Super Mega Baseball 3 — Chris On Videogames Review

Most major sports games — your NBA 2Ks, your Maddens, your FIFAs, your MLB The Shows — translate physical sports into virtual games in a way that prioritizes real-world fidelity. These games look almost indistinguishable from the version of the sport you watch on TV, and the real world players and teams perform just as well or as poorly as you’d expect. But because these games prioritize real-world fidelity, they can also often feel rigid and random. Because of the way statistics govern much of what happens on screen, playing these games can often feel like you’re more of a spectator than a participant.

Super Mega Baseball 3 inverts this formula. Much like “extreme” sports games like NFL Blitz and NBA Jam or innovative abstractions like Rocket League, this game doesn’t quite look like real world baseball, but it feels substantially closer to the real thing than most of its rivals.

Many baseball fans will see this game and write it off immediately. They will laugh derisively when they see that the game doesn’t have an MLB license and is therefore populated by fictional teams with goofy names like the “Hot Corners.” They will roll their eyes when they see the game’s slightly cartoonish characters and silly “Pyramid Investments” advertisements on the outfield walls. And they will shake their heads when they see the floaty way the ball sails through the air and the simple mechanics for batting, pitching, and fielding.

But if these skeptics actually pick up the controller and play the game, they will slowly begin noticing a beauty in Super Mega Baseball 3’s details. They will begin noticing that batting, though simple, is perfectly responsive to your inputs: swinging too early or too late will induce a lot of foul balls, while aiming too low on the ball causes a lot of infield pop ups. They’ll notice that, although the running animations may look a bit slow, close plays at first base are perfectly timed, and double plays are just as challenging as they should be. They’ll notice that fielding a pop fly without a big circular indicator on the ground requires tracking the ball’s path through the air, just as you would in real life.

If they play it, the skeptics will slowly realize that, unlike most sports games, Super Mega Baseball 3 prioritizes your inputs instead of the statistics of the players you’re controlling, making for an experience that feels much closer to playing baseball in the real world.

Yes, this game doesn’t have big name players or real-world stadiums, but this increased level of control lets you get closer to the things that make baseball great, like the feeling of hitting a homerun when you perfectly square up a pitch, or snagging a sharply hit ground ball, or throwing the perfect curveball that fools your opponent.

It’s those things, not visual fidelity or licensed properties, that make baseball beautiful, and Super Mega Baseball 3 captures that beauty better than any other game out there.

Chris On Videogames is videogame criticism that’s short, sharp, and insightful. New reviews are published every other Friday on Substack and YouTube — subscribe on either platform to get reviews a week before they arrive on Medium.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store