If you read my review last year of Super Mega Baseball 2 you would know that I was really happy to get not only a baseball game on the Switch, but a very good one. I was excited to see that the sequel, aptly named Super Mega Baseball 3, would be coming out this spring. I was also very curious how last year’s game would be improved upon given that there is no MLB license, meaning this can’t just be a “roster update” that so many sports games get accused of. In other words, will this update be worth the upgrade price after only a year?
The biggest new addition to this year’s game is a franchise mode. I didn’t expect that this mode would be as in depth at MLB: The Show over on PlayStation 4, and I was right in assuming that. You have a budget that you need to allocate between having players signed for contracts and using some of that budget to upgrade your players. For the most part it is a fun balance and one that the developers say they can adjust as they get more feedback to help keep the game fair. However, signing players is a little odd and, unless I’m missing something, you can only sign players for one year contracts.
I was also bummed that there is no way to trade players with other teams, despite searching for the ability to do so for quite a long time (you can release and sign new players with a free agent pool, but not directly with another team). Despite those quirks I did appreciate the other aspects of franchise. The player progression or regression felt right. Older players got worse as they got older and younger players got better but at different rates. I would say the franchise is off to a good start. The lack of MLB players hampers the simulation experience and the emotional attachment to that comes with them.
Another aspect of the game that was updated this year was the addition of more teams and stadiums. Neither are a significant jump as the teams go from 16 to 20 and the stadiums jump from 10 to 14. While not a huge amount, when you are playing many games over and over it’s nice to have the extra variety. With the lack of the MLB license for the players, teams, and even the stadiums, the developers had to use some imagination to come up with unique venues. Each of the stadiums are unique and have the added feature this year of being able to host games at different times of day or night. The graphics have also been updated this year but is very subtle as the game has a cartoony aesthetic as it is.
Many other aspects of the game feel carried over from last year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since much of the foundations of the game are very solid. The excellent gameplay feels very similar to last year’s game. This includes the pitching interface, in which you select a pitch and then have to move a cursor to a spot. How quickly and accurate you are able to do so determines the accuracy of the pitch. The Ego system is back, allowing you select between 0-99 to adjust the overall difficulty of the game.
Super Mega Baseball 3 also continues to be a highly customizable series. Team names, team logos, player names and more are all able to be adjusted. I really appreciated that I was able to personalize my franchise anywhere from 16 to 200 games per season while changing my games to any number of innings I wanted. The game pace is quick, but I still liked making my games only 5 innings while playing 32 game seasons.
There are a couple returning things that I do wish were improved upon though. Super Mega Baseball 3 still does not have announcers. I know that it’s likely an expense this developer may not be able to take on, but I still need to point out that it is missed. And, of course, I cannot go further into this review without bluntly saying that I really wish this game had the MLB players and team licenses. With its amazing gameplay it’s just a shame it can’t include the real life players and teams. If they could wrangle a license the game would easily shoot up to one of my top of the year. In the meantime I do find it very cool that the players in the game are a wide variety of ages, races, and even both male and female.
I have been enjoying Super Mega Baseball 3. The new franchise mode is simple compared with other sports games but is still very enjoyable. The new stadiums and teams are also nice additions to have. However, if you played last year’s version I am just not sure there is enough to pull you in this year. The lack of MLB license makes this more apparent as there won’t be an incentive to have the latest additions to your favorite real life team. The gameplay is great, but it was last year too. If you’re completely new to the series, jump in with this one as it’s a fantastic baseball experience you can take with you anywhere you go. However, if you own Super Mega Baseball 2 and franchise mode doesn’t really appeal to you, there’s no reason to rush out and purchase this one.
Super Mega Baseball 3 Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 9.5/109.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Super Mega Baseball 3 retains the wonderful gameplay from the prior game and the bottom line is that it’s just plain fun to play. The addition of franchise mode is sure to excite some gamers and this is a great iteration of the franchise to begin with. However, if you already own Super Mega Baseball 2, the price of admission may be too steep for this sequel.