You could say that MLB: The Show’s success can be tied to the popular Road to the Show mode – just look at all of the My Players and Be a Pro options in the sports gaming world that have popped up since Road to the Show first became a thing. Road to the Show helped launch The Show into its current state of baseball dominance, and in this year's MLB 14: The Show, the improvements make the type of impact you want to see in any sports game.
When beginning a new career in Road to the Show, you now have the option of modeling yourself after a current major league player. You will gain their look, stance, pitching motion, accessories; and it’s all customizable to give the player your own personal flair. Attributes will be similar to the chosen player when they entered the minors for the first time. If you want to pitch like Felix Hernandez, then go ahead and get your crown ready.
Once the creation is complete, no longer will an automatic 55 overall and A potential ratings be handed instantly – there is a three game Topps Amateur Showcase where you’re pitted against top draftable talent across the world. Your performance will determine ratings and potential. Not happy with the way you performed? You can choose to go back to school for another year and repeat the process. You get a slight boost in ratings, but you’re a year older which could negatively impact your position on draft boards. It also adds the possibility of creating your own personally rivalry with another prospect -- keep an eye on who you're playing with and against.
Probably the best improvement in the mode is that the in-game goals have been removed. No more bogus, unreachable goals to curb your progression and entertainment. Now, as both a position player and pitcher, you’re evaluated situationally on each at-bat. It’s a development tool in itself as you truly can learn from your mistakes. The immersion factor has increased even more. On top of that, you’re also being compared to the talent within your current organization, not all of the minor leaguers out there. If you end up in the Rockies organization as a top-shelf pitching prospect, get ready to pack your bags for AAA ball after a handful of competent outings. If you’re a catcher in the Cardinals organization, you might find it a bit easier to request a trade since Yadier Molina won’t be leaving anytime soon.
To touch more on the immersion factor, Road to the Show can really bring out your emotions -- something tough to do when playing a sports game solo. Specifically as a pitcher, you’ll feel how frustrating it can get when you give up a bloop or if your shortstop throws it into the dugout. Anger can set in when there’s a no-no going into the seventh inning and one hit barely gets into the outfield can bring your manager out to bring on the bullpen. But on the other end, seeing your third baseman make a diving stop and impressive throw will make you smile and want to give him a virtual high five. Every situation is different. This game can be played for days. And don’t forget, you can take your career with you wherever you go.
Road to the Show has always arguably been the top mode in any sports game, and this year SCEA has taken it ten steps further. With the new progression and situational grades, realism has never been so apparent. If you haven’t started your career yet, what are you waiting for?
What position and what organization are you playing in Road to the Show? Share your stories below in the comments!