With MLB The Show 21 coming to Microsoft platforms for the first time ever, there’s lots of folks like myself getting acquainted with it for the first time. After choosing your favorite team, the game will walk you through the process of choosing various controller settings and let me tell you, they’re a bit hard to parse until you get your hands on each and every one of them. This can take upwards of 20 minutes if you’re really trying to get a handle on things and pick the right one for you. Sure you can change it later, but why not just get it right the first time? In this guide, we’ll be walking you through what each of the hitting control settings actually mean and explain the benefits of each.
MLB The Show Hitting Controls
We mention this in the Pure Analog section but our number one tip is go for normal swings at least 90 percent of the time. Don’t get cute as your main focus should just be to get on base. Power swings will destroy your accuracy unless the pitch is right in your sweet spot. Contact hitting will get you hits, but the power rating will plummet, oftentimes leaving you with an infield grounder.
Pure Analog Hitting
If flicking the stick to hit an incoming pitch is what you like, Pure Analog hitting is what you’re looking for. All a normal swing requires is for you to flick the right stick forward at the right time. You can control which direction you’re swinging forward by flicking slightly to the left or to the right. If you flick directly left or right, you’ll make a contact swing in an attempt to simply hit the ball. A power swing can be achieved by quickly flicking the stick back and then forwards in a swing for the fences.
Keep in mind that power swings and contact swings are for specific situations and you should be using normal swings most of the time. Unless you’re ahead and you know the pitch is going to be right in your sweet spot, maybe don’t go with a power swing every time. Contact is great if you’re behind in the count and just need to avoid striking out.
Recommended for: The most natural feeling hitting experience.
If you’d rather push a button than flick a stick, that’s where directional hitting comes in. (Though it is worth noting you can swap over to analog controls with Directional Hitting if you prefer that). With this control setting you simply hit X for a normal swing, circle for a contact swing, or square for a power swing. Before swinging though, you can use the left stick to influence what type of result you get. Pushing forward makes it more likely you’ll hit a fly ball. Pushing down will likely result in a ground ball. You can also push it left or right to influence which direction you’re trying to hit the ball towards.
Recommended for: The easiest experience.
For the most challenging and authentic experience, Zone Hitting is what you want. With this you have to manually track the ball as it comes toward you and keep the zone over it. Do so and you’ll make contact with the ball assuming you swing on time. This is easily the most difficult as you can’t just focus on the timing of your hit. Depending on how good your batter is, the zone will be bigger or smaller, creating a sense of skill as you play.
Recommended for: An authentic, albeit difficult, experience.