Super Mega Baseball 4 review for PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch

Platform: PS5
Also on: PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: EA
Developer: Metalhead Studios
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

Even though I’ve been a huge fan of Super Mega Baseball for years, I was a little nervous about Super Mega Baseball 4. After all, it’s the first game from Metalhead Software since they were acquired by Electronic Arts back in 2021, and I worried about what larger profile and (presumably?) larger budget would mean for a game that was all about being a fun, straightforward version of baseball. Add in the news that Super Mega Baseball 4 would be the first to feature real (albeit retired) MLB players, and I felt kind of like the fan of an indie rock band who’ve just signed with a major label.

Then I started playing, immediately hit a line drive off Randy Johnson’s head, and realized all was right with Super Mega Baseball 4.

I mean, it’s definitely bigger budget than previous iterations of the series. You have the real players like David Ortiz and Mike Schmidt occupying roster spots alongside SMB mainstays like Hammer Longballo, Yoink Sax, and Grey Sandwalker. You have more stadiums. You have more game modes, including a “Creators Classic” that looks like it was solely introduced to get attention from prominent baseball YouTubers. You have more teams. You have a pretty robust editing tool that allows you to edit team logos, uniforms, and players – the latter being not quite the Create-A-Player mode I was hoping for when I wrote in the above-linked review that SMB4 would be my presumptive 2023 GOTY, but still being pretty in-depth.

But even with all those new bells and whistles, Super Mega Baseball 4 still feels like it did way back when the first game came out nine years ago – which is to say, it’s the best pick-up-and-play baseball game available. Just like the first Super Mega Baseball game felt like a continuation of RBI Baseball back in the NES days, Super Mega Baseball 4 is the kind of game you can enjoy even if you aren’t particularly a baseball fan.

Admittedly, it helps if you’re a baseball fan, since there’s a crazy amount of tinkering you can do here that’s probably more fun if you’re a fan of the sport. There’s roster and line-up management, obviously, but you also get to invest in player development – albeit with a distinctly SMB-esque flavour, since the activities are things like skydiving, going on a vegan diet, and taking in a comedy show. The game also has a chemistry trait, which matters when you’re worried about how players will feel about signing – or re-signing – with your team.

What matters most, though, is that the on-field action is still lots of fun. While the MLB ringers seem to tend to have higher ratings than most new players, it’s not like Super Mega Baseball 4 skewed it so that the pro players dominate the competition. As I noted above, a Hall of Famer like Randy Johnson isn’t exempt from taking a line drive off the skull (and crumpling in hilarious fashion), nor is it uncommon for an SMB-created player to strike out legends like Ernie Banks. Even the Creators Classic mode, which I was worried would be an excuse for the game to pander to YouTubers, doesn’t seem completely out of place, and even if – like me – you have no idea who Jomboy or Shelfy are, it doesn’t impact the flow or the style of the game.

At this point, there’s not much I can say about Super Mega Baseball 4 that I didn’t already say about Super Mega Baseballs 1, 2, and 3: like its predecessors, it’s an outstanding baseball game that’s a lot more fun to play than the annualized PlayStation flagship MLB game. Any worries that a higher profile or a bigger budget would hurt the game are unfounded. In fact, four games in, this might just be the best Super Mega Baseball game yet.

EA provided us with a Super Mega Baseball 4 PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: A