Super Mega Baseball is back with its first release since 2020 as Super Mega Baseball 4 looks to take the series to new heights. For the first time ever, more than 200 licensed baseball legends are featured in the game. Several new features and gameplay changes hope to improve on what has already been a popular series amongst offline focused gamers. Super Mega Baseball 4 is also the first release in the series since EA acquired Super Mega Baseball developer Metalhead Software in 2021. Does this title retain the charm that the series was based around, or do the ambitious changes cause it to lose focus. Let’s find out as we take a look at Super Mega Baseball 4.
The biggest change to Super Mega Baseball 4 is the arrival of legendary baseball players. More than 200 retired baseball players like Jose Bautista, Randy Johnson, and cover athlete David Ortiz have been added to the game. You can now pit some of the greatest baseball players ever against the Super Mega All-Stars from previous games. Along with these legends, the game also features several baseball content creators. Guys like DaddyDimmu, Jared Carrabis, Jomboy Media, and several more will now take the field with the players they cover.
On the field, Super Mega Baseball 4 is an incredibly fun blend of simulation and arcade style baseball. While the gameplay is tight and challenging at times, it didn’t take long for a newcomer to the series like myself to get the hang of things. The Ego difficulty system helps ease players into the game. Players can either change difficulty of individual aspects of the game, or adjust all aspects together.
Traits and Chemistry
Traits add a fun bit of in-game strategy. There are 75 different player traits, an increase from 20 in Super Mega Baseball 3. These traits give players boosts or penalties in certain situations. These traits really make you think about how you handle certain scenarios. For example, if I’m in a high-pressure situation on the mound, having a pitcher with the clutch trait would make things a lot easier. If they happen to also have a trait like Elite FB, I may try to lean heavy on their fastball to get out of the inning.
Your team’s chemistry can enhance the effects of traits. Each player is assigned one of five chemistry types. The more of one type on your team, the more the traits of that chemistry type will be enhanced. These enhancements will be for all players on your team that has these traits, not just those that match the chemistry type.
On the Field
With that being said, the majority of Super Mega Baseball 4’s on field gameplay will be pretty familiar to returning players. The majority of hitting, pitching, and fielding are pretty much the same. Intentional walks and the extra-innings runner on second have been added as a couple of on-field improvements.
The only real issue I found with gameplay has nothing to do with the game itself, but rather with the controller. When pitching, you often have to make quick adjustments to the cursor in order to place your pitch accurately. If your controller has any bit of stick drift, like my PlayStation 5 controller does, it can make hitting the corners of the strike zone a bit more difficult. Of course, this isn’t the game’s fault. This is just a warning to players who might be on consoles known for being more susceptible to stick drift. Perhaps in the future an analog dead zone or sensitivity setting can be added to combat this problem.
Overall, returning players can expect to find some new additions to the same fun gameplay they loved in previous games. Meanwhile, new players can slowly ease their way in as they learn all the systems in the game.
Super Mega Baseball 4 offers an impressive suite of game modes to appeal to both offline and online players. Franchise and Season mode give you the ability to play out entire seasons with your team. Franchise in particular got several additions to make the mode even deeper. On top of chemistry and traits adding depth to team building, the new loyalty system will make it harder to keep your team together from season to season. As you go throughout your season, you will have situations pop up. Depending on how you react to these scenarios, the loyalty rating of one or two players will go up or down. At the end of the season, the loyalty rating will determine how likely a player is to stay with your team. Every player will have to be resigned every year. This gives you the opportunity to overhaul your roster from one season to the next.
The new player development opportunities will also cause you to make some important decisions throughout the season. Any leftover budget your team has after player salaries will be dispersed evenly throughout the season. You can spend this money on different upgrade packages for players throughout the season. These packages include guaranteed ratings changes as well as opportunities to get things like more rating boosts, gaining or losing traits, and gaining new secondary positions or pitches.
I do wish there was a faster way to simulate through games in a season. Every time you want to simulate through games, you have to do it one at a time. You also have to manually simulate all the CPU games in between your games. This process takes way too long when it doesn’t need to. This issue drags down the experience for players more focused on team building and simulation.
The biggest addition to just about every game mode in Super Mega Baseball 4 is the new Shuffle Draft feature. This new feature lets you draft a brand-new squad from the players you want to play with. When you start a Shuffle Draft, you can choose to include just the Super Mega All-Stars, or to include the Legends or the Creators as well.
The draft consists of 22 rounds where you choose one of eight players. Higher rated players will show up at the beginning of the draft while role players will show up later to fill in the holes. Once you draft your team, you can immediately jump into an exhibition game with your friends. You can also immediately take that new team into a Franchise, Season, Online League, or Elimination tournament.
While we are here, since this is an EA Sports game, I guess we should discuss the monetization in this game.
There isn’t any.
That’s right. An EA Sports game with no premium currency and no packs. Like the developer promised shortly after the game was announced, there are no microtransactions in the game. The only thing that you can purchase extra to the game are the three stadiums that come with the upgraded Ballpark Edition for an extra $10. This really is a throwback to the days where you get everything in the game just for buying the actual game.
The presentation of Super Mega Baseball 4 does a great job of immersing you in this world. It isn’t often we talk about immersion with sports games, but Super Mega Baseball 4 puts on a master class in immersion.
The amazing customization suite returns to give players complete control over every aspect of their league. You can decide how many conferences, divisions, and teams are in your league. You can edit every aspect of every team and player in your league. This includes logos, jerseys, hairstyles, batting stances, facial expressions, and tons more. While you are not able to download community creations that others have created, the controls of the creation suite are simple enough that even beginners can create the look and team of their dreams.
There is one glaring issue with customization. In order to create custom teams or players, you first have to create an entire custom league. Those players and teams are only stored inside that one league. The only way to save them somewhere else is to copy them to another league. There is no way to view all your created teams or players across all your leagues. If a league is deleted, all the players, teams, jerseys, logos, and everything else with that league are deleted. There desperately needs to be one central menu where all of your creations are stored.
On the field, new camera angles and UI bring a fresh look to the gameplay. The gameplay sounds fun and over the top as you would expect. My favorite sounds, though were the background ones. The umpires have some really funny reactions, and the PA announcements in between innings always got a chuckle out of me.
Super Mega Baseball 4 is a celebration of the young baseball fan inside all of us. It includes all the great players and content creators we have watched for years. The game also balances the fine line between simulation and arcade gameplay. Franchise additions, Shuffle Draft, and presentation all add to an already great package. Super Mega Baseball 4 harkens back to the games many of us grew up playing. I can see 20 years from now, the current generation talking about games like Super Mega Baseball the same way my generation talks about games like Backyard Baseball and MLB Slugfest. Time will tell if I am right, but when you play a game like this, it’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.
Final Score: 8.5/10
Super Mega Baseball 4 reminds us of the games we used to play growing up. The gameplay has the perfect balance between arcade and simulation. While we recommend SMB4 to any sports gaming fan, we think the younger generation will get the most out of it.