Super Mega Baseball 2 review for Xbox One, PS4

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Metalhead Software
Developer: Metalhead Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

There are two things you need to know about Super Mega Baseball 2:

  1. There’s a good argument to be made that it’s the best baseball game of 2018.
  2. It’s not as good as its predecessor.

Both of these statements, obviously, need to be qualified, so let’s unpack them a little, starting with the claim that Super Mega Baseball 2 is the best baseball game of 2018.

For starters, I should probably admit that I haven’t played Out of the Park Baseball 19 yet. I want to, but my laptop is most definitely not built for gaming, and I’m not at all confident that it can handle even something as unchallenging as OOTP. Given that OOTP 19 is getting its usual stellar Steam reviews, Super Mega Baseball 2 may only be the best baseball game on consoles.

This, in turn, reflects the fact that its console competition isn’t all that great this year. MLB 18 The Show is solid, but there have definitely been better outings, and this feels more a rebuilding year for the venerable franchise than anything else. Meanwhile, RBI Baseball 18 is just plain awful, as has become customary for that franchise since its rebirth. So saying that Super Mega Baseball 2 is the best baseball game on consoles is really just saying the game has cleared a fairly low bar.

Conversely, the biggest reason that Super Mega Baseball 2 isn’t as good as the first game in the series is that the first Super Mega Baseball set the bar incredibly high. It felt like a true spiritual successor to the best baseball games of the late ?80s and early ?90s, the kind of fun arcade sports title we just never see anymore. By contrast, Super Mega Baseball 2 too often feels like a slightly tweaked version of the original, only with a few extra game modes and moderately improved graphics.

All that said, even if Super Mega Baseball 2 isn’t a great game, it’s still a very, very good one. It may not quite be its predecessor, but it still has a lot going for it.

True, these are almost all things that the original had going for it, too. The simple controls, for one: you can dig a little deeper if you want to vary your pitch selection (albeit not to the same extent as the first game) or mix in some power swings, but for the most part, this is a game that even total newcomers can play. Likewise, the teams and stadiums are enjoyably varied. They’re copied directly from the first game, right down to the lowliest relief pitcher, but it’s still fun to see a game that forgoes true to life realism in favour of players of all shapes and sizes and genders and ages, not to mention stadiums with distinctive personalities.

There are one or two new things this time out, though I wouldn’t say that any of them make or break Super Mega Baseball 2. If you’re the creative type you can edit…pretty much everything, actually, which is sure to appeal to people who just have to have real-life players and logos before they’ll even consider a sports game. Likewise, the stats seem to go a little deeper, which is fine if you’re a stathead who absolutely needs that stuff, but it’s not like their lack thereof was a giant mark against the first game. There’s also online play, which, again, is a nice bonus (made even nicer by the fact that it works), but (also again) it’s not like the first game was worse off without it.

All things considered, Super Mega Baseball 2 is, as I said, a very, very good arcade baseball game. It may not have the depth of an official MLB game, or the out-of-nowhere shock that made the first game such a pleasant surprise, but it works, and it’s fun. Compared to its competition this year, that makes for a monumental achievement.

Metalhead Software provided us with a Super Mega Baseball 2 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: A-