I don’t play sports simulation games like a normal person. I’m a pervert edge case. I oscillate between taking control of my favorite team on the field or court and simulating it from the sidelines — i.e. managing the basics but having the computer play the actual games. I’m not sure how I’d have time to get through seasons in franchise mode without doing things this way. I also do this with the NBA 2K series and would do it with other franchises if EA wasn’t regressing in this particular area with its sports games.
This is the first year Sony’s vaunted baseball franchise has appeared on Nintendo Switch. Last year, the series made its debut on Xbox, eschewing console exclusivity for a much bigger slice of the market. I picked up MLB The Show 22 on Xbox via publisher-provided code, but would’ve picked it up anyway given its status on Xbox Game Pass. On a whim, I also grabbed it on Switch, hoping the game would run well enough on the hybrid console that it would satisfy my sports sim cravings on the go. I didn’t even know about the game’s best feature at the time: it is fully cross-save.
That means I can play MLB The Show 22 on my Xbox Series X where it runs at a comfy 60fps and looks pretty good, upload my save to the cloud, then download the cloud save to my Nintendo Switch version and reverse the process when I’m ready to go back to my home office setup. And how does the Switch version play?
Listen, the game looks like you’re looking at it from a shallow pool while panning for gold, an aesthetic you’re used to if you tried to play The Witcher 3 on Switch for a prolonged period of time for some reason. It also runs at 30fps if you’re lucky. Lots of little hiccups are there, but gosh it’s a compelling game of licensed baseball on the Switch! Beggars, choosers, etc. And yes, Super Mega Baseball 3 exists and plays well on Switch, but it lacks the bells and whistles of Sony’s polished product. It’s the connectivity between platforms that really sets The Show apart on Switch, something no other major sports game (in my recollection) can offer, not even Super Mega Baseball 3.
When you’re faced with playing 162 games of a Major League Baseball season or 82 games of a National Basketball Association season or hell even 17 games in the National Football League, the prospect of doing it all without taking it on the go at times is daunting! Since NBA 2K came to switch for the first time, I’ve actually been able to play/sim multiple seasons and see real progress with the teams I’ve put together. That’s really satisfying! The problem with cross-save for NBA 2K22 is the Nintendo Switch version is technically a last-gen version of the game and the this-gen consoles (Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5) are getting a different version of the game altogether. That makes it difficult (perhaps impossible) to really deliver the kind of experience MLB The Show 22 is providing this year. It’s the same game no matter where you play it, it just looks and performs worse on Nintendo’s handheld.
It’s quietly impressive, and a big reason I’d recommend getting the game on Xbox (especially if you’re a Game Pass subscriber) and Switch this year.
Who isn’t MLB The Show 22 on Nintendo Switch for, you might ask? If you like to play these games in online head-to-head, skip it. Play on Xbox or PlayStation. You’ll be a massive disadvantage if you play from Switch against someone on a more advanced platform. If that doesn’t bother you, go ahead, but it’ll be like playing against a team entirely comprised of Shohei Ohtanis if you do this.
I hope sports sim makers take note of how easy Sony San Diego has made cross-save work in The Show. It’s the only way I’ll ever see the full breadth of franchise content of these massive sports games.
If you’re playing MLB The Show 22 and need some pointers, please check out our guides and other coverage.