STAFF REVIEW of Super Mega Baseball 3 (Xbox One)

Monday, June 8, 2020.
by Adam Dileva

Super Mega Baseball 3 Box art While I’m not usually one for sports, one of my favorite classic NES games was actually a baseball game, albeit it wasn’t a real simulator. (It was Base Wars by the way, in case you were wondering). While most may look for realistic takes on their favorite sports games, sometimes that’s not entirely possible on all consoles. Case in point, try finding an official MLB title on Xbox One in recent memory. If you wanted authentic MLB action, sadly you’ve had to play elsewhere.

While Super Mega Baseball 3 is not licensed by the MLB in any way, shape or form, don’t let its cartoonish style fool you, it can hang in there with some of the better sport sim games, regardless of its visual aesthetic. No it won’t have any of your official teams or players, but as a pure baseball game, it can surely hold its own. Even better, it’s very simple to just pick up and play, but has a ton of options and other things for super fans to do as well.

To be honest, I was totally expecting a very arcade-like experience when I took this review on. Yes, I falsely judged it from its visual style and full expected there to be wacky power-ups and the like, but instead, I was greeted with a quite authentic baseball simulator that just happens to have cartoonish visuals.

You can of course simply hop into a quick exhibition match and set the amount of innings to try things out, but where Super Mega Baseball 3 really shines is in its newly added Franchise Mode. Here is where you’ll take your team of choice across multiple seasons, constantly growing and evolving them into hopefully the top seeded team. Not only will you play every season game in this mode, but also participate in the postseason, develop players, handle retiring ones, signing and releasing free agents and more. For someone that’s not a big sports buff, it was all accessible and easy to understand what each option did and how it would benefit my team.

While there’s no trading of players, you can purchase special traits for players which can make a drastic change. These work like buffs and can add bonuses or weaken your players, so there’s a bit of a gamble. Maybe you’ll get a buff for your pitcher that greatly increases their fastball, or can boost someone’s power for when they are at bat. There’s a ton of options after each game and added some variety and development to the team which I enjoyed.

You’ll begin with a handful of tutorials, teaching you the basics like hitting, pitching and fielding, each of which are simple to understand but will take some practice to really get the hang of the timing. Batting is quite simple; with a press of ‘A’ you’ll swing, seeing where the ball will travel in the strike zone or not. Of course this will be very reactionary, and the better contact and timing you have with the ball, the better chance for a homerun. If you want to try a power hit you can hold ‘X’ and release it just at the right moment, improving your chance of a heavy hit. Timing is what will take getting used to, but it’ll eventually become second nature after a few games.

Pitching is another aspect that will take some time getting used to. Each pitcher has different pitches they can throw, which you pick with the Right Stick. You choose where you want to pitch to within the strike zone box, and you’ll need to match the moving cursor to your desired aim spot before it reaches the batter. It can be quite tricky to pitch exactly where you want, but again, with enough practice it’ll become second nature. Fielding is much simpler, as the players will automatically run towards the ball, though you can dive and leap for the ball if need be. Timing for these is also a little tricky, but it feels great to make a diving catch for an out.

With 14 different ballparks to play in, there’s variety with its different day and night settings. Not only can you customize and create your teams, uniforms and logos but you can even make leagues and custom seasons. There’s also multiple levels of difficulty you can set, from super beginner where I was netting like 20 runs a game, to hardcore expert where I couldn’t get a single base.

For those that want to take on competition online, you’re able to play 1v1 matches in cross platform Pennant Race Mode. From the matches I played, I had no lag and you can communicate with some preset hotkey phrases which was entertaining. For those wanting to know if Super Mega Baseball 3 is going to be for them, you can actually download the free trial which actually allows you to play an unlimited number of games in said Pennant Race mode.

I admit, I completely misjudged Super Mega Baseball 3 from its cartoonish looks, expecting a wacky baseball arcade game with a ton of over the top power-ups. What I got was a pretty decent baseball simulator that just happens to have a cartoony aesthetic. Don’t let its visuals fool you. Super Mega Baseball 3 may not be officially licensed by the MLB, have actual team or players, but it does offer some decent baseball gameplay for casual or serious fans of the sport.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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