Baseball season is tantalizingly close. We are just three weeks away from Opening Day, and even closer to MLB The Show 20.
The PlayStation-exclusive baseball franchise is one of the most impressive sports titles on the market, and this year looks like no exception.
With a ton of new features and gameplay mechanics, it can be a little overwhelming to keep up with.
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But don't worry, we've got your back.
Keep reading for the five key things you need to know about MLB The Show 20.
MAKE YOUR CHOICE: Early access comes with three of the editions
Easily the most important thing to know about the game is when you can get it!
While the official release date for MLB The Show 20 is 17 March you can get your hands on the game from 13 March if you just jump online and pre-order a higher edition of the game.
READ MORE: Everything you need to know about MLB The Show 20
The MVP, Digital Deluxe, and Anniversary editions all come with a lot of extras, but those four days of early access are the real bonus!
PROSPECT HUNTING: Real MiLB rosters make your GM job more realistic
Next up is a total game-changer for franchise mode players.
The inclusion of true-to-life minor league rosters makes managing your franchise to the top of baseball not only a more rounded experience but more realistic too.
Now you can trust player names, scouting, and your own farm system knowledge more to find the gems buried in AA ball. Trade with more confidence, and build that World Series caliber roster internally. Or just promote Tim Tebow and have some fun!
No plays off on defense
DIVE: Go for the catch or play it safe?
Fielding is often a forgotten part of baseball games, but this year SIE have continued to focus on the nuances of fielding and improving the gameplay.
Outfielder ability will matter a lot more this year, as there are new first-step mechanics that will separate the great, good, ok, and downright awful. It will be harder for your slugging left fielder to get out of the blocks, while elite center fielders will use a near-perfect first step to track down fly balls.
An extreme catch indicator will allow you to decide if you want to layout for the catch or play it safe and prevent extra bases.
READ MORE: MLB The Show 20 - 5 legends we need in the game
Throws will be trickier too, with smaller accuracy windows for worse fielders. Meanwhile, outfielders will have a "throw home" window that is incredibly tight but will up your chances of making a heroic out.
In short, it will be harder to create outs with the ball in play this year and create a skill gap if you aren't on top of things.
Relocation & rebranding
While a true expansion franchise is not yet available, you can now relocate and rebrand your franchise.
That means you can take baseball back to Montreal or into Las Vegas.
Within Franchise Mode you will be able to begin your team’s rebranding process immediately, or in the offseason once the playoffs are done.
The creator suite is incredibly in-depth. There a lot of options for uniforms, logos, and nicknames. You can also download user-created logos, opening up a myriad of options.
ALL NEW: Brand new mini-game in Diamond Dynasty
A new game mode! Within Diamond Dynasty, Showdown still has an air of mystery around it. A livestream on 7 March will reveal more.
You will be able to draft players, upgrade them, apply perks and then take on the most feared pitchers in the game.
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The description also has echoes of Madden 20’s MUT Draft game mode, where players select one player from a choice of three for 20 rounds before facing off against others.
This mode allows casual players to compete with regulars on a level playing field, and would be a welcome addition to the online play of The Show.