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OS Scores Explained Out of the Park Baseball 14 Overview (PC)
Pros
As addicting as ever, Minor but meaningful changes, Visually nicer.
Cons
Some aspects remain unchanged, Still daunting for new users, Occasional bugs.
Bottom Line
While the improvements may not be immediately noticeable, one of the best sports games around gets even better.
9
out of 10
Out of the Park Baseball 14 REVIEW

Out of the Park Baseball 14 Review (PC)

By now, it’s pretty simple: you either love Out of the Park Baseball or you haven’t played Out of the Park Baseball.

While that's probably generalizing the situation a bit, as all games have critics or those who are indifferent. However, if you like strategy games and/or baseball, and haven’t tried Out of the Park Baseball, this year's edition of the series is a great time to jump in.

On that same note, If you are a repeat addict, er…user, you’ll find the improvements meaningful enough to give OOTP another summer of your life.

Gameplay

OOTP 14 retains the core characteristics of the series: depth, customization, and realism.

First, this is one of the deepest text sims you’ll find on planet earth. In a “normal” MLB set-up, you’ll have control of everything from scouting, staff, ticket prices, player movement, contracts, and so many other little nuggets. Stats and ratings are nearly as numerous as the players they represent. You can also play in various historical leagues, with either accurate trades or an evolving timeline.

Regarding customization, you are free to play as a commissioner, GM, or manager, limiting or extending your responsibilities accordingly. You can use current, historical, or fictional rosters, and tweak league settings to your personal preference. Make up your own league, if you’d like. Plus, there are a number of add-ons to bring real and created logos into the fold.

Finally, the game strives for realism in all aspects, from the way contracts are created to the way the simulation engine plays out. Random events occur that help make even the most fictional league seem real. I read about a player in my league who faked a back injury to cover up an extra-marital affair. These small touches breathe life into a “universe” that might otherwise feel like a series of spreadsheets.

Additions

Most of the additions in OOTP 14 are in service of one of those core elements. The largest area of improvement lies in player generation. OOTP boasts a “completely recoded player origin system,” and so far I like what I’m seeing.

Basically, new players come from one of five categories: US/Canadian/Puerto Rican rookies, international prospects, international free agents, international “discoveries,” and players from independent leagues. Of course, all of these categories are able to be modified; but, as is, I think it more accurately reflects and encompasses real life baseball.

Further, players develop more realistically. Perhaps one of the best additions is a monthly player development report. Basically, it communicates how your players are developing; from veterans who start to lose skills, to rookies who start to hit their potential. This monthly report makes keeping tabs on your prospects a bit easier.

To be honest, I did run into a few “player creation” bugs, such as players who were age “0” when drafted. However, OOTP is constantly updated; community interaction with the developers is as good as any in the industry. I expect this bug has probably already been squashed.

Another reported improvement is the trading engine. In my season, I didn’t see a ton of blockbuster trades; however, I did see a lot of prospect and role-player swapping and again, this can be modified through settings changes.

As for trades I was involved in, it was harder to pry prospects away from the computer—though, I am guilty of hitting the “Make This Work Now!” button a bit too much. I did see that AI teams were willing to part with quality for quality; sometimes I could get that top prospect for a few of my lesser propsects. It also seemed like the computer was more willing to trade talent in service of a salary dump, especially for rebuilding teams. The AI still makes some dumb lopsided trade offers (always to their benefit), but a new “not interested” marker helps to limit these propositions.

There’s a long list of improvements over at ootpdevelopments.com, but many of the changes are under the hood, and may not be immediately noticed. There are some nice graphical improvements and hidden achievements based on how your team performs; for instance I unlocked a 7-win streak badge.

If you have only dabbled in OOTP (especially those limited to OOTP 13), you may be disappointed with the amount of up-front changes. While everything looks a little nicer, there were more interface changes last year; most of the very noticeable changes are either minor, or simply improvements on existing features.

Many of these changes/improvements do make things easier for the uninitiated, such as an organizational depth chart and changes in pitching rotation management. However, the game can still be a bit daunting for new users. Additionally, I’m still not sure that there is a “home screen” that quite captures everything I’d like to see all at once.

Lasting Appeal

This game is as addictive as ever, again based on its customization options, depth, and sense of realism. Those of you who are OOTP “lifers” will appreciate the engine tweaks and improvements to player development.

So far, I’ve enjoyed simulating the 2013 season as a GM, though I’ll eventually start a league as a GM of an expansion team (probably my favorite way to play). I will probably switch things up mid-season and try my hand at managing—a real challenge if you start “realistically” and take an offered job for a single- or double-A team.

I seem to make this comparison year after year, but OOTP 14 is like the Civilization or SimCity franchises, in both level of strategy and ability to make an evening disappear.

Final Thoughts

Beyond the occasional bug, I don’t have many real criticisms of OOTP 14. There are some parts of the game that do seem untouched and a guided tutorial would help. I’d also really like a customizable home screen; but these are more often “wishes” than true problems with the game. The improvements—especially to the player generation engine—pay off in both the entertainment and realism categories.

So, back to my original statement: OOTP 14 does little to break the trend. If you are a veteran, you’ll love it. If you haven’t played it, it’s well worth spending $40 and multiple hours learning this incredible game if you are into the business of baseball on any level.

Score: 9.0 (All-Time Classic)

Learning Curve: Because of its depth and complexity, prepare to spend a good deal of time learning what to do and how to do it. Returning users will feel right at home.

Control Scheme: For as complex as this game is, its interface is pretty good. Nearly everything is a right-click away, though not everything is where you might expect it to be.

Visuals: Menus are nicer looking, though the in-game engine hasn’t changed much. An all-in-one add on makes setting up a realistic looking MLB game a snap.

Audio: Not really important, and not really changed either. The only sounds are in-game; get ready to hear “No Way!” quite a bit.

Realism: No complaints here. My first simmed season produced few surprises, outside of some key injuries. By the way, the default injury setting seems a bit toned down from last year. Player ratings are as good as ever.


Member Comments
# 1 JohnDoe8865 @ 04/29/13 07:02 PM
I really can't wait to dig into this year's game. Missed last year, really excited for 14. One of the best values for the money going today.
 
# 2 JaySwizzlez @ 04/29/13 08:08 PM
I'm not sure I want to spend 40 bucks on a game, but I am a really avid baseball fan and I really like the management part of baseball. It looks like a really good game, however, and I am really considering giving it a shot.
 
# 3 snepp @ 04/29/13 09:38 PM
If you're not sure about dropping the $40 there's always an all-star game special for 10 bucks off.
 
# 4 8iron @ 04/29/13 09:40 PM
You can usually get a generous timed trial of an older version from their website.
 
# 5 tarek @ 04/29/13 10:31 PM
I'd like to see a more fleshed out mobile version on iOS.
iOOTP has gone a bit stale and I think there is no reason why it can't be more of a fully fledged port than a watered down version. Surely the current gen iPad has the processing power for it.
 
# 6 bkrich83 @ 04/29/13 10:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDoe8865
I really can't wait to dig into this year's game. Missed last year, really excited for 14. One of the best values for the money going today.
You'll love this version!!
 
# 7 ElderlyGamer @ 04/29/13 11:44 PM
Best game ever created. End of story.
 
# 8 NikeBlitz @ 04/30/13 09:54 AM
Great serie. We need a football game from these guys.
 
# 9 orion523 @ 04/30/13 12:56 PM
Best baseball game ever made, yes even better than the almighty Show.
 
# 10 mariner690 @ 04/30/13 05:03 PM
Is there a big difference between the Mac and PC version? I'm debating whether to get the game for my laptop or iPad.
 
# 11 CPRoark @ 04/30/13 07:46 PM
Mariner, the Mac/PC versions are nearly identical. I played my review copy on the Mac, but have played the PC version in the past.

However, don't confuse this game with iOOTP, which is what you'd be buying on the iPad. It's a much different game...really, it's a watered down, tablet friendly version of this.
 
# 12 ThatRadioGuy @ 05/01/13 08:56 AM
If you play the game full blast, it's an accountant simulator. It's really good if you are the accountant type. The financials are endless and will eat hours and hours and hours just to understand it. And if you choose not to understand it, it's not worth playing. Because you need to know why this costs this and that costs that and revenue X and revenue Y plus a variable must equal or exceed Z. It's endless and a joyful experience for those that wait for April 15th like Christmas morning. If you turn off the financials, the engine kinda wigs out and doesn't really value things properly. The AI is built with a close eye to financials so .. if you don't want to experience Accountant Simulator 14 .. then, you're not getting the best game you can play. Just like everything else in life, it's all about the money. And you best spend hours and hours and hours figuring out how to finance your endeavors .. get out the paper and pencil and start adding up projections of cost. If you don't immerse yourself in a kabillion amount of zeroes .. then there is really no reason to play the game because the AI is focused on that aspect and gives a quality game when it can bathe in addition and subtraction.
 
# 13 The Yurpman @ 05/01/13 06:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatRadioGuy
If you play the game full blast, it's an accountant simulator. It's really good if you are the accountant type. The financials are endless and will eat hours and hours and hours just to understand it. And if you choose not to understand it, it's not worth playing. Because you need to know why this costs this and that costs that and revenue X and revenue Y plus a variable must equal or exceed Z. It's endless and a joyful experience for those that wait for April 15th like Christmas morning. If you turn off the financials, the engine kinda wigs out and doesn't really value things properly. The AI is built with a close eye to financials so .. if you don't want to experience Accountant Simulator 14 .. then, you're not getting the best game you can play. Just like everything else in life, it's all about the money. And you best spend hours and hours and hours figuring out how to finance your endeavors .. get out the paper and pencil and start adding up projections of cost. If you don't immerse yourself in a kabillion amount of zeroes .. then there is really no reason to play the game because the AI is focused on that aspect and gives a quality game when it can bathe in addition and subtraction.
It's not that complicated, really. You don't need to be an accountant to figure out this game at all. If you're having that much trouble with figuring the game out I suggest completing high school. Plus, you can choose to just be the manager and leave the GM "stuff" (the oh-so-complicated task of figuring out how much money your players make) to the computer.

Anyways, this game is awesome year in and year out. If you want the most realistic and fun baseball gaming experience buy this game ASAP.
 
# 14 malky @ 05/01/13 06:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by orion523
Best baseball game ever made, yes even better than the almighty Show.
Whoa!!! Pause there buddy lol
 
# 15 uncrewedcube @ 05/02/13 07:05 PM
way better than MLB 2K13
 
# 16 HechticSooner @ 05/03/13 10:32 AM
Don't know if anyone checks this thread anymore but I'm wondering about the financial end of the game. Unlike our previous poster my problem has always been that they don't do financial stuff accurately enough for me. Have they fixed this? Can my team give 50/50 deals to prospects in the draft. Is spring still screwed to where I can't give non-roster invites, all the true aspects of baseball that I've been waiting for since I join there beta team way back.
 
# 17 Sweed @ 05/04/13 09:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatRadioGuy
If you play the game full blast, it's an accountant simulator. It's really good if you are the accountant type. The financials are endless and will eat hours and hours and hours just to understand it. And if you choose not to understand it, it's not worth playing. Because you need to know why this costs this and that costs that and revenue X and revenue Y plus a variable must equal or exceed Z. It's endless and a joyful experience for those that wait for April 15th like Christmas morning. If you turn off the financials, the engine kinda wigs out and doesn't really value things properly. The AI is built with a close eye to financials so .. if you don't want to experience Accountant Simulator 14 .. then, you're not getting the best game you can play. Just like everything else in life, it's all about the money. And you best spend hours and hours and hours figuring out how to finance your endeavors .. get out the paper and pencil and start adding up projections of cost. If you don't immerse yourself in a kabillion amount of zeroes .. then there is really no reason to play the game because the AI is focused on that aspect and gives a quality game when it can bathe in addition and subtraction.
Wow, really? I've been playing since version 4 which was released in 2002. I have bought every version since and have imported my game into each new version without issue. I spend about 10 minutes a season looking over my financials. As The Yurpman says its just not that complicated.

A serious question, and no I'm not trying to insult you, but was math a tough subject for you? Because just an understanding of very basic math is all one needs to know to play OOTP. Or as has also been stated one can act as just the manager and let the CPU be the GM. Some actually find this a fun way to play since they only get the players the cpu GM gives them.
 
# 18 Sweed @ 05/04/13 10:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by orion523
Best baseball game ever made, yes even better than the almighty Show.
Quote:
Originally Posted by malky
Whoa!!! Pause there buddy lol
He is right if you are looking for a game that simulates running a baseball franchise. I love The Show. It is beautiful, produces good stats, has tons of real roster rules from MLB in the franchise mode, and is a lot of run to play. It however only outdoes OOTP in one category and that would be graphics. Not even close in any other way.

If you want eye candy (nothing wrong with that like I said I love The Show) and the ability to play out your games The Show is your game.

If you want an in depth experience running a baseball franchise along with a top notch baseball engine (yes better than The Show), player aging\development, stats tracked to a depth you can only dream of, etc. etc. etc., then OOTP is for you.
 
# 19 eamuscatuli15 @ 05/06/13 02:11 PM
how do i get other stadium photos besides philly? i just bought ootp14 last week and i've been able to download add ons like faces and all that stuff, but how do i get the real stadium photos to match up with the park i'm playing in.

just curious. thanks.
 
# 20 snepp @ 05/06/13 02:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatRadioGuy
If you play the game full blast, it's an accountant simulator. It's really good if you are the accountant type. The financials are endless and will eat hours and hours and hours just to understand it. And if you choose not to understand it, it's not worth playing. Because you need to know why this costs this and that costs that and revenue X and revenue Y plus a variable must equal or exceed Z. It's endless and a joyful experience for those that wait for April 15th like Christmas morning. If you turn off the financials, the engine kinda wigs out and doesn't really value things properly. The AI is built with a close eye to financials so .. if you don't want to experience Accountant Simulator 14 .. then, you're not getting the best game you can play. Just like everything else in life, it's all about the money. And you best spend hours and hours and hours figuring out how to finance your endeavors .. get out the paper and pencil and start adding up projections of cost. If you don't immerse yourself in a kabillion amount of zeroes .. then there is really no reason to play the game because the AI is focused on that aspect and gives a quality game when it can bathe in addition and subtraction.

You're the first person I've seen say anything about the financials being too complicated for them to figure out.

Perhaps the issue here isn't the game?
 

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