It’s been three years a Super Mega Baseball has been released. Since then, a lot has changed for the franchise. Electronic Arts (EA) purchased its developer Metalhead Software in 2021, two years before the release of Super Mega Baseball 4 in June 2023. The release of Super Mega Baseball 4 came with a fair amount of hype, thanks its inclusion of former MLB players.
But, should you add Super Mega Baseball 4 to your baseball game rotation? Let’s take a closer look at the title.
An Outlandish Experience
If you’ve never played a Super Mega Baseball game before, let’s just say it’s a trip. Metalhead Software’s baseball game is very different than MLB The Show 23, which is more of a traditional simulation baseball game. While Super Mega Baseball does include a lot of detail, its gameplay is far from ordinary.
The avatars in Super Mega Baseball are cartoonish, to say the least. Players are beefy, animated, and are filled with color. On top of that, animations in the game do reflect this. Pitching deliveries are quirky, swings are violent and slappy, and the fielders don’t move at the same pace as one would expect from an actual baseball player.
However, Super Mega Baseball’s gameplay system does function quite smoothly. Much like in Super Mega Baseball 3, the title’s hitting engine features a swing contact zone — something similar to MLB The Show’s plate coverage indicator. The goal of the user is to aim the barrel of the bat with the left stick, time either a contact or power swing just right, and then let go of the button and/or stick for maximum results.
And as for pitching, it works more like a hybrid of what traditional baseball games have used in the past. Select a pitch, aim it, and use the left stick to move the cursor as close as possible to the desired location. The closer the player is, the more accurate the pitch will be.
The mechanics of the game are basic and relatively unchanged from Super Mega Baseball 3, a positive for returners — and it’s one that shouldn’t be difficult for newcomers to master, either.
Now as far as the gameplay is concerned, there’s not a lot of hitches to it. It’s consistent and simple to get the hang of. Players can change the difficulty and raise the pace of games by modifying Ego, a number rating that affects how easy or difficult it is to play.
Beyond the Gameplay
Past Super Mega Baseball games have never had real MLB teams or players. That changed with Super Mega Baseball 4, as this title featured the traditional fictitious characters plus alumni from Major League Baseball.
A large swath of baseball’s past are in this game, from icons like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron to more recent stars like David Ortiz and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
From a marketing standpoint, this is a big step in the right direction. No, don’t expect teams like the Dodgers or Yankees to be in this title. But, this partnership between EA and the MLB Players Alumni not only opens doors for the future, but also makes this title much easier to market to general baseball fans.
Additionally, Super Mega Baseball 4 has cross-platform online play, online leagues, and a relatively deep franchise mode that includes player development options, financials, and the ability to sign and release players. If you’ve ever wanted to create a custom league full of MLB legends, this game can accomplish that dream.
What’s the Difference?
Every time I play a sports game that is a part of a franchise, this is the question that always pops up. In my opinion, I firmly believe that the sentiment “Every game is a copy & paste of the year before” is overused. Sure, gameplay engines may go untouched and many of the same features of prior games will return. However, there are changes, whether it be subtle or overt.
The gameplay in Super Mega Baseball 4 is mostly unchanged. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Granted, I would have liked more advanced options like a closer camera angle for the strike zone or an actual meter for pitching. However, the animations and the engine are — for this kind of game — fine.
The big change for this game is the addition of MLB alumni. It’s the most noticeable one, and it’s for the better. On the other hand, I just don’t know if I personally would have bought this game on that alone.
I loved Super Mega Baseball 3. It was a game that I took a liking to during the pre-Xbox and Nintendo days of MLB The Show and one that really does break the mold of baseball games.
I do think this franchise has a lot of potential, and I don’t believe this is a bad game. In fact, I wholeheartedly think that its pace is not only unique, but one that brings enough to both baseball fans looking for fun and action. I also appreciate the lack of microtransactions, something that the development team stated would not be an issue in this game.
On that note, I would like to see more of a faster pace as well as new features that distinguished it more from Super Mega Baseball 3. I do think Metalhead invested some of its resources in the wrong places, instead of areas like improved controls or adding a player-focused mode that would allow users to live the life of a baseball star in this cartoon world.
As stated earlier, I really liked Super Mega Baseball 3. But is Super Mega Baseball 4 worth the upgrade? I can’t say for certain it is, unless you really want to play with Big Papi or Hammerin’ Hank against the Surloins.