Super Mega Baseball 3 PC Review
It’s common for most indie sports games to be overshadowed by the triple A titles, but in 2018 Super Mega Baseball 2 knocked it out of the park for baseball fans everywhere. Just over two years later, Metalhead Software are back with Super Mega Baseball 3 bringing with it new ways to play the game, enhanced graphics and new in-game systems.
Super Mega Baseball 3 isn’t just for baseball fans; this latest iteration entices new players in with its unique arcade style and easy to learn, hard to master controls. With a great tutorial you can return to at any time, even mid game, you will quickly understand the basic gameplay, techniques and even discover some of the more advanced moves like stealing or bunting. It would be a good recommendation to read up on some baseball terms and techniques because phrases like “infield fly” or “pitchout” are not defined in the tutorial. The game tests your reaction times as you step up to hit one out of the park or attempt to strike your opponent out with a well placed throw. With a brilliantly made control scheme this is a sports game like no other allowing for a more realistic feel so you aren’t relying on the computer to assist you and everything you do is down to pure skill.
With most sports games the replayability factor is vital to ensure that the often hefty price tag is worth it. This can be difficult because most of the time you’re just doing the same few actions over and over. Super Mega Baseball 3 added a new franchise mode to introduce more off pitch activities as well as throwing you into the action on the pitch with your team. Even though it is a nice addition to the game that we haven’t seen before, Franchise mode itself left a lot to be desired.
Disappointingly there wasn’t that much depth to it, for example, to sign new players they had to be on a free agent meaning you can’t sign players from other teams. All you need is to have enough funds to sign them and then click on them…not all that exciting. You can continue to develop players and throughout the years they will get better then eventually retire; I was hoping for something a little more interesting such as discussing the wage of players or being able to talk to players when they’re tense to get them pumped up for the next game. This is a welcome addition to the game but there was a missed potential for a little more depth added that would keep players invested for much longer and made the process more realistic.
Metalhead Software have changed the way I believe sports games should be made with their unique Pressure and Mojo mechanics. When you step up to bat, you only need one more run to win it all and the pressure is extreme, the Pressure mechanic changes your stats for better or worse depending on your Mojo status. Your Mojo is how well you’re doing during the game so if you aren’t doing too well it will affect your stats in a negative way; the same applies for if you’re doing well.
Despite this being a cool idea it can cause a snowball effect, for example, if your pitcher is tense their skill will decline and the opposing players will get better in response making it harder to come back when your team is behind especially with the Pressure system working against you. Even though I believe these mechanics have their problems I think they make for a much more dynamic game and would love to see more sports games implement them but hopefully with a few tweaks or maybe introducing a comeback mechanic to give you a chance to come back when losing.
A lot of sports games have difficulty levels but sometimes the jump between medium and hard can be a bit too much. With this game this isn’t a problem because there are 100 levels of difficulty and when testing they all seemed to make at least a small impact on the game with each increase. The difficulty level changes how much you have to do on the field so the higher the difficulty the harder it will be to catch and throw balls. Unfortunately I found at higher difficulties the controls got clunkier. This means that instead of just being harder because the batters were more skilled it was harder because balls were rolling through my hand or when catching a ball three people would run at it and it would eventually fall through the middle of all of them.
The arcade style of Super Mega Baseball 3 gives it a unique and humorous appeal, from literally groin grabbing victory poses to dabbing your way to victory. They have even included a point system which allows you to challenge friends and others across the globe for the highest score when playing against the CPU. Unfortunately the game got repetitive pretty fast for me. Having a friend to play with/against will definitely make the enjoyment of the game last longer but I wouldn’t see myself doing anymore than two seasons overall. Because of the nature of baseball there are few things that you can learn to make the game easier when in other sports games you have skill moves or different ways to score a point but in this it’s hitting the ball over and over. If you’re a big fan of baseball you will enjoy playing around with the extensive customisation system the game offers. From editing the team logo to the colour of your team’s jersey you will be able to recreate your favourite MLB team or start a new story with your very own squad.
A lot of sports games can take inspiration from some of the good things Super Mega Baseball 3 offers and I hope that Metalhead Software can steal some good ideas for the training and management side of the sport from other games for Super Mega Baseball 4. Adding franchise mode was definitely a step in the right direction and hopefully it will be a fully fleshed out experience by the time they release the next game in the series. I would also love to see their interpretation of other sports games with the same arcade style and unique mechanics in the future.