Conquest adds a lot to MLB The Show 16 but drags near the end

Posted April 11th, 2016 at 12:30 pm


Last year Diamond Dynasty really came into its own as arguably the best of the team-building modes within the sports gaming genre. What it lacked was variety – both in team construction and methods of play – and those issues have been tackled well with MLB The Show 16.

The most popular way to play right now based on the results of multiple polls is against the CPU. That comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the always-connected mode was built on head-to-head online competition. However Conquest has proved especially compelling, offering up three inning games that prove to be satisfying and tons of unlocks that are beneficial to reaching goals both inside and out of Diamond Dynasty.

The key to Conquest being a success is that it has provided meaning to games that had little in the past. There’s something on the line when playing them and because of that it almost has a “Franchise” feel to it. Users are being rewarded for investing time through XP, Stubs, Tickets, Missions, post-game card drops, and eventually a prize at the end of more XP and Stubs plus a 10 pack bundle which has a value of $10 to it.

Setting aside the server slowdown issues that have caused the game to crawl at times – and it has significantly hampered the mode making it simply unplayable at times – there’s a consistency to a single-player mode that isn’t there with the online side of things. The desired pace can be achieved and appropriate difficulty level met, while teams are continually being improved in the process through completion of the missions and other team transactions.

Conquest though was initially confusing to many at the outset and that’s the main stumbling block it has faced besides the server trouble. There wasn’t much in the way of guidance on how to approach it strategically or how to properly advance in the mode.

Beyond that it just got very old by the end playing the same few teams and being the road team in nearly every game. I’d estimate well over half of the games I played total were against the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Astros and they were all that I saw as the mode started to reach the the finish line. The CPU also didn’t handle the shortened games all that well, with the bullpen management lacking. It’s as though they recognized the reduced stamina levels but not that the third inning should be treated as though it was the ninth.

Whether Conquest returns next year or a new single-player experience debuts within Diamond Dynasty, what it has shown this year is that a compelling campaign against the CPU can greatly enhance a team-building mode and potentially appeal to an audience that otherwise may have spent their time (and money) elsewhere.