Super Mega Baseball 3 sounds like a baseball sim straight from the Super Nintendo / Sega Mega Drive days, and in a way that rings true – it provides a fun and accessible alternative to MLB The Show and isn’t a system exclusive like Sony’s offering. We tested the PS4 version.
I remember downloading the original Super Mega Baseball on Steam back in 2015 and it was a small download that clocked in at under 1 GB. It was considerably smaller than my 40 GB or so download of MLB The Show 15 on the PS4 that year, but it packed a ton of fun in a small package. Two games later we’re looking at a 15 GB install for Super Mega Baseball, but while it packs a ton of audiovisual and gameplay refinements it still has that charm of a fun alternative to the big licensed brother that is MLB The Show.
Of course a game like Super Mega Baseball 3 wastes little time in showing that it’s meant to be different from that other franchise. Unlike a game like RBI Baseball, Metalhead Software’s sports sim features cartoon-like visuals and doesn’t try to compete with MLB The Show at its own (very well executed) game. At the same time, there’s a solid baseball simulation tucked away beneath that cartoony veneer that should keep sports fans and casual fans alike happy for quite some time.
Expanding from what was previously a fairly bare-bones title, Super Mega Baseball 3 now features a fully featured franchise mode, that allows you to build your team and take it through multiple seasons – hoping to leave a lasting legacy. It’s not as intricate and multi-faceted at the franchise mode in The Show, but where that mode can turn into a bit of a grind there is a more accessible approach on display here – letting you invest in the development of your players while making sure you don’t go over budget.
Although it doesn’t offer the almost cinematic drama of the campaign mode in other sports games, Super Mega Baseball 3 does highlight player-specific personality traits that impact their performance. Are they cool under pressure? Should they be replaced when you reach the final innings? Although essentially just bare stats, this gives you the feeling that you get to know your players and can act accordingly, unlocking their greatest potential.
Not bound by official licenses, the game gives players a huge amount of freedom to visually customize the experience. Team names, player rosters, jerseys and even logos can all be tweaked, and the cartoon look makes this part feel accessible too. It’s a shame that you can’t play with the real life stars of the sport, but that’s not what this game is about. There’s a freedom of choice here that makes it fun to use the editor, and you can even put a team together that puts you on the field alongside your best male and female friends.
How accessible the actual gameplay is can be easily modified using a variety of difficulty level sliders, which actually allow you to crank things up to the level of a serious simulation far deeper than what the cartoony exterior suggests. Going back to the first two Super Mega Baseball games the leap forward in the visual sense isn’t as great this time around, but there are subtle refinements to the gameplay that make pitching and batting feel less like an arcade experience (if you want it to be). Pitching especially can be tough to master, and requires you to not just focus on the batter but also keep an eye out for runners trying to steal bases. The changes are subtle, but mostly for the better. This isn’t a great leap forward from Super Mega Baseball 2 (unless you’re into the franchise mode), but if you’re new to the series then it’s a great moment to step in.