Growing up I played little league as is tradition in middle-America. I was on the shorter side and didn’t have good hand-eye coordination until I was older. However, I knew I liked the game. That led to a plethora of baseball video games to try out. Games such as Bad News Baseball with a cartoonish approach to the game as well as an arcade feel. I still remember the sounds of the bat to the ball, the blooper sound of a weakly hit ball and the infectious music. The other series that we played as kids was World Series Baseball. That game took itself seriously and the MLB and MLBPA licenses.
Super Mega Baseball 2: Deluxe Edition takes inspiration from both and blends both the arcade and simulation feel seamlessly. The art direction looks like what a Bad News Baseball game would look like today with modern graphics, and the game mechanics are a modern version of World Series Baseball. I have had a blast playing this game the last 2 days. Being able to set the innings limit to 5 has been nice to speed through the elimination tournament mode. I have had a blast since the first game of feeling out the pitching and batting mechanics where I lost the game but figured out how to play. the gameplay controls are simple to pick up and play but hard to master. The ego difficulty setting goes from 0-100 and defaults at a casual 15 setting. I have bumped it up to the 20 setting. Basically, this increases the AI of the opposing team and adds a lot of depth to the game.
The cool thing is that you can adjust it mid-game if you are smoking an opponent for extra difficulty. The coolest thing about this game is customizing every aspect of a team, its players’ physical looks, and skill attributes. You create and name custom leagues as well. I created The Myrtle Beach Merman from Eastbound and Down, put them in the Carolina League and named the conferences North and South. I was able to add Kenny Powers(La Flama Blanca) as the closer, and Sammy Sosa as the star player. The first thing I did was create a new team. I could have been more accurate with the appearance of the Merman, but I wanted to get into gameplay so I just settled on colors and the trident logo. Customization in this game is the best you could ask for a game that does not have its sports license. It is a huge selling point. I was blown away with all of the options.
Now that I have gotten some thoughts out, let’s give it the old Nerdjockblog.com grading breakdown:
Presentation Grade: A+
There is a Metalhead Logo when you first boot up the game and then it shows a slow-motion picture of a catcher catching the ball. From there you are taken into the main menu. Every option listed has a description as to what it does to the right. It shows you the ego slider at the bottom as well as the online quick menu at the bottom left. I love this menu system. its short and sweet and to the point. I was easily able to navigate to the custom team option. Speaking of, that is such a powerful tool in this game. Lots of uniform design options to choose from. you can choose from over 40 fonts and those can be re-sized. Logos can be re-sized. you can choose any color you want too. This game looks like a primetime player from the moment you fire it up.
Graphics Grade: B+
For what this game is, The graphics fit its aesthetic. They weren’t going for realism with the players. The base design of the body options is a more fleshed version of what exists in Ice Hockey for NES. You have skinny, average, beefy as options. Oh and before I forget there are women in this game as well. I like that, it gives the game more flavor. The stadiums are sort of generic, and this game isn’t winning any awards for its realism in graphics, but the simple graphics really work for this game. It gives it the feel of “anyone can play this game”. I love the aesthetic of the game. (See slideshow below)
Sound Design Grade: A
There are about 50 different walk-up songs for the players. That really adds to the dynamic of the game. It fits in with the customizable games. I have put about 4 hours into this game and the different walk-up themes really help it from being stale. The music is great and well thought out during in-game action and during the menus section. There is no in-game announcer. That probably helps the online from being laggy. I experienced no lag by the way. Music is a big part of this game.
Gameplay Grade: A+
I really love this simple to play hard to master formula this game has. The pitching feels fun. Some other modern baseball games I have played they have turned it into a King of Fighters type quarter and half-turn thing that is overly complicated for a sports game. Super Mega Baseball has a timing and location system that is fun. The game has pop-ups that teach you how to play the first couple of times you play it. and just by playing it you learn the mechanics. and if something new happens, a pop-up box will open and say “hey there is a runner on base now, here is how you do a pitch-out pick-off. The game is very inviting to new players in that way. The hitting has 3 different ways to play. You can use the right joystick to emulate a baseball swing. or you can time it with a contact hit( even though it says its a contact swing, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit home runs. Its a simple way to play) The other way is a power swing where you hold down Y and release it when you think you should get the most power. You use the left analog stick to aim at the pitch location. Its the ideal way for hitting to work in a baseball game like this. It is both arcade fun, with a hint of realism. the baserunning is pretty standard, and the fielding works very similar to the old school classics Metalhead is drawing from. the players closest to the ball is who you control, pop-ups are kind of auto caught, and hard-hit balls you have dive for with the right analog stick, or a shoulder button to dive. The gameplay is a blast. Hitting a grand slam with Rowan Sturdly, my 8th man in the batting order was great. He had a personality of pure joy when he hit it. You could see that in the replay. Each character has a personality. I think I remember 8 or 9 personalities to choose from. You definitely notice it. I made Kenny Powers be egotistical. and his strikeout celebrations looked familiar to how the real Kenny Powers would celebrate 😉
Overall Grade: A
This game is a grand slam! We are giving it an A. It is probably the best sports game on the Switch. There are several ways to play online. the Pennant ranking system is a neat idea. the default ego difficulty was 40 for some reason. I think it is adjusted based on performance and skill level. I could go on and on about Super Mega Baseball 2. Everything about this game says its a must play. Go out and see for yourself!
Check out the slideshow and videos below: