clocking in just under five minutes as the shortest while Leroy “Satchel” Paige features in multiple videos, with his own clocking in a second under the nine minute mark. That is not to say that they fluctuate in quality, but each segment is colorfully illustrated and animated throughout.
To conclude, MLB “The Show 23″’s Negro League storylines provide an entertaining and informative, but rather shallow insight into 8 stars of the Negro Leagues. While I can say I learned something about each of these players (for example, how Rube Foster taught the notorious “fadeaway” pitch to Christy Mathewson), the feature fails to add much gameplay-wise to this year’s offering from PlayStation Studios.