This particular writer has never had much fascination with sports games; there's just something about playing a virtual game that does its best to approximate a real game that just comes off as a pointless endeavour. The medium of video games allows for limitless potential, so why restrain the rules to those of real life? Super Mega Baseball 2 answers this question with bombast, building upon the foundational rules of baseball with suitably crazy and arcade-like features. The end result is something that will hopefully make for a great party game when it launches later this year.
Metalhead Software made sure to go back to the drawing board with this iteration, doing its best to respond to criticisms and build upon strengths found in the original. Gone are the overly cartoony, disproportionate players; they've been replaced with more realistic, yet still stylised, equivalents. Also, this sequel will see the addition of online multiplayer, along with greatly expanded customisation options in regards to the teams and leagues that can be organised. If there's one thing that was immediately evident to us, it's that Metalhead is doing its best to pull out all the stops this time around.
Gameplay is quite enjoyable as well, relying on a fairly deep series of timed button inputs to gain the edge over the opponent. To hit the ball, you just need to get the reticule in the right place, but there's options in terms of how hard you hit. Pitching is similar, utilising the sticks to decide where the ball will go and what kind of spin it will have. It came as no small relief that the controls felt quite intuitive for the most part and were quite easy to pick up. What's most enticing about all this, however, is the apparent skill ceiling on the varying interlocking mechanics. We obviously didn't get to spend too long familiarising ourselves with the game, but the finesse required to perform many actions seems to imply that this is a game which will be easy to play yet hard to master.
Super Mega Baseball 2 will be a very welcome addition to the PS4's blossoming local multiplayer library
Multiplayer is obviously the primary selling point, and we can confirm that at least local multiplayer is a roaring good time. All of the information for both teams, such as where the batter is aiming and where the pitcher is aiming, is included on the same screen, meaning that there's always several layers of mind games at play. Success is largely found, then, in outmanoeuvring your opponent, such as changing a ball's spin at the last minute, or choosing to bunt instead of swing. The back and forth nature of innings keeps the gameplay fresh while giving everyone an equal try, and things naturally get much more competitive as time passes and the stakes slowly get higher. And, of course, there's no feeling like nailing a home run and taking a moment to gloat as you both watch your players run the bases.
Super Mega Baseball 2 is shaping up to nail that perfect line between realism and fantasy. The colourful characters and arcade-like gameplay elements keep things suitably fresh and interesting, but it's all just grounded enough in realism that things don't get ridiculously over the top. Metalhead Software has done a good job of crafting an easy to approach, multiplayer-centric party game, and it'll be a very welcome addition to the PS4's blossoming local multiplayer library. Keep an eye on this one.
Will you be batting for Super Mega Baseball 2 when it releases on the PS4 this year? Hit a hard one in the comments section below.