Long ago fans of baseball games on PC were treated to a wide assortment of options ranging from the accurate simulations to the absurd arcade recreations. Those days are gone, and the sport of baseball is getting a much more streamlined representation in the digital game world than it has in the past.
The supreme champion of baseball simulations has been crowned, but what about fans who are looking for a more accessible, light-hearted approach to America’s Favorite Pastime. I am happy to tell you that Super Mega Baseball 3 is here.
Super Mega Baseball is a simple, accessible baseball simulation wrapped in retro arcade style. The game is currently available on all gaming platforms, including PC, and it retails for $39.99. It can also be acquired for free using your Xbox Gamepass.
Super Mega Baseball 2 vs. Super Mega Baseball 3
For fans of the series, this may be the biggest question on their minds. Have the developers made significant improvements over the last iteration of the game? The answer is a resounding yes. The game maintains everything we love about Super Mega Baseball 2. Super Mega Baseball 3 doubles down on the fun the same way its title doubles down on superlatives.
So what exactly improved in the 3rd installation of the series?
One significant change is the introduction of the Franchise mode. Franchise mode allows players to build their ideal team through multiple seasons. Franchise mode adds a new strategic layer to an already enjoyable on-field experience.
The on-field experience has some fun new additions as well. At the root of baseball is the hitter versus pitcher matchup. This year’s game takes a step forward by including the instances of wild pitches based on your pitcher’s junk stat. The year’s game also gives players more control over runners who attempt to steal bases and allows pitchers to pick off runners.
Is Super Mega Baseball 3 Worth The Money?
Well, that is just subjective. I, for one, have greatly enjoyed the game and its additional features this year. The $39.99 price tag for this game may seem a little steep for some fans, but the value is there. Super Mega Ball is not a skimpy bargain bin title. It is a fully-realized baseball simulation with a heavy focus on fun and accessibility. The game features a plethora of play modes that will keep players of all types entertained.
I enjoyed the games award winning Franchise Mode. SMB3’s franchise mode was awarded Operation Sports Franchise Mode of The Year, beating out its competitors. The depth of this mode alone justifies the price tag.
The online play options included with SMB are also excellent. The game features online league play and, most importantly, is a cross-platform game that allows PC gamers to play with console players of all different types. No more living in the bubble with SMB3.
The Award-Winning Franchise Mode
In Super Mega Baseball three, we are treated to a few new modes, the most impressive of which is the Franchise Mode. Fans have been requesting this feature for years, and SMB3 not only delivers it, but they knocked this one out of the park. The solid mechanics of the franchise mode provide players with freedom and fun without bogging them down in minutia.
In franchise mode, you will control the strategic layer of a team over the years. You will watch players in their prime decline as father time steals their greatness, and you will see young players emerge as new greats. Players’ progress over time will be determined mainly by their on-field play and your assignment to the game’s various training tasks.
The team is yours to control. You will acquire and release players as you see fit. I found that over the years, I developed an affinity for specific players on my roster. Even as aging players could be replaced or released, I found myself holding on to the memories of when they were great and thus keeping a veteran around for one more run even when it wasn’t the most economically efficient decision.
Free agency in the game adds another layer to the mode’s strategic depth. Playing the financial game here is a challenge within itself. I found myself frantically checking the free agent roster to fill gaps and holes in my teams with quality players. At times I waited it out, waiting for demand for a particular free agent to go down, making him economically viable for my team. At other times I found myself praying that these players didn’t get picked up by a rival.
Tips and Tricks for New Players
So are you thinking about giving Super Mega Baseball a try? If so, here are a few tips to help you off to a great start.
Tip #1 Have It Your Way!
One of the features I enjoyed most in SMB3 was the ability to customize my league and my team from the outset. This, coupled with the ability to bring an old favorite team of mine from SMB2 and import them into the new game, added to the already colossal fun factor.
Tip #2 Swing Batta…Swing!
Despite Super Mega Baseball’s simplistic graphical presentation, the on-field action features a compelling pitcher versus batter duel. Players at the beginning of the game may find making solid contact with the ball is a challenge for newcomers. I would give new players this advice swing slightly earlier than you think you should, as it can be difficult to judge the moment when the ball arrives.
Tip #3 Practice Pitching Make It Perfect!
The strategic game of cat and mouse that is played between pitchers and batters is one of the most essential elements of any baseball video game, and SMB3 is no exception. Don’t get discouraged if you have trouble finding the plate in your first few outings. Don’t worry if you end up lofting a slow fat one over the plate for your opponent to send flying. First, you need to focus on mastering the pitch reticle’s timing! A little practice will go a long way.