Super Mega Baseball 3 Xbox One review: Grand Slam

There’s not much choice out there when it comes to baseball games. You have Sony’s MLB The Show, which continues to dominate the plate on the PS4 front (and, starting next year, other platforms); and then there’s RBI Baseball, which continues to try and drive up nostalgia, but comes up short when it comes to its general overall package.

But sneaking up on both of these popular franchises is Metalhead Software’s Super Mega Baseball. Despite the lack of an MLB license, these guys really get what makes the sport so joyous and fun. Its previous effort, Super Mega Baseball 2, was a huge improvement over its debut game. And now, with Super Mega Baseball 3, we see the team finally get to hit its stride.

Easy To Pick Up and Play, But There’s Stuff To Master

What makes Super Mega Baseball 3 stand out from its competition is its accessibility. Here’s a game that players of all ages can easily slip into and play, with an abundantly cool pitching system; a strong batting system that gives everyone a chance to swing for the fences; and ideal fielding that makes it a cinch to catch a ball in the outfield (provided you don’t screw up, of course).

Hit it to me hit it to me hit it to me…

What’s really cool, however, is how the developer improved on the baserunning model. Here, you have to make pinpoint decisions with your players on the bases, whether you’re controlling them individually or having them make a run for it when the ball is deep in the infield. It takes a little bit of practice, but once you master this system, it’s entertaining, and really teaches you the worth of going for a stolen base.

What’s more, the power swings and strikes also add a layer of strategy to the game. You could lean on the basics, but it’s when you start to grasp this additional content that you really get a good idea of the developer’s understanding of baseball fundamentals. It does take slight dedication and time, but it’ll pay off once you head online and take on the competition.

Lots of Content To Dig Into

Along with a general quick play mode and other features, Super Mega Baseball 3 also features a new Franchise mode. With this, you’ll begin to build a baseball legacy from scratch, working with your managers and balancing the players’ needs in order to go for a championship run. It may not be as realistic as, say, MLB the Show 20, with its many players and teams; but it’s still really something for a game that got its start in the indie leagues. The only thing is that you won’t be able to do much trading, but at the very least, you can shop around and see which players are right for you.

As for that online play, it’s cross-platform this time around. Alas, the feature wasn’t live when we tried it out with our review time with the game (it did just launch yesterday, so we’ll revisit at another point in time). However, we found the session we did connect with locally to be a blast, as it’s a good time going up against a buddy (in this case, Rob) and seeing what it takes to take the lead from them.

Sigh. We do miss baseball.

Customization also plays a big part in Super Mega Baseball 3. You can tweak everything from logos to uniforms to leagues however you see fit. Granted, you can’t get too extreme, but the components included here give you a lot to play around with. You’ll be busy for a while as you create the team of your dreams. Or nightmares.

A Great, If Somewhat Indie, Presentation

When it comes to the visuals and sound, Super Mega Baseball 3 doesn’t quite go full-stop like MLB The Show does. It does have some impressive graphics, including a plethora of stadiums to choose from, good player animation, and other nice little details. But the loading time takes a little while (it’s about the same on Xbox One and PS4, according to my review compadre), and the players look a little basic compared to others. But that’s always been the Mega Baseball aesthetic, so no biggie.

The audio’s not bad either. Little music bits, fun sound effects, and announcements sound like the real deal. It’s not over the top, but, then again, Super Mega Baseball 3 has always kept it simple on this front. Why change now?

Swing, Batta!

Considering that we don’t have real baseball to tide us over (at least, for the time being), Super Mega Baseball 3 is a welcome treat. Though its visuals won’t quite blow you away, they’re suitable, along with the in-game audio. And on top of that, the game is loaded with features and customization aplenty; and it’s a lot of fun to play in every department, especially once you dig into the deeper components. It’s a game that’s sure to take you by surprise – and will leave you wondering just how great Super Mega Baseball 4 will be.

RATING: 8.5/10

If you’re looking for a fun, in-depth sports game, Super Mega Baseball 3 is ready to dominate your plate.

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