Review by xMynDx
"A Mario game? Yes. A baseball game? No."
INTRODUCTION: As a long term Mario fan, and an avid baseball fan, I was compelled to purchase Superstar Mario Baseball soon after it came out, before ever reading any quality reviews, or looking at other information about it. Am I happy I did? Sort of.
STORY (N/A): So one of the first things we always discuss is storyline. However, I think we can all agree that Mario sports games are not made for their story, but rather just find some insanely boring way to link different courts, courses, or in this case stadiums, together. Somehow I'd almost prefer that they never included the story they did, because it is so VERY bad, but I'll give it a "N/A" because I don't believe this is what is important.
ADDICTIVENESS (7/10): This category is somewhat vague, but I think I can best characterize it as a mix of, "is it something that I'll keep playing a month after I got it?" and "is it something I'll play for more than a half hour without getting bored?" Surprisingly, the answer to both of these questions is yes... IF you play with someone else. The single player, although there are features (discussed later) that may be attractive to some, keeping them going, the whole single player mode is entirely dull. WIth a friend that enjoys it though, you may find yourself popping it back into your GameCube for a good 3 or 4 games (5 innings each).
GAMEPLAY/CONTROLS (4/10): And here is where the game really takes a hit. I included controls with gameplay because they affect it so strongly. So, as a Mario game, was I expecting an in depth hitting/pitching system featured in many games today? Of course not. This is a Mario Baseball game.... But that's not why we play it... and if you are looking for a simple hit/pitch game, this is for you. The ball can be curved from left to right, you can throw changeups, fastballs, and nearly useless star pitches (explained later). But, this isn't a negative thing necessarily, sometimes it's fun to just time a swing right and rip one without stressing your mind every pitch. But this ISN'T why Superstar Mario Baseball's gameplay suffers!
In many games, the "little flaws" often can be ignored for the greater good of the game... in this game, they can't be. There are a couple things you'll run into while playing that will have you crying (quite literally), as you will find you don't have as much control over your players as you would like. To name a couple,
1) You will find that when you have a man on base, and then hit a pop fly, your runners will immediately start running to the next base (they will not hesitate to tag up). Yes, there is a button to send them back, HOWEVER, by the time that you can see that the opponent is going to catch it (and often you won't be able to tell due to the camera), it will be too late to run back to the base to tag up. No, this is not me "sucking" or being incompetent. This WILL come up, and you WILL become extremely annoyed as the other team turns double and triple plays on you on a regular basis when they shouldn't be.
2) When fielding, the control you have over your players is LIMITED. Although the game should, and tries to naturally select which player is closest to the ball being hit (so that you can field it), it often fails. For example, the ball may be hit CLOSE to your third baseman (this happens on a regular basis) and you will gain control of your shortstop. Meanwhile, you were assuming the game was going to give you the third baseman, so you're diving for the ball in the wrong direction.
3) When you are fielding, there is a man on a base (lets say 2nd), and the ball is hit (lets say toward 3rd.. and it can be either a ground ball or line drive), while you SHOULD gain control of the third baseman, for an EASY catch, the third baseman will run to cover the base, and you will be unable to gain control of him, letting a ball hit directly toward your fielder right by.
These flaws are not minor by ANY means, and they appear quite frequently. Nonetheless, the game can still be fun.
The positives? There will be obstacles on some of the fields that can increase the fun of gameplay (although may also induce frustration), and there are fair number of characters. Unfortunately, a bad pitcher or bad hitter may significantly ruin a whole team due to the flaws above. Lastly, yes, there IS such a thing as a bad player. Although we think that the characters are supposed to be somewhat balanced, they are not, as some will repeatedly cause you misery (the pianta comes to mind).
REPLAY VALUE (9/10): The replay value is pretty high, as you will find in solo mode there are many different missions to complete (e.g., "hit a walk off home run with mario), and there are four difficulties. Is it repetitive though? Yes. Will you be able to stand completing these objectives? Probably not.
Overall, the game gets a 6/10. I wanted to like it, I really did, and it's not a BAD game. However, the game's flaws become very destructive to the whole game, and totally ruins what could have been a hit (no pun intended).
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 10/31/06
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