For years, arcade sports games had seemingly gone the way of the dodo bird. Every company seemed to be more focused on providing as realistic of an experience as possible that no one wanted to venture back into the genre that had given players games like NFL Blitz, NBA Jam, and MLB Slugfest.
Over the last few years, however, we’ve seen a number of games start to come in and fill the hole that was left behind. And it all seemingly started with a game called Super Mega Baseball back in 2014.
Now, four years later, the sequel to the acclaimed game is here in the form of Super Mega Baseball 2.
Boasting improved animations, deeper customization, and online play, Super Mega Baseball 2 is a game that wants players to forget about the lack of an official MLB license or other AAA features.
Not Your Average Arcade Game
The player design is over the top and the stadiums are outlandish, but that’s where the full arcade atmosphere within the game starts to dip.
On the field, the gameplay is closer to that of MLB The Show than it is to RBI Baseball. Both the players on the field and the ball itself move in a realistic manner thanks to a high-level physics engine from developer Metalhead Software. There’s more variety in hits and the way the ball bounces that someone with no prior knowledge of the game would expect.
From simple contact swings to full power hits, you just never know how the ball is going to travel.
Pitches — which are chosen with the right stick and aimed during the windup — do move more than they would do in real life, but it’s not over the top. Fielders can make some high-skilled plays once you get a hang of the timing, and never feel too sluggish or uncontrollable. That’s even with some hiccups when it comes to auto fielding which stops midway through a pop fly.
a deep creation suite allows you to create almost anything you can think of.
Returning to the game is the popular Ego system that determines the skill level of the AI in the game. A 1-99 sliding difficulty scale, your Ego goes with you throughout the game, and really requires some play before landing on the level that gives you the game you are looking for. You can have a different Ego level for each aspect of the game, allowing even more fine-tuning to the game’s difficulty level.
Speaking of skill level and difficulty, it’s not just the Ego system that impacts how players perform. The Mojo attribute is a dynamic system that rises and falls based on a specific players performance in a game. Miss too many easy plays in the field and that skill will suffer. Same goes for hitting and pitching. The attribute will adjust accordingly based on what happens throughout a given game.
Modes include Exhibition, Elimination Tournaments and Season mode. All can be played solo or together with a party. Season mode offers the most depth with length variations, stat tracking, and even global leaderboards.
New in Super Mega Baseball 2 is online play, something the original was sorely lacking. After over a week with the servers, I was surprised how well the game performed online. I had no issues finding games nor playing them. It was a nice surprise that I really didn’t expect going in. There aren’t online leagues to take part in, but there is the Pennant Race mode that will track your record over a period of time, and compare it with others in the same race.
There’s also a local co-op offering for those that just want to hang out in the living room and play with those around them.
Customization So Deep
Without any sort of license, it’s up to players to create the teams and players they want in Super Mega Baseball 2. Luckily, a deep creation suite allows you to create almost anything you can think of. While you can’t import your own logos, there are enough options available as well as the user-friendly logo designer to make up for the omission. One thing that would’ve been nice to see, though, is a way to share your creations or download the creations of others.
Each team can have its own home stadium, but with just eight to choose from, your options are limited. With how unique each stadium is, it would’ve been nice to get a few more variations in the game at launch.
If you don’t want to spend the time creating teams and players, the game is full of a number of pre-made teams to get you going.
The game does lack in presentation features with no commentary and no replay suite. But, once you get into a game, you’ll find yourself forgetting about those quite quickly.
Super Mega Baseball 2 is much more than your run-of-the-mill arcade game. It looks like a cartoon but plays and feels like a full sim experience with far more realistic plays than you’d expect from something called “Super Mega Baseball”.
There are some small gameplay issues like the inability to turn off the slow motion upon contact, but it doesn’t take away from the game in any way. Fans of the original are sure to love all of the new additions while newcomers will be surprised at how fine-tuned Super Mega Baseball 2 is.
It’s fun and accessible enough that anyone can just pick it up and enjoy it while deep enough to keep even the biggest baseball purist entertained. When it’s all said and done, Super Mega Baseball 2 could go down as the best baseball title of this generation of gaming.
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