Out of the Park Baseball 14 Review - Does it Hit a Homerun?
Out of the Park Baseball 14 is the latest text-based baseball simulator by Out of the Park Developments. For any fan of baseball simulators, or any sport for that matter, you will feel right at home in OOTPB. Despite simulating the game that is Baseball, it can be enjoyed by fans of various sports, baseball lover or not. I’ve heard that text-based simulators are on the way out, that the audience is shrinking. Out of the Park Baseball proves that is not the case.
Out of the Park Baseball’s biggest selling point is it’s customization. From creating your own leagues and teams, to rewriting history, changing finances, holding drafts or changing your League’s rules and options, there is literally nothing which can’t be changed in Out of the Park Baseball to give you a unique Game World. This is what makes it so enjoyable,
In OOTPB you can do anything a real General Manager can do. Complete trades, sign and fire staff, manage every game by calling the strategy as the game unfolds, draft picks, manage your finances etc, so much so that I can’t list it all. Historical play is also available, allowing you the chance to change the course of history or play out any season from the late 1800′s to the present day, with accurately detailed rosters and realistic stats.
OOTPB offers multiple ways of playing the game your way. Create your league, add in logo’s, edit the team jersey’s and watch as the gameworld evolves. Whether that is managing your own franchise or allowing the game to simulate for long periods. If you are more hands on and want to get stuck into the action, you can become a general manager and build your franchise. This could be starting in the minor leagues and working your way up, or diving straight in with the NY Yankees or any other MLB Franchise. You could even just create your very own team.
When you load up OOTPB, you have 4 main options to choose from with regards to starting a new game.
The first one is “New Major League Game”. Selecting this starts your game-world at the start of the 2013 Baseball season with the 2013 rosters. All MLB franchises are available to begin managing, or you could join a minor league team, or just start unemployed. (Its worth noting that the team’s do not feature their real logo’s or team jersey’s. However these are available as an add-on created by the community and can be downloaded in-game.)
The next option is “New Historical Game”. This is one of the most popular modes in OOTPB. Basically this mode allows you to start in the any season from 1871 to 2012. Team rosters, player stats, attendances and finances are all simulated as realistically as possible for the season you begin to play in. You don’t just play one season, for example you could begin in the Year 1912 and play as many years as you want. There is no limit here.
Another mode available is “New Custom Game”. You select the country, the leagues, the teams, the rules etc. This mode allows you to create your very own baseball league. You can make any kind of national and continental league you could imagine. Why not even add in a baseball world cup? Anything and everything is possible. This is my favourite game mode, as it allows you to create your own unique baseball world while changing any variables at any time.
The last game mode is a “Quick start Game”. This mode allows you to play in a pre-configured game-world. You pick the leagues you want, such as the MLB, Nippon Professional etc. This gives you correct rules, teams and rosters.
OOTPB is fully customizable in every aspect. Along with the modes and options listed above, once in-game you can rearrange leagues and teams as you please. Change player stats, increase your finances, decrease your finances. Release every player in the league and start a new draft. Change team names and locations. The possibilities are endless. And if you want to play a realistic simulation, just de-select game commissioner. Even for someone completely new to the series, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding how to customize the various aspects. The menu’s aren’t overly overcomplicated and are fairly easy to navigate, although at times you can feel a little overwhelmed by the amount of options and menus on offer.
The amount of detail and accuracy in Out of the Park Baseball is second to none. I was particularly impressed with the detail which had gone into negotiating contracts involving minor league contracts, arbitration and player/team options to name a few. It has it all, from detailed and realistic scouting, to player progression and player stats.
But if there is one thing which OOTPB is superb at, it is keeping things fresh and new. Each season feels different to the last, which is helped by the superb and highly detailed news feeds. No one is safe, with GM’s getting fired and team owners dying. Each owner has a different approach to his expectations, so that once tolerant and generous owner could be replaced by one who expects success almost immediately!
There is an online mode for those who are interested in taking parts in leagues run by real players. I unfortunately haven’t tried this out, but if you head over to the forums you will see guides and various leagues looking for new members. I do suggest giving it ago as I have seen some great leagues and set-ups. Online play is largely similar to playing by yourself, accept the commissioner is a real person, as our the other GM’s.
With Out of the Park Baseball 14, you are not only getting a baseball management simulator which can be played and customized as you want, you are also getting a game which has great game-play. The game-world fully immerses you, with a wide variety of news articles, player and owner personalities and a face gen engine which generates player photograph’s and players caps and jersey’s changing with their team.
The game aims for realism and detail, and it delivers to an exceptionally high standard. Strategy and sport fans alike will be able to spend hours sinking their teeth into this latest version.
There is a steep learning curve, especially if you are new to baseball or Out of the Park Baseball, but the game does it best to help you out in every way by explaining things clearly via the help section. But if things get too hard, you can jump into commissioner mode and increase your finances, sign better players etc. You can play anyway you want to play.
You can pick Out of the Park Baseball 14 up for $39.99 here: OOTPB14