Baseball Mogul 2010 Review (PC)
If baseball management simulations were players, Out of the Park might be your team’s superstar -- the player all the kids want to be. Front Office Manager would be the highly touted, yet extremely disappointing rookie who has nowhere to go but up.
In this analogy, Baseball Mogul would be represented by a quality journeyman, a solid player who performs consistently, though with little flourish. Never too exciting, but never too disappointing either. The player your team trades for once the elite players have been snatched up.
What makes Baseball Mogul 2010 so ordinary? To be honest, there is not much technically wrong with this game. It does everything it sets out to do pretty well. It is just that there is nothing too exciting here that you have not seen in other games, both console "action" baseball games and PC sims.
Baseball Mogul 2010 picks up where last year's left off, offering some minor improvements.
Perhaps Baseball Mogul's best quality is that it is easy to pick up and just play. Within minutes, you will be at the helm of your favorite team setting lineups and simming games. Everything you need to start re-creating the 2009 season is here, from player pictures to correctly named teams.
Should you elect to re-create a certain historical season, that option is here as well, and is just as easy to initiate. You can also customize a league with a variety of historical and current teams.
The most interesting game mode is the Expansion mode, where you can take over an expansion team (Mets, Rays, etc.) the year they entered the league. You can then choose to redraft that team and start building a dynasty. My only wish here is that, in addition to historical expansion teams, you could create a new expansion team (in any era) like in All-Star Baseball.
Once you have begun, the interface is pretty smooth and easy to navigate. Adjusting your roster is as simple as dragging players, and player info is always just a click away. It is easy to switch between different aspects of your role, from team schedule to newspapers reports, all without getting too bogged down in layers of menus and text.
In game, you can choose your level of involvement -- from the play-by-play choices afforded to players to the "hands-off" role of general manager. You can even switch between roles while playing, so that if you are focused on helping a player achieve a certain milestone, you can actually be "the one" that makes it happen.
The Newspaper Screen in Baseball Mogul 2010.
One of the things that I appreciated while playing the game was the simple visual representation in the game. It could be handled by a browser-based flash game, but it does its job with a straightforward elegance. In fact, the in-game engine reminded me of Micro League Baseball, one of my childhood favorites.
Another nice element of the in-game engine is the managerial decisions that pop-up from time to time. Stretching a hit, sending a runner and tagging up occasionally create a situation where you are called on to make an unexpected choice.
Outside of the daily grind of a long baseball season, you have control over finances, scouting and player development. Here is where some of the shine starts to wear off because these options are not particularly deep (or even that much fun to manage). In fact, they are not that different from when I played Baseball Mogul Online eight years ago. This limited involvement serves to add some control to the game without making it overly complicated, but still some customizable depth would make things more interesting.
The lack of depth continues while managing rosters (no Rule 5 Draft, no player options, etc.) and when taking your team into the offseason. There is not much to free agency other than figuring out a matched price, and contract negotiations are just a back and forth "dialogue" with your player's agent. The whole franchise model seems like something you would have found in a console game circa 2005.
Defenders and fans of this game will argue that that is kind of the point. I gather from my experience that this game is not trying to be another Out of the Park, or any other sim requiring very technical micromanagement. The game fills the need for a more basic (yet just as accurate) baseball simulation.
So, back to the player analogy: if BM 2010 is your "everyday" solid player, that is fine. It plays its role well, and hey, even middle-of-the-road guys have their die-hard fans.
Just do not expect much hardware come awards time.
The menu system in Mogul is actually pretty good.
In the GM’s Office: All-around solid game, albeit one that lacks the depth that many sims (and even newer console games) have integrated. In-game, it is nice, clean and fun to watch.
Graphics: Not too important here, but the interface is almost as good as it can get.
Sound: Again, not crucial in this kind of game, but what is here serves its purpose.
Entertainment Value: This area is tricky. This game retails for $29.99, which to me seems a little high. You can get the much deeper Out of the Park for the same price (if you preorder). However, if you are the kind of person who has limited time to play games or are new to the genre, your $30 might go farther by purchasing Baseball Mogul. This might be a good buy for everyone, if it were closer to $20.
Learning Curve: This game is perfect for those who are inexperienced with management sims, do not have the time to micromanage multiple aspects of a franchise, or are simply looking for a way to easily re-create the baseball experience.
Online: It should be noted that there is a pretty strong community for this game, complete with various mods, leagues and plenty of official support. If past experience is accurate, patches will certainly fix the nagging bugs or statistical glitches that will no doubt crop up.
Final Score: 8.0 (Very Good)