Super Mega Baseball is back and quite frankly, it’s a much needed addition to the Xbox One storefront, given the underwhelming recent release of RBI Baseball 18. Baseball games, much like RPG and Japanese titles, remain quite lacking on the Xbox One. Super Mega Baseball 2 may not be the answer to the prayers of the enthusiasts, but it does manage to put forward an accessible, well developed and deep experience nevertheless. Furthermore, if you pick this game up during launch month, you’ll get your hands on this for no cost outside of the price of a Gold Membership subscription. Yes, that’s right, it’s May’s first Games with Gold title.
First and foremost, Super Mega Baseball 2 is an excellent starting point if (like me) you’re not a huge follower of the sport, but have always been slightly curious as to how it works and plays. Though, even if you’re relatively hands-on with the sport, don’t let it’s choice in visual design scare you into believing that this game is gated to a specific group by its looks. On the contrary, despite its accessibility, Super Mega Baseball 2 is robust, deep and very engaging. It’s also quite realistic, too, as far as its physics go. The developer has done a remarkable job at finding this middle ground, ultimately putting out a game that’s easy to pick up, hard to master and even harder to put down.
That’s no small feat when we take the complexity of the sport and its behavior into account. Still, Super Mega Baseball 2 is a massive improvement upon its already acclaimed predecessor, make of that what you will. Let me slightly rewind to the note I made about the visuals above. This game may not be photo-realistic, but that’s not to say that it’s not a gorgeously designed take on the much loved sport. Super Mega Baseball 2 adopts a more cartoon-esque approach to its design, lending it a further feel of openness and allure. Everything from the stadiums to the character models remains welcoming throughout, which is again bolstered by how fun the gameplay is.
It has to be said that outside of its appealing formula, it does take some time and perseverance to overcome a few of its mechanics. Timing, for example, is very much a case of trial-and-error until you finally bond with the swing or dive timing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se, but something I wanted to make a note about all the same. The intuitive “Ego System” is a fantastic addition that serves itself as a 100-scale difficulty slider. It doesn’t matter what you take to within, arranged matches, ranked matches, AI difficulty or family tuning, it’s all kept fair by the implementation of Ego, which is a nice touch for those (again, like me) that lack the experience and know-how.
There are many systems that feed into Super Mega Baseball 2, giving it an edge that its only Xbox One peer greatly misses. In any case, I’ll say it again, this game knows how to walk a fine line between complicated and upfront. This isn’t just accessible enough for someone like myself to pick up and enjoy, but the younger gamers too. Simply put, the target audience here, although not immediately apparent, is a wide net that will captivate and please those that crave a good baseball game. The gameplay itself is fluid once you’ve nailed the timing correctly, and before long, even the most novice of players can go on to best veterans and returning fans alike.
The game does come with a surprisingly informative tutorial, though in all honesty, it doesn’t hurt nor take a great deal of time to learn by yourself. Pitching, for instance, is achieved by pressing A whereas the left stick is used for your aim. Batting is even simpler than that and much less hands-on, requiring little else than placing an indicator within the path of an incoming pitch, to then press the A button. Throws are also easy to pick up on, and demand very little effort from the player, again simply relying on perseverance and timing. Like I said, it’s very easy work and even easier to digest in the long run. This is all upheld by some solid audio cues, which helps to relay that genuineness.
There’s also a wide portion of customization thrown into the mix, including teams, players, names, logos and more. This helps to alleviate the fact that the game lacks official licenses, but not so much that those hoping to get in on some licensed representation will be left feeling all too happy. However, with that being said, this is easy to overlook in the grand scheme of things. Simulation also plays a part here, but it hardly hinders the experience for fans of the genre that are looking for something more arcade-like.The inclusion of online play, which was absent from the predecessor title, will no doubt go down well with the crowd.
One of the only downsides for me was the lack of a diverse selection of stadiums. Yes, the stadiums are fictional and well designed, but this should have encouraged the developer to really go all out with what’s on offer. Some “for the sake of it” or wacky stadiums would have gone down a treat. Maybe we’ll see this in due course, but as it stands, just a handful of stadiums doesn’t quite cut it, irrespective as to how well detailed and unique they may be. When all is said on done, however, there’s no denying that Super Mega Baseball 2 hits the ball out of the park with its design, various offerings and fluid gameplay, alone.
Super Mega Baseball 2 is a fun blend of arcade and simulation baseball. Its decent and believable physics, grouped with its unique design and alluringly fluid gameplay, gives it a definitive edge over the half-baked RBI Baseball 18. Despite the lack of diverse stadiums and licenses, this game achieves everything that it set out to accomplish, ultimately delivering a polished, wacky and robust experience.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.