STAFF REVIEW of Super Mega Baseball 2 (Xbox One)


Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
by Chad Goodmurphy

Super Mega Baseball 2 Box art As many have lamented, the Xbox One is lacking when it comes to good baseball games. Sony has its own first-party franchise, which is incredibly well received year in and year out, but there’s nothing for Xbox owners to look forward to as far as Major League Baseball goes. Sure, both consoles tend to get an RBI game every year, but those pale in comparison and don’t hold a candle to The Show. The difference in quality could be equated to fine dining versus eating uncooked hot dogs straight out of the package.

Four years ago, Canadian developer Metalhead Software gave baseball fans who don’t own a PS4 something to get excited about. That happened to be Super Mega Baseball, a polished, entertaining and surprisingly impressive arcade sports game.

Fast forward to the month of May 2018, where we’ve seen the release of Metalhead’s aptly titled follow-up, Super Mega Baseball 2. A game that spit shines the things that made its predecessor so fun, while adding more and better content in the process. It was free too, as part of Microsoft’s Games With Gold program, but has since been replaced by Metal Gear Solid V.

Since the MLB’s rights are expensive and somewhat exclusive to boot, Super Mega Baseball is an independent affair, which presents its own made up league. Within it reside multiple teams, who are ranked based on all of the facets of baseball, including power, contact, speed, defense, starting pitching and relief pitching, but are categorized by their biggest strength. What thas means is some teams are extreme power hitters, whose specialty is the long ball, while others carry titles like “all around”.

With flexibility comes creativity, and that is found in both the names of the teams and their players, who carry some punny monikers to go along with their caricatured designs. The teams aren’t left out though, and also carry some pretty unique names like Moonstars, Sirloins, Platypi, Crocodons and Beewolves. Many of these teams carry over from the first game, too.


Unlike the original title, Super Mega Baseball 2 has a good amount of modes to complement its infinitely replayable gameplay. You’ll find the expected single game option, which is flanked by full season play and even an elimination tournament. On top of those, there also happens to be online play, which has its own timed leagues and stats-based competitions amongst players on different difficulties, so there’s certainly no lack of things to do.

What’s neat is that most of these modes are customizable, meaning that you can adjust their length, fine tune their difficulties, and introduce custom teams that you’ve edited or even perhaps created yourself. Super Mega Baseball 2 has a rather impressive logo and uniform creation suite and also allows you to edit players’ stats. Hell, there’s an achievement for making a player’s overall rating 99, which is something my friends and I used to do a lot as kids while playing NHL games.

Through these modes and options, Metalhead presents what is a rather robust baseball game, and one that doesn’t skimp on colour. Super Mega Baseball 2 may be a cartoon experience, but it’s more like a mix between arcade and simulation than a full on arcade game, at least when it comes to the harder difficulties.

First, let’s talk about the difficulty system, which is based around something called ego. This is a modifier, for lack of a better term, which lets you scale the challenge in different ways. The default one has been carried over from the first game, and what it does is allow you to scale the difficulty by choosing a certain point value. For instance, 1-19 is easy, 20 and above is moderate, then challenging lays ahead. However, you can change the look of the ego system in this sequel, so that it shows how difficult each portion of the sport will be, which is nice.

To be honest, I’ve always had a hard time finding the sweet spot, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The AI doesn’t hold any punches on tougher difficulties either, and can actually do pretty well on an ego level between 18-20. It’s nice that players can really fine tune their experience though, because it helps. I’m sure that if I really tried, I could find my perfect sweet spot, too.


The gameplay may look colourful, but that doesn’t mean that it’s childish or simple, though it can be. Home runs are epic, celebrations are beyond that of real life MLB players, and the stadiums themselves are more creative than something like Yankee Stadium. There’s an industrial themed park, one that looks like it belongs in a seaside city like Vancouver or Seattle, a Japanese themed one and another stadium that happens to be full of Colonial architecture. Each one has its own pros and cons too, such as being hitter or pitcher friendly, much like the real life stadiums do. On top of that, some also have their own unique lighting types, such as the Colonial park’s retro-inspired filter.

When one steps up to the plate of one of these stadiums, he or she will find a reticule that can be different in size based on the type of player is in use. Sometimes, this reticule will move to where the pitch is, but this seems to be dependent on difficulty. Making contact can be as simple as pressing A at the right time for a standard hit, but there’s more to doing well than just that. After all, hitting the ball cleanly is the goal, otherwise a foul ball may result.

Power hits are once again accomplished by using the X button, while B controls bunts. The thing is though that a well connected bomb is the result of a charged hit. By this, I mean that you must hold the X button, then release it at the right time, in order to get a perfect power hit. If you hold the button for too long, or release it too early, your results will not be very positive, but that adds challenge. Of course, knowing when to hit for power and when to hit for contact is a key aspect of the sport of baseball, much like it is in Super Mega Baseball 2. Skinnier players are better served for contact and stolen bases, while those who look like they pump weights 24/7 are the ones you’ll want to use for power. These guys look like miniature Hulks wearing baseball uniforms.

Pitching is handled differently. To throw a good fastball, curveball, or what have you, one must choose a pitch type (using the right joystick), then pick a spot and press A. What happens next is that a small circle will appear at the spot at which your chosen pitch is expected to land after its curve, slide, or whatever. If you quickly move the reticule back there and highlight it, your pitch will then be more powerful and more successful to boot. This is handled by a numerical rating system, which briefly appears before the pitcher begins to throw.

Needless to say, pitching is definitely more difficult than batting, and it can take some time to get used to. The same is true of the game’s defensive system, which doesn’t really highlight where the ball is going to go, so you’ll need to use your smarts and watch for shadows and things like that. Players will run to where the ball is going to drop, at least on lower difficulties, and if there’s a chance for a diving play, time will also sometimes slow down. This is a case where practice is needed because it’ll take you some time to get things down pat.


For the most part, all of this is quite fun and impressively polished. Sure, there’s the odd hiccup, but like the first game, Super Mega Baseball 2 is a quality affair. It’s not perfect, however, because it suffers from somewhat of an identity crisis, in that it doesn’t really seem to know what it wants to be. As such, it straddles the line between being an all out arcade sports game and being a more realistic, simulation experience. And I will admit it, sometimes I wished it were a bit crazier.

When it comes to presentation, there’s little to complain about. Everything looks really nice, and there’s certainly no lack of colourful detail. The stadiums are well crafted and defined, the players all look really good, with their caricaturized designs, and the gameplay is easy on the eyes. I also quite like the team logos, and a lot of the uniforms as well.

The audio is what you’d expect from an arcade baseball game. There’s some good music, but there’s not much in the way of announcements or anything too unique. It all works, though, and fits the bill. This isn’t a game that needed to spend a ton on professional commentators, or anything like that.

At the end of the day, Super Mega Baseball 2 is another home run for a talented studio. Hopefully you were able to get it while it was free with Gold, but if not it’s certainly well worth the price of admission, especially since this console is sorely lacking good baseball games. Sure, it may not be a realistic MLB experience, but it’s good fun.




Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.1 / 10
Visuals: 8.2 / 10
Sound: 7.6 / 10

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