Have you ever seen Bioshock's Andrew Ryan hit Chell from Portal with a baseball? How about Jack from Mass Effect scratch her ass before inducing a pop-fly from Revolver Oceleot? Geralt of Rivia locking up Ghost Pirate LeChuck with a nasty curveball? I've seen those things, and more, in Super Mega Baseball 2, after I created a team of video game good guys and pitted them against a team of video game bad guys. Settle in for nine innings of the Protagonists versus the Antagonists!
I started by using Super Mega Baseball 2's character customization tools to create a bunch of gaming protagonists. You can enlarge the image below by clicking on the upper-right corner:
I know these aren't all fantastic realizations of the characters, but there's only a handful of head-shapes to choose from, and just a few different body types. In fact, you can kinda tell almost everyone has the exact same head, and it's only the baseball card poses that give them a little flair. Still, I did my best, and tried to sweeten the pot with some customization of their gear, like Freeman's orange bat, Duke's sleeveless jersey, Snake's robot hand (it's just a batting glove, but looks kinda metal), and so on. I also kinda ran out of ideas for playable characters, hence the inclusion of Jack from Mass Effect (though I like her tattoo sleeves) and Vault Boy from the Fallout series.
Here are the Antagonists:
Creating bad guys was even tougher since I can only use humans: no aliens, no demons, no robots, no monsters, no alien demon robot monsters. I guess I'm most happy with starting pitcher Andrew Ryan—he definitely has the look of smug self-importance about him. Kane from Command and Conquer looks OK, too, though I had to name him 'Just Kane' because the roster requires a first and last name (hence my fudging of Chell and Jack on the good-guy side).
I admit I didn't have the energy to do a lot of work the bad guys' gear or their jersey numbers (with the heroes I tried to make all their numbers have some relevance either to them or their games). Here, I just gave Pagan Min some pink sleeves and called it done.
With my teams ready, it's time to play ball! I'm controlling the Protags, AI is handling the Antags. Batter up!
With Andrew Ryan sneering on the mound for the Antagonists, Guybrush Threepwood steps to the plate and promptly singles to right. Trevor Phillips from GTA 5 follows with a single to center, and Max Payne singles as well, though Threepwood rounds third (it's my fault because I told him to) and is tagged out sliding into home. Snake fouls off several pitches and embarrassingly strikes out, probably wishing he had a wormhole to disappear into. Chell strikes out too, leaving two runners stranded (you monster).That could have gone better, heroes!
My starting pitcher, Duke Nukem, gives up a leadoff double to Mr. Freeze, then leaves a cut fastball over the plate to Kylo Ren, who clobbers it 443 feet over the fence for a home run. Just like that, the Antagonists are up 2-0 in the first inning. If there's a silver lining, I guess it's nice to see Ren smile a bit. He's a bit of a sulker, typically.
In the top of the second inning, CJ from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas gets a leadoff single, but Doom Guy, perhaps used to Mars' gravity, grounds into a double play. While Gordon Freeman wordlessly gets on base, he's left there like a common Adrian Shephard. So far, my collection of assembled heroes aren't showing me much at the plate! Due up for the Antags are Far Cry 3's Vaas, Olivia Pierce from Doom, and Zachary Comstock of Bioshock Infinite. Duke puts the bad guys down 1-2-3 without even using a shrink ray.
Guybrush singles again in the third inning—it's very unlike him to be good at something—and Trevor angrily rips one into the gap in right center, driving Threepwood home. The Protags are on the board! Andrew Ryan hits Chell with a pitch (she's had worse things happen), but she's left stranded on first. Should have brought a portal gun. It's 2-1, Antagonists.
To retaliate for Chell, I make Duke throw at Ryan's head, and the industrialist shows he's actually quite limber. He's a real limbertarian. Duke plunks him on the next pitch, though, and Ryan snootily takes first base. Harley Quinn is good with a bat and rips a grounder that looks like trouble, but CJ makes a beautiful diving catch (I told him to dive, so I'm taking the credit), and we get safely out of the inning.
In the fourth inning, Agent 47 takes the mound for the Protags. With two out, Vaas gets fooled by a changeup and whiffs. He just keeps swinging at the same pitch over and over, expecting shit to change. That's insanity. Agent 47 stalks off the field with a stony scowl. Feels appropriate. He's pitching so well I don't even care if he strangled the real pitcher for his uniform.
In the fifth inning Andrew Ryan is sent to the Vita-Chamber for a shower, replaced by Borderland 2's Handsome Jack. The Protags get a runner on, but again can't score. In the bottom of the inning, 47 continues to murder it: he strikes out Olivia Pierce, Comstock flies out, and Kane, now in the game for Vaas, grounds to second base. How are you going to conquer the world if you can't conquer a breaking ball?
In the top of sixth inning the Protags load the bases with no outs, and up to the plate steps Doom Guy. The ultimate hero. The biggest badass. The one man you can always count on to beat the odds.
And I bench him. Look, I love Doom Guy, but he's 0-for-2 today. I don't care how many demons he's killed, I need a contact hitter! I make one of those tough choices a manager has to make when he's running a baseball team staffed with fictional video game characters, and I sub in Life Is Strange's Maxine Caulfield.
She grounds to second, a 4-6-3 double play. Okay, it's not quite the best result of a three-on, no-out situation, and unfortunately I can't rewind time and try it again. A runs scores, at least, and the game is tied 2-2.
As good 47 as is doing, I have to put Tracer in to pinch hit for him. I guess she blinked: she hits a feeble grounder to the pitcher for an out. Dammit! My bench sucks. Guybrush gets his fourth (!) hit of the game, a stand-up double. He moves to third on a Trevor Philips single, and scores on a Max Payne hit. Good thing I went with the young Payne and not the old Payne or the Marky Mark Payne. 3-2, Protags!
We reach the top of the eighth, with Bioshock 2's Sofia Lamb now pitching for the Antagonists with a spliced-finger fastball. I put in Marcus Halloway from Watch Dogs 2 who, instead of hacking at pitches (ha ha), draws a walk. Another walk from Guybrush loads the bases for Trevor. He pops out weakly to the catcher. I guess he couldn't make it through the game without drinking.
Geralt (of Rivia) comes in to close because I've forgotten it's the 8th inning and not the 9th. Whoops! Ghost Pirate LeChuck strikes out on a nasty curve, tries to break his bat over his leg, and fails. Alma Wade (F.E.A.R.) steps to the plate and sees the only thing scarier than herself: a 94 mph fastball that nibbles the corner for strike three. Good showing from Geralt. We needed a Witcher, not a belly-itcher, and he delivered.
Max Payne leads off the top of the ninth with a single, and Snake hits a frozen rope into left center, scoring Payne from all the way from first! It's 4-2 Protags. With an insurance run across the plate, we head into the bottom of the ninth. Mr. Freeze freezes up looking at a monster curve, Harley Quinn's bat proves useless, and Kylo Ren can't force his weak grounder past the infield. The game is over and so are my terrible puns. The Protagonists win, 4-2!
I'm not sure which is worse, that the Protags had 16 hits on the day and only managed four runs, or that the Antagonists had a total of two hits (and one beanball) the entire game. Agent 47 gets the win (for the virtue of being on the mound when his team took the lead), Geralt gets the save, and Handsome Jack takes the L. The hero of the day is clearly Guybrush, who went 4-4 with two runs and a walk.
This is perhaps a roundabout way of saying Super Mega Baseball is fun, especially when you use the customization tools to replace the randomized players that come with it. If you want to see a bit of video, you can watch the final two innings of the game below. We'll have a review up in the near future.