As our mission to conquer Brawl has been winding down, I went out and picked up two new Wii games to try out. I intended on only spending 40 bucks on games this week, so I combed through the used Wii games at Gamestop to get two or three titles to keep me amused. I was ready to get in line with Force Unleashed and Sega Superstar Tennis (my hardon for Sonic and gimmicky sports games is huge) when I passed a game I needed to own: Mario Super Sluggers.
As I just mentioned, I have a hard on for gimmicky sports games, and Mario sports are quite possibly my favorite breed. While I have owned many sports games, like Maddens, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, All-Star Baseball and etc, I always enjoyed the Mario sports titles far more. With other games, it is time consuming to really accomplish anything, while in the Mario games you can simply spend the initial couple of hours unlocking all the characters and then you just play at your leisure either alone or with friends. I will go ahead and say it- I prefer Mario sports games to actual sports games. I just have far more fun with them. When Mario Baseball game out for the Gamecube, I picked it up and loved it. I have spent countless hours at my friend Cory's house having heated series against him. The game was full of glory and heartbreak for me. In all honesty, Mario Baseball was the first console game I ever was legitimately competitive in. So naturally, I had to buy this game. I put back Sega Tennis, and dropped 60 dollars on Force Unleashed and Mario Sluggers.
Here is the section where I explain in detail how Mario Super Sluggers struck out. This game is nothing but frustration. First of all, quite possibly the most annoying thing in the game is how the game utilizes the wii mote for speed boosts. In the first mario baseball, you could repeatedly tap A to dash, but in this game, you need to wave the wii mote back and forth to run faster. The huge issue is that you need to do a similar motion to swing the bat and throw. This is a huge problem as you wind up dashing after a ball in the field, and when you finally get to it, you are throwing it unintentionally to whatever base your control stick is running towards.Sometimes it works out for you, most of the time it doesn't. This is also an issue when you are trying to straight steal a base. As you send your runner, you start shaking your wii mote to make him dash, but at the same time you swing and either foul it off, swing at a shitty pitch, or you hit a shitty pop up and possibly get into a double play. Other then running the bases, dash is completely useless.
Secondly, one of my largest complaints is the camera used for fielding. The camera follows the ball instead of switch to the field camera to show you where the ball is going. On line drives or flies to the outfield that would you could have caught in the first game, become incredibly impossible to catch in this one unless you guess the location perfectly. You can see if the ball is going right or left of your character, but you cannot judge distance at all. It makes me more frustrated then anything when a lazy pop drops because by the time it shows me where the ball is heading it is already for sure dropping in there for a hit.
Next, my "this aspect of the game is not worth the effort" complaint comes in the character unlock system. In the first game the system was basic, but it made sense and was situational. You would challenge a team, and certain characters on that teams roster would join yours if you did certain things within your game with them. For instance, if you struck out a player, or stole a base, or drove in a run, a certain character flagged. These little challenges made perfect, beautiful sense in the situation and normally actually helped you win the ballgame. In Super Sluggers though, unlocking most characters is done through aggravating challenges that are outside of a game. You will find yourself choosing one character to face another character in a challenge like "Hit the ball to all fields!" and it will make you hit it randomly to either right, center or left. The Wii motes response delay does not help this challenge. Making it near impossible. The point is, these character unlocks really do not mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Most of the characters are not even worth the effort to get them.
Biggest complaint of all. The Star Power system. In the first game, the star power was a gift. You had to be smart when using it, because the opportunity to get another star was small, and you had to either get the out in the field, or get a hit at the plate to get a star. Having stars could mean the difference between winning and losing. If you had the star advantage in the last inning when you needed that strike out, or needed to punch that ball through the infield, you most likely had a good chance to win. In Super Sluggers stars are no big deal. The star gauge charges up at all times if you do something good, seems like a decent idea until you realize that the computer is throwing a star pitch every at bat, and using it every at bat. You can play this way too, but honestly its not fun to use it each time you feel like it. If everyday you got presents, christmas would not be as special would it? Exactly. Star power is a joke now, there is no risk in using it whenever, since you can do it all again in 20 seconds. It completely ruined this mechanic in the game, which happens to be one of the draws of the Mario sport games.
Lastly, items annoy the fuck out of me. Again, items are a part of the Mario sports concept (think Mario Kart), but much like Star power, items are way to easy and frequent. Imagine each time you accelerate in Mario Kart you got an item, it would just make everything a clusterfuck. Exactly what happens in Mario Super Sluggers. The computer will whore items while at bat, making fielding even harder. When you are bat, using items is annoying as hell. You need to point the wii mote at the screen to aim and fire your item off. Which means you cannot be dashing with your base runners. The dash mechanic really messes up alot of the other mechanics as I am noticing.
All in all, I am extremely disappointed in this game. Nintendo may full well have ruined a very good title with this installment to the Mario Baseball name. They tried to incorporate the wii mote as ineffectively as possible, and overload content to the point of making it annoying. This game is a disaster. I will continue to play it, as my little brother loves it and thinks he can beat me (a hurr hurr hurr) so maybe Ill re-review at some point.