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OS Scores Explained Out of the Park Baseball 12 Overview (PC)
Pros
Additions add personality/realism, incorporated online features, same stellar gameplay
Cons
Overwhelming for new users, interface can be cumbersome, could be more "polished"
Bottom Line
Out of the Park Baseball 12 deserves to be recognized as the de-facto baseball text sim of this generation.
9.5
out of 10
Out of the Park Baseball 12 REVIEW

Out of the Park Baseball 12 Review (PC)

Read about how we complete our reviews. You can check out the review process here, and then you can scope out the scoring guidelines and scoring rubric.

Gameplay

OotP 12 is a text sim, which means you won’t be taking the field and controlling players on a one-to-one basis. Instead, you have the opportunity to handle the decision making, from roster moves to in-game substitutions, typically through menus, stat sheets and interactive text.

While many might jump in as the GM of their favorite professional team, the heart of OotP is the ability to set up the game the way you’d like. For instance, I’ve already experimented with managing a fictional 2011 expansion team. I’ve played around with managing the lineups myself, as well as giving my manager (AI) control of the day-to-day baseball operations.

You could also become a manager yourself, starting in the lowest of minor-league levels and working your way to big leagues. Past options exist, such as creating an entire fictional universe or replaying a season from baseball's past -- the historical options have been beefed up should you go that way. Specifically, the new historical transactions and real lineups are welcomed additions for players looking to re-create a specific season.

All of this is just a simple way to say that there is infinite replayability in OotP, and the best part is that it’s backed by a solid simulation engine that produces realistic, and sometimes surprising, results. The DH was eliminated in the third season with my expansion team; I’ve seen personnel unexpectedly retire or even pass away.

And, if you don’t like something, it’s probably tweakable. For example, I think injuries on the "realistic" setting seem too frequent and severe; however, the fix is usually only a couple of clicks away.

Presentation

If I have one large(r) complaint, it’s that OotP is still firmly grounded in its role as a text sim. While I’ve become used to the way the game is organized, it is no doubt extremely daunting for a new player. Games like NFL Head Coach -- in the small sub-genre of console text sims -- have demonstrated that these games can be streamlined and accessible. I would not want OotP to become watered down, but a friendlier and more visually interesting interface would be nice. Plus, I haven't found a "home" screen that contains all I'm looking for, so a fully tweakable "control center" would be nice.


That’s not to say OotP has a poor interface. It is easy to navigate to just about any page from any other page, and information and stats are always sortable and present. Some new screens like your organizational depth chart and league newspaper help to distill the tidal wave of information that you need to deal with on a regular basis.

I'd also welcome the addition of an animated in-game screen. MLB Manager Online has pretty simple but effective flash animation; a similar module would work for OotP as well. As it is, it's the same ball animation that we've seen in the past. It hasn't changed, but, to be honest, it still works. I just think the same information could be relayed in a more interesting way.

Online

OotP 12 has incorporated the always-popular online leagues into the game, so now it’s easier than ever to join and update a league with other players. This is probably one of my favorite ways to play because swindling another human in a trade is infinitely more fun than trying to scam the AI out of its touted prospect.

It’s also nice that OotP continues to support the modding community, and it’s easy to apply some of the tweaks using the in-game Add-On Central.

New Additions

Other new additions to OotP 12 include slight tweaks to in-game functions like sound and play-by-play. Coaches screens are now as detailed as the player screens, including their career history. Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has been added as a stat, no doubt pleasing the sabermetrics fans out there. The new league newspaper is okay, but it really just makes me reminisce about reading stories in Baseball Mogul Online.

Contract options have also been greatly improved, and they now include the ability to assign performance bonuses and vesting options. These new additions make negotiating a little more flexible and immersive, but I still think the free-agent process could be a little more fluid and exciting.

There are numerous other tweaks and additions, but they have been so well implemented in the game that you may wonder if they are new or if you just overlooked them in past versions of the game. OotP continues to be a game with so many options that if you think “I wish it could do this,” a little clicking and menu searching may prove that you can do it after all.

Final Thoughts:

While I think the overall interface could use a bit of polish and reorganization, the amount of options and depth of gameplay makes OotP 12 another must-own game for fans of baseball. There isn’t much higher praise I can give a PC game than this: OotP 12 is one of those games that will keep you saying "just one more turn" long into the early hours of the morning.


Learning Curve: This game may be intimidating for first-timers because of its wealth of options and pages and pages of data. Patient users willing to read the online manual or visit forums will mine this game for all its worth.

Control Scheme: The interface has room for improvement, both visually and organizationally, but it’s usually not hard to find what you are looking for. I love that player names continue to be links to transactions, stats, etc.

Visuals: Not important for this type of game; I will hype the great generated player faces (that change uniforms, etc.) available in the Add-on Central module.

Audio: Also not necessarily important, but the in-game audio adds great ambiance.

Lasting Appeal: More than any other sports game, OotP gives you a ton of ways to play. You can even import a league from last year.

Realism: I haven’t found anything too crazy, other than a few questionable trades. Again, because the game is highly modifiable, you usually can solve your own problems.

Score: 9.5 (All-Time Classic)


Member Comments
# 1 Matt Diesel @ 07/15/11 07:07 PM
It gets better every year
 
# 2 tarek @ 07/16/11 02:57 AM
i have a question.

Does this game feature an in game type simulation like football manager 11? Or is it all just the text? I would love some simulation/graphical representation of the hits and catches (even in basic form) just like football manager but i'm not too sure if this is offered in OOTP 12.
 
# 3 Cryolemon @ 07/16/11 05:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarek
i have a question.

Does this game feature an in game type simulation like football manager 11? Or is it all just the text? I would love some simulation/graphical representation of the hits and catches (even in basic form) just like football manager but i'm not too sure if this is offered in OOTP 12.
It isn't in OOTP 12, but apparently they are trying to do something like that for OOTP 13.
 
# 4 tarek @ 07/16/11 05:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryolemon
It isn't in OOTP 12, but apparently they are trying to do something like that for OOTP 13.
that sounds great. i'd really hope for that feature as it would be what sells me on the mac version. i currently play iOOTP on my phone and that is good for on the run type gaming. whilst I know that OOTP12 is MUCH more advanced than iOOTP, I think having that game engine/graphical simulation would be a game changer.

Much like football manager does.
 
# 5 Garrett67 @ 07/17/11 01:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarek
i have a question.

Does this game feature an in game type simulation like football manager 11? Or is it all just the text? I would love some simulation/graphical representation of the hits and catches (even in basic form) just like football manager but i'm not too sure if this is offered in OOTP 12.
Honestly, you don't need it. When you're reading the play by play, you can visualize what is going on. Its like when I was a kid and listening to the game on the radio. Same thing really
 
# 6 Garrett67 @ 07/17/11 01:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarek
that sounds great. i'd really hope for that feature as it would be what sells me on the mac version. i currently play iOOTP on my phone and that is good for on the run type gaming. whilst I know that OOTP12 is MUCH more advanced than iOOTP, I think having that game engine/graphical simulation would be a game changer.

Much like football manager does.
Is football manager (and I know its soccer) like NFL head coach in the sense that you call the plays/manage and its played out for you?
 
# 7 tarek @ 07/17/11 01:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett67
Is football manager (and I know its soccer) like NFL head coach in the sense that you call the plays/manage and its played out for you?
I suppose football manager is a little like NFL head coach. However, in soccer you don't have to call plays as such, you just set tactics and the players will act accordingly. Therefore you try and play to strengths.

The biggest thing about football manager IMO is the same as OOTP which is the management part. Scouting, contracts, expectations and all those in depth tweaking is where it really shines.

I know it wouldnt make much difference with graphical representation as the play-by-play is great. But if you're curious have a look at some online vids for football manager gameplay. Something like that would be a game clincher personally for me. My wife is amazed at my obsession with these hard core stat driven sports games.

If only she could have seen the paper stats I kept as a kid on lakers vs celtics and the really early madden games.
 
# 8 Garrett67 @ 07/17/11 01:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarek
I suppose football manager is a little like NFL head coach. However, in soccer you don't have to call plays as such, you just set tactics and the players will act accordingly. Therefore you try and play to strengths.

The biggest thing about football manager IMO is the same as OOTP which is the management part. Scouting, contracts, expectations and all those in depth tweaking is where it really shines.

I know it wouldnt make much difference with graphical representation as the play-by-play is great. But if you're curious have a look at some online vids for football manager gameplay. Something like that would be a game clincher personally for me. My wife is amazed at my obsession with these hard core stat driven sports games.

If only she could have seen the paper stats I kept as a kid on lakers vs celtics and the really early madden games.


I'll check it out on Youtube. I agree that more of a visual representation would be nice, even if its basic and repetitive. Right now, I'm running an 8 team high school league in which my team is currently 3-11. So, right now I think I'm better off not seeing it played out LOL

btw ,my wife doesn't get why I play these games. I'm just wasting time by sitting here playing something that isn't real. But, in my head, it is. I look at it this way, at least when I'm not working, I'm ALWAYS at home
 
# 9 hyde4us11 @ 07/18/11 03:58 PM
My wife laughs at how we look at these players as they are real people. When I have a player do something special I tell her a story and then I realize she is just going to laugh at me. I do it time after time and never realize it till its to late. lol
 
# 10 tarek @ 07/18/11 08:18 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyde4us11
My wife laughs at how we look at these players as they are real people. When I have a player do something special I tell her a story and then I realize she is just going to laugh at me. I do it time after time and never realize it till its to late. lol
Oh mate, I do the same. I tell her about player X who I am targetting. Or a young player with potential who I sign to a great contract and they immediately start performing. And she laughs.

But like garrett says, at least it keeps us off the streets. They got to appreciate that.

Last night in bed I was playing i OOTP leading 4-1 in the bottom of the 9th and my closer gives up 2 back to back homers to tie the game. I swear, naturally, and my wife looks at me like i'm a weirdo. Imagine if this game had graphical representation as you watched that 2nd homer fly......I'd be 100 times more angry!
 
# 11 phillsphan @ 09/21/11 10:13 PM
Does OOTP12 Have a feature that so I can turn off the financial aspect/salary structure? If not can someone please recommend a sim baseball game that has this option?
 
# 12 usf @ 11/01/11 01:31 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillsphan
Does OOTP12 Have a feature that so I can turn off the financial aspect/salary structure? If not can someone please recommend a sim baseball game that has this option?
Stratomatic is a great baseball game. Its big advantage is that the game can be played as a board game too if you want. Thus, you can always trace the results of the play to the card and not wonder how something just happenned when it did. Not having a hidden game engine attracts some to the game. Jason
 
# 13 Molarmite @ 11/05/11 05:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by phillsphan
Does OOTP12 Have a feature that so I can turn off the financial aspect/salary structure? If not can someone please recommend a sim baseball game that has this option?
Yep, you can turn off financials or have any financial structure you want.
 
# 14 Skyboxer @ 11/06/11 01:28 AM
Is OOTP12 really worth grabbing if I have 11?
 
# 15 Aggies7 @ 11/06/11 01:58 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboxer
Is OOTP12 really worth grabbing if I have 11?
Kind of wondering same thing and really wish they would do an NFL version of this.
 
# 16 Molarmite @ 11/06/11 11:18 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboxer
Is OOTP12 really worth grabbing if I have 11?
Yes it is, especially at this price. I've got every version since 6 and I've been happy with the upgrades.
 
# 17 ty5oke @ 11/06/11 11:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyboxer
Is OOTP12 really worth grabbing if I have 11?
Honestly, I don't see much of a difference between 11 and 12. If I weren't in online leagues, I would be perfectly happy with sticking in 11. The player development screen is a nice addition, makes it easy to keep track of your organizational depth chart and your top 20 prospects.

Having WAR is nice as well and the offseason center which tells you how man WAR each team picks up during the offseason and what the biggest signings are. I'm sure there are some tweaks to the sim engine but I didn't have any complaints about 11. There's also something about easier to make accurate historic seasons (although I don't know much about that).

At full price, I don't think the game was worth the upgrade, at $20 I would have no problem picking it up.
 
# 18 GiantYankee @ 11/06/11 12:41 PM
At $20...YES!
 
# 19 HustlinOwl @ 11/06/11 01:51 PM
Yes worth grabbing and getting in OS Diamond Kings
 
# 20 JackosanWYO @ 12/04/11 12:14 PM
anyone got an online league I can join?

jackson.schilling@gmail.com
 

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