Not one of the most popular sports in Italy, but one of the symbols of American sports culture. We are not talking about basketball, but about baseball, where the season has entered the heart of its activities, not only on real fields, but also on virtual gaming fields. After the release of the title a few months ago MLB The Show 23 (here our review) which once again remains the focal point of reference for lovers of this sport, now there are other opportunities to show off one’s skills, club in hand. For lovers of Major League Baseball it’s time to make base with the arrival of Super Mega Baseball 4, now available on PC, PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. We tested this new release of the franchise developed by Electronic Arts on the next-gen console from Sony, of which we tell you about the numerous game options and the in-depth gameplay in our review. Ready to become i baseball champs on PlayStation 5? We tried!
Super Mega Baseball 4: The return of Metalhead Software’s baseball
Fourth and most recent chapter of the video game series born from the studio of Metalhead Software towards the end of 2014, these productions were immediately received positively, thanks to the ironic and fresh reinterpretation of the world of professional baseball. Nine years after the release of the first title, the Canadian software house has therefore not followed the classic timing of the annual release of a dedicated title, also and above all due to the lack of an official license from the MLB, but has taken a little more time and calm to gradually carry out one’s projects. At this point the fourth chapter arrives at the end of May 2023, which follows the false line of the previous ones in terms of sarcastic and caricature tone of voice. Three years after the previous release, this title can also be considered a good choice to take into consideration, keeping its exaggerated vision unchanged and with many caricatures of American baseball. Among the most evident, the blatant attitudes towards the diamond and athletes with an exaggeratedly grotesque physiognomy, but so stereotypically representing the melting pot of the US population. We can admire these characters in the different game options provided by the software, with a good balance between arcade and simulation experience and allowing you to lower or raise the degree of difficulty by varying different parameters. We can thus act onego, customizable to make the artificial intelligence more or less effective on certain aspects, such as pitching and serving. Fortunately, there are also tutorials for newbies of the genre, and of the franchise, thus reviewing the various game dynamics, which we analyze below in a little more detail.
In search of the winning agreement, in the chaos of the interface
As announced, the development team didn’t want to upset a rather balanced gameplay, achieved over the years and experience in this sector, but especially for a new baseball player, the presence of so many icons on the screen could create more confusion than necessary. For this reason, the risk is of being faced with a chaotic and sometimes confusing and difficult to understand interface, thus invalidating the reading of the match and the statistics of the various innings. So it takes some time, and some tutorials, before you can really start to appreciate the combination of simplicity and depth of the development of an inning, between offensive and defensive phases, in addition to the more strategic plays and the possibility of manually select the various athletes to guide them from base to base or in fetching a ball. In this regard, the pitch and serve system works well, but with some complexity in the initial approach in the learning phase, as well as being influenced by the fatigue of the various players, by the statistics and by the pressure, some of the many available traits designed to each of them. Further confusion can be dictated by the presence of 5 different chemistry types and a total of 75 strokeseach associated with a different type of understanding, even if we will gradually discover that the operation is mechanical and simple. If the team is made up of at least 3 players with a certain type of chemistry, all the traits of that chemistry will have a boost if they are positive, while the penalty will be slightly reduced if they are negative. Thus, the more players with the same chemistry type, the greater the effects on traits. In addition to this aspect, two important aspects are dictated by the team chemistry and by the traits of the players, capable of adding more strategy to the composition of one’s team and which allow you to make a more precise choice when you are one on one in the diamond of game. There is no distinction between players on the pitch or on the bench, they all contribute to defining team chemistry. However, we remind you that everything will not be made easier by theabsence of localization in Italian, especially for newcomers to this sport curious to approach it. There will be many difficult terms to understand and the underlying strategies to implement, a not negligible undertaking to complete for those who don’t already know this sport.
The news of the fourth chapter
So how does this fourth title differ from the previous ones of the same franchise? The most evident novelties here are mainly related to theimplementation of the Shuffle Draft system, which allows you to take part in drafts in which to mix fictitious and real athletes. The development team has decided to give space to even more two hundred champions of the pastrecreated with a caricatured look, including big names like John Franco, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Babe Ruth and others, mixed in a logic not too dissimilar from draft mode of card games. At this point, the verystrategic aspect of the combination between players and synergies similar to improve traits and to create a competitive team in many respects. Since Super Mega Baseball 4 is a game that favors the indulgence of strategies and game modes, this is consequently a pleasant addition, albeit not as impactful and decisive as the Franchise mode added at the time. Looking at another novelty, when personalizing the athletes, between names and aesthetics in the present editor, the developers have improved the general presentation of the matches and added a large number of contextual animations based on what is happening on the field. There is no shortage of new over the top attitudes and skits following a few intentional hits on the head of a batter or after a sensational home run. However, these pleasant and enjoyable traits fail to give results up to the quality shown in MLB The Show, with a overall realization not always impeccable and sometimes lame, but not affecting the general gaming experience. About that, too this next-gen version of the baseball world works fine on PlayStation 5 softwarewithout loading and performance problems of the graphics engine during the game phases between one game and another.
Piattaforme: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S
Sviluppatore: Metalhead Software Inc.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Super Mega Baseball 4 is the worthy sequel to a franchise that knows its stuff, especially in terms of fun and distinctive elements in the characterization of its characters, as well as knowing how to recover the big names of the athletes who have trampled the fields over time of this sport. There’s been a clear work on the amount of content in this chapter, with the addition of new ballparks and a considerable number of traits that can make the comparisons between pitcher and hitter more interesting. The mechanics also feature greater cohesion between individual players and their impact on the team. However, there is still work to be done in terms of both customization, with a few steps forward undertaken from this point of view and not reaching a high performance either in this field, or in graphic performance, balanced however by a good functioning of the next software -gen we tested this title on. Finally, players already accustomed to the genre could experience much less complications than newbies due to the lack of effective explanations of terms and methods present in Italian, a localization that sometimes makes its absence felt heavily. Net of some defects, it is still a well-conceived sports title and able to sufficiently satisfy the players.