The Super Mega Baseball series from Metalhead Software has always taken a different approach to America’s pastime. While the name and visuals suggest an arcade style of play, the series packs a surprising amount of depth in its simulation. It’s not MLB The Show levels of depth, but it’s damn close and it manages to package it with the style and humor that the series is known for.
I’m familiar with the Super Mega Baseball franchise, and I’m happy to say that the third installment keeps all of what made the first two so fun while making significant additions to the gameplay and the game modes. Don’t let the cartoony character models or silly player names fool you. There is a fun baseball simulator here with a ton of customization options. This includes an incredibly deep team logo customizing tool. Also the uniforms, the players, their names, their caps, etc.
However, the biggest example of customization is the Ego meter. Just like the previous installments, the Ego meter is basically the difficulty. This goes from 0 to 99 and can be adjusted as a whole or individually for hitting, pitching, fielding, and base running. This allows an overwhelming amount of control over the gameplay and ensures a difficulty level for virtually any baseball fan. But beware, set it to 99 and prepare to have your ass handed to you.
The most important aspect of any game is the gameplay, and Super Mega Baseball is a joy to play. It’s the kind of baseball game that feels natural to play right away. That’s not to say it’s easy. In fact, it can be insanely difficult with the wrong Ego setting. But once you find your Ego sweet spot, the pitching, hitting, and fielding just feels right. Each player has different strengths and abilities. For example, a starting pitcher may have 4 or 5 pitches that he or she can throw with precision, while your closer may only have two power pitches. But when you only need to get a couple of players out at the end of the game, an overpowering fastball is always gonna be the best way to go. In addition, a power pitch and power hit is available, but your timing has to be just right. Whether you’re pitching or hitting, your players are always gonna be better at some things than they are at others. So keep an eye on your player’s strengths and weaknesses and beware of the dreaded slump.
While the Ego meter is similar to the last installment, one welcomed change is the base-stealing mechanic. Instead of the baserunner taking off at the pitch, now the runner will take off just as you press the button. Take off too soon and you’ll find yourself in a pickle. Wait too long and a decent catcher will gun you down. To defend this blatant base thievery, you have a new pick-off move as the pitcher. It’s easy to perform with just a press of the directional pad that corresponds with base, but the baserunner automatically returns safely to the base unless they were trying to steal. It’s a cool feature if you happen to guess when the baserunner is going to attempt a steal, but I don’t believe it’s possible to catch a baserunner napping or taking too big of a lead.
They are plenty more additions and tweaks to the gameplay, such as pass balls and wild pitches, but my favorite new addition is the franchise mode. Exhibition, Season, and Pennant Chase are still here, but the multi-season franchise mode is a great addition to the series and my preferred way to play the game. The focus here is still the play on the field, but I like getting attached to my players. I mean, I will still cut their ass if they aren’t performing, ’cause it’s a business after all. Speaking of cutting players, it’s weird that there isn’t a trade option, but there is a large pool of free-agent players that you can sign if you can fit the player’s salary demands under your salary cap. You can focus on the young cheaper players and hope they improve with experience, or if your team is playing well, you might want to cut one of the bottom feeders on the roster and sign a big-time player to push you over the top. It’s not real money so go crazy!
The Franchise mode also features some fun player development opportunities after the games, as well. Whether that’s some black market supplements, some basic acupuncture, or a date with a celebrity, for a price you can pay for a chance at a small increase to a player’s stats. And as I alluded to before, you can’t take fake video game money with you when you die, so spend away!
If you have a family member to play with, you can now control two teams in the Pennant chase or tournament mode. So each player controls his team vs the CPU, and if you both advance, prepare for a family feud when you play against each other. There is online play of course, which works as you’d expect.
My favorite part of any baseball game, going way back to the Bases Loaded series is the fielding. Any opportunity to relive my Little League shortstop days is one I can’t pass up, and Super Mega Baseball 3 is a blast to play defense. If you want to turn a double play or gun down a player trying to stretch a double into a triple, you better not hesitate. There is no arcadey fireball throw powerups or superhuman acts here, but rather just a smooth baseball game that walks the tightrope of fast-paced accessible gameplay with enough customization to keep you playing for hours and hours. In my case, probably until Super Mega Baseball 4 comes out. I played and enjoyed the second installment in the Super Mega Baseball franchise, and this is better in every way. If you like baseball or if you are just looking for any type of sports on your TV right now, you can’t really go wrong with Super Mega Baseball 3.
Super Mega Baseball 3 PS4 Review
- Overall - Must Buy - 9/109/10
When it comes to sports videogames, I've never liked the arcade-style ones with over the top gameplay and superhuman displays of strength. At first glance, that is exactly what the Super Mega Baseball franchise delivers, but once you start playing, you'll see that it's actually a deep baseball simulator with smooth gameplay and a metric ton of customization options. Super Mega Baseball 3 is better than its predecessors and they were a lot of fun. Despite the silly aesthetics, Super Mega Baseball 3 is not just a good baseball game, it's my favorite baseball series going right now.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.