Ahhh rounders. The great game where you try to hit a tennis ball with a wooden baton. Never has this sport truly been appreciated in the video game world. Metalhead Software is going against the grain with their latest release Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings. Wait a minute. What do you mean baseball? We’ve come for a rounders review. Has someone got some rules?
For years Sony’s License driven Hardball title MLG: The Show has been exactly that. The Show. More importantly it’s also been the only one in town with player likenesses, stats, stadiums all featuring prominently. When you look at a screenshot or trailer for Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings you can be forgiven for thinking that it’s a bit too kiddie and cartoony to really challenge any officially licensed title but the lack of player or teams names or stadiums really isn’t a drawback to Metalheads excursion into the sport.
As we get deeper and deeper into this generation of consoles the games themselves become more and more advanced with 5 button combinations to do a little flick not uncommon. Metalhead has done a great job at creating a low entry level with it possible to do absolutely everything with a press of the A button. That’s not to say that learning combinations and timings with the other buttons shouldn’t be too far from your thoughts to master the game, you just don’t need to.
The downside to everything being simple is that there isn’t truly much difference between the teams. They are broken down in to their specialised areas such as power hitters, super fielders, balanced and awesome pitchers and although the stats of each player is different, there also seems to be a lot of similarity amongst the teams. For example, the fact that every single pitcher can throw every single type of pitch it’s just how well that it is thrown that changes takes a little bit of gloss off. It does make for competitive games every single match though.
A unique aspect of the game is the Ego system, which is your difficulty setting, which allows you to select between 10-15 different stages of each difficulty level. This finally makes difficulty spikes much more manageable when you can choose the exact point the game becomes a challenge rather than a generalised setting. The fact that you change this setting in between games allows you to find your sweet spot very quickly. Certainly an aspect of game design that more developers should adopt.
Fielding is the simplest aspect of the game as it is controlled, in the main, by the AI up till Ego level 65. Once you hit that level you will have to start to take over and try and anticipate where the ball will actually land. Harder than you think when you consider that there is no marking on the pitch as to where the ball will land, only the shadow of the ball as it sails through the air.
There is an upgrade and training aspect to the game as well which unlocks the better you perform in games. These include stat boosts such as pitch speed, accuracy or batting power. Alternatively you can increase the Mojo of a player which gives a small boost as to how they are playing. Play well and they naturally increase their Mojo but play badly and the Mojo will soon hit the floor. This not only affects the stats of a player but also the performance during the course of a game.
Overall Super Mega Baseball is an enjoyable title that is great for wasting 20-30 minutes but for extended plays it starts to lose its personality. For those at their wits end that there is no Rounders titles in the pipeline, maybe you should consider dressing that game up in some star and stripes and get this added to your hard drive.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC Release Date: 14/08/2015
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of one week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.