(Photo courtesy of: Polygon) “Red Sox legend David Ortiz is one of the real-life legends added to ‘Super Mega Baseball 4.'”
After a three-year hiatus, baseball fans can now rejoice as “Super Mega Baseball 4” has been released. Did Metalhead Software continue their winning ways with the fourth installment in the Super Mega Baseball franchise? Mostly.
To start, there are many things that Super Mega Baseball 4 got right. For example, they added real life players to the game such as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Bartolo Colon, Vladimir Guerrero, and David Ortiz. In total, there are now 242 legends in the game. Having the option to play with or against legends of the sport is always a welcome site in sports video games. This allows for more variation and customization across the different modes, like season and franchise.
Speaking of franchise mode, it has been updated with new features that fans have been asking for, most notable being resigning players. In the last game, it was very hard to resign a player if they became a free agent. The biggest issue was not knowing how much to sign a player for as there was no indication of how much money they wanted. Many users lost players they wanted to keep because the free agency system was pretty much random and almost unfair.
Metalhead listened to the player feedback and added in a new system. Users can now see a player’s loyalty and their loyalty is influenced by the performance of the team and user decisions. Occasionally, after completing a game, the user will have to make a choice between two different players that will impact their loyalty. The higher a player’s loyalty, the more likely they will stay on the team.
Additionally, users can now see an estimate of a players worth, which gives them a sense of what that player would want if they became a free agent. This allows the user to keep the players they want, as well as construct a full team within the salary cap confines.
Another notable addition to Franchise Mode was the ability to start a league with a fantasy draft. Even though this element is enjoyable, it is limited: the user can only choose the players given to them at random. However, it is still a great addition that allows for more varied and fresher gameplay.
To go along with the player abilities, there is now five different team chemistries to choose from. There is Competitive, Spirited, Disciplined, Scholarly and Crafty. Users can now mix and match different chemistry styles to try and get better boosts to their players abilities. This adds another layer of challenge and reward to those who want to make the best team possible.
With all that this game does right, it suffers immensely from three things: no import feature, DLC stadiums and the game is just too expensive for what it is.
For those unaware, there was an option in SMB3 to import your teams from SMB2. This feature allowed users to jump right in with their teams that they had spent so much time creating and playing with. But now, there is no feature to do that, and it is hard to understand why. Removing this feature is a huge disappointment for some longtime fans, as they simply don’t have the time to go through and remake their teams. It’s a feature that many believe should have been included since it was already done before. This is one of the reasons the game didn’t have a phenomenal launch, but that was only part of it. The other part of it was the launch price of the game.
At launch, SMB4 retailed at $49.99, but that was just the standard edition of the game. There is also another version of the game called “Ballpark Edition”, which retailed at $59.99, andincludes extra stadium options that will be released over time.
Why does an arcade baseball video game have a premium version available? That content should be included with the game at launch or released for free over time. If the user didn’t purchase the
premium edition, they will have to pay $4.99 for each stadium not included at launch. Content should not be behind a paywall especially in an arcade baseball video game.
Overall, “Super Mega Baseball 4” is a great entry into the franchise. The changes and additions to the game are welcome. However, the removal of an import feature will take time away from the actual game and hiding new content behind a paywall isn’t the right direction for an arcade baseball video game to explore. Even with the negative comments discussed, Metalhead Software has continued their winning ways and delivered a fun, arcade style baseball game fans of all ages can enjoy.