Super Mega Baseball 2 lands on PS4, Xbox One and Steam. How does it fare? The FNGR GNS Review;
There’s always been quite the place in my heart for Baseball. It’s probably down to spending a majority of my youth watching a variety of sports movies with my Dad, particularly Bull Durham, The Natural, Eight Men Out (a film he loves that he still talks about to this day) and of course, Field of Dreams. I think I’m not wrong in thinking the best sports movies for whatever reason are about or based around Baseball, and as such, became my base for m admittedly small knowledge of the sport. Still, upon Super Mega Baseball 2 landing in our FNGR GNS inbox, it made sense for me to take it on as I wanted to see if I could remember any semblance of knowledge from those films to relate to this sequel.
Turns out I still understand the sport rather well, which is nice. Super Mega Baseball 2 presents itself well, easing you into the madness of it all that can easily be overwhelming right off the bat. SMB2 has menus systems that are set out like baseball cards, so it’s surprisingly simple to jump from one to another and organise a relatively decent team before you hit the field with little issue. There’s no tutorial, rather a ‘How to Play’ option on the opening screen which you can easily ignore in favour of just jumping into an Exhibition match to get your bearings. Choosing this will lead you to a team select screen and that SMB 2 has no official licensing the teams are all made up (which adds to the games arcade feel). This is perhaps the PES of Baseball games? If that helps.
The hit mechanics here are friendly enough, as the ball approaches your bat your opposition will attempt a lock on with your bat, though you have the option to move your target, which is handy as you don’t always have the time to move as quickly as you would like, improving the chances of making decent contact.
Once in the match and on the pitch, the game throws up point-by-point tutorials to teach you how to field, how to bat and how to throw, with a multitude of options that went far deeper than I was expecting. Yes, it can be a little overwhelming but there’s a heck of a lot to learn if you’re going to be riding into tournaments and taking home the trophy.
If you’re more of a veteran of the sport SMB2 does stretch their variety of options, allowing you to tweak damn near everything in order to have the game play perfectly to your specifications such as the speed of your swing, throwing angles, diving to catch and much more. You can modify teams, logos, uniforms, equipment, difficulties, known here as your ego, returning from the original, which is a neat touch (funny story, I knocked my very first game down to the lowest ego level possible and lost 21-0), make substitutes on the fly and keep a very tactical eye on the pitch, controlling the movement of your players at certain bases, holding one and letting the other run, letting them both run or holding them until you knock a grand slam outta the stadium so you can all grab those essential home runs.
As I said, you have an awful lot to learn in SMB2. Fortunately the game helps you out a ton in the early stages, allowing you to pick it all up relatively easily, but mastering it very difficult indeed. The one-more-go effect, that ‘ack, I know I can do this better now I know how to do X,Y,Z’ way of gaming ensures there’s a mountain of fun to be had if you’re willing to stick it out. I think I’ll be avoiding the already fan-favourite 99-Ego Challenge for a while, though.
Elsewhere the online component is a major player in this particular league, with leaderboards dominating the bottom half of the opening screen. I jumped in for a limited time, got battered but then started to win a couple of games and it all ran pretty smoothly with little interruption and it was easy enough for me to get a game. There’s also a much deeper Season Mode you can play online, though I’m yet to delve into this particular mode. I’ll report back. If you want to test your metal against those PC players SMB2 also offers crossplay between PC and PS4 and PC and Xbox One.
As you can see from the pics the visual style of SMB2 is what makes it stand out, and is probably my favourite part of the game overall. It’s light-hearted and doesn’t take itself seriously (everyone has crazy eyes. Why does everyone have crazy eyes?), so when you’re getting utterly pummeled by the opposition you can’t feel too bad about it because the game is a fun visual and audio treat. Yes, it’s arcade in style but that’s about it, this is a pure simulation that is welcoming for beginners in terms of its presentation (and the game looks really, really nice on my PS4 Pro, I’ve no doubt it’ll look even better on the One X).
Super Mega Baseball 2 is a riot once you’ve got your head around how the heck it all works and if you’re learning the sport as you go, there’s little out there that can compare to its attention to detail and showing you the ropes. MLB The Show is obviously a far more realistic take on the sport, but I’d put my dollar on SMB2 being the fuller package. It’s accessible and quite simply, just more fun.
If you’re in the market for a Baseball game, or a new sports game at all, you could do a whole lot worse than Super Mega Baseball 2. If you’re a Baseball fan at all and you’ve dreamed of starting up your own team and taking on the world, you’re not going to find a package more enjoyable than this.
Just go easy on me when you see me online, eh?
Super Mega Baseball 2 is now available on PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro), Xbox One (available this month on Xbox Live Gold) and Steam.
Developer: Metalhead Software
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a review code from the publishers. For our full review policy, please go here.