When it comes to sports games, arcade baseball always provides good times no matter if you're a fan of the sport or not. Super Mega Baseball 2 is a substantial step up from its predecessor but does it knock it out of the park?
As a fan of baseball video games (and admittedly, not baseball itself), I absolutely loved 2014's Super Mega Baseball. The arcade gameplay had a surprising amount of depth and its cartoon visuals made it all the more fun. Thankfully, just a few years later, we have a sequel that amplifies the enjoyment factor a great deal. For starters, the controls are super-tight and intuitive whether you're batting, pitching, or controlling the fielders. One aspect that's absolutely spectacular is that the controls are as complex as you want them to be. If you want to throw tricky pitches then there are plenty of options to do so. When you're batting, you can simply tap a button to swing your bat or try to power-up beforehand. Heck, you can even bunt if you want. There's a difficulty system, too, in the form of Ego that ranges from 0 to 99 so you really have complete control over the challenge and complexity of the gameplay.
On top of the elaborate yet intuitive controls and difficulty options, there are a ton of customizable aspects and modes to enjoy. For starters, you can play cooperatively or competitively with local and online players which adds a great deal of possibilities for setting up your next game and being able to cooperate with a friend or challenge opponents online is a ton of fun. The modes consist of Exhibition, Pennant Race (a competitive online mode), Elimination tournaments, and Season championships. Additionally, you can spend a lot of time within the Customize menus where you can create your own team including its logo, colors, uniforms, and players. You can also edit your own leagues. I didn't even mention the fact that there are 8 distinct stadiums to play within. That's a lot of stuff!
Super Mega Baseball 2's visuals are a huge step up from the original's. There is so much more detail and graphical polish and playing it is simply a joy. The character models come in all shapes and sizes yet they're all cartoonish which adds a layer of fun to the gameplay. It's often enjoyable to just watch the players as they scratch their butts, adjust their clothes, and carefully gauge their next move.
The audio is decent as well with spot-on sound effects and satisfying crowd noise. However, I found the announcer to be far too muffled and I couldn't even hear the umpire. I wish Super Mega Baseball 2 had a professional-sounding announcer who spoke clearly and umpires that you could actually hear say things like "You're outta here!" Instead, the majority of the audio is just sound effects and crowd noise which is kind of flat and uninteresting. That being said, the effects and visuals definitely still make it an enjoyable game.
Even though I enjoy the in-depth customization, I would have liked to see something unique in Super Mega Baseball 2 such as mini-games and single player challenges. This sort of content would have helped break up the fact that no matter which way you slice it, the core gameplay doesn't really change depending on how you set up your next game. It would have been great to attempt to tackle a list of fun challenges between matches such as "strike out this batter with an enormous bat" or "hit paint balls to graffiti this wall".
My only other complaint is that the artificial intelligence is difficult to gauge. I tried playing on different difficulty settings and sometimes on 0 ego, the CPU would keep getting home runs while on 50 ego, I could strike out batters easily. Generally speaking, the game does get more difficult on higher ego settings but it still feels quite random and unpredictable.
Super Mega Baseball 2 is a big step up from the first game and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys video game baseball. After playing it over the past few days, I'm definitely already looking forward to Super Mega Baseball 3.
- + Tight baseball gameplay that's as complex and challenging as you'd like it to be
- + Awesome cartoonish visuals
- + Loads of customization options
- - Could use additional modes such as mini-games and fun challenges
- - Audio is mostly flat and uninteresting
- - AI can be a bit too erratic