I recently took advantage of the 50% off All-Star week special to purchase Out of the Park Baseball 14 for just over $20 Canadian. I had immediately made the jump from OOTP Baseball 13 to 14 without any hesitation based on the price. Here is a little history with this [fairly new] franchise to me.
Over the past seven years I had got my baseball kicks from the MLB2k series. I was aware of the OOTP baseball series but I didn’t think I’d have enough time for both so I stuck with the familiar face. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year when MLB2k13 was made known to the public that they were going to release another title after everyone assumed that 2k was done with baseball altogether.
Whatever the case was MLB2k13 came out with poor reviews, stating that it was essentially a $60 roster update. The only other added feature was the addition of the Houston Astros moving to the American League. They even went as far as removing online leagues to an already stripped down game. 2k then continued to ONLY push sales by promoting the “Perfect Game Challenge”. This was the final straw for me after years of loyalty, I said to myself “I guess I won’t be playing any kind of baseball simulation this year” being an Xbox 360 owner, that was the only choice I had.
This is what brought me to the highly touted OOTP Baseball franchise, specifically OOTP 13. This game was also half price due to its one year cycle. I’m now enjoying OOTP 14 more than any baseball game in the past. Suffice it to say, I won’t be going back!
|• The ability to import your league from OOTP 13||• I’ve experienced game crashes/freezes|
|• Player origin system||• Some minor interface flaws|
|• Recoded scouting||• No inclusion of the World Baseball Classic|
|• Reinforced player development tracking||–|
|• Improved AI trading and tracker||–|
|• New graphical depth chart screen||–|
I want to address the [few] negatives that this iteration has to offer…
The other night I was engaged in my second year with the reigning defending 2005 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves. Everything seemed to be going well in my second season, even making a couple suave trades in the early part of June. Once I had assigned the newly acquired Justin Verlander to the appropriate destination, the game locked up on me! Because of the situation it didn’t auto save and I had lost three weeks worth of games and had to restart them once I reloaded the game. Needless to say I was disappointed with that outcome.
Another small irk I had with the game was the lack of presence from the WBC or better known as the World Baseball Classic. The WBC has been around for seven years now, including three tournaments. To my knowledge the only baseball game to ever include the likes of the WBC was MLB2k6. Ever since then I have been craving for some international play. I do see the WBC being included in future releases and I will strongly push for that.
The only other small issue I seen that came with the game was from the interface. They have done an outstanding job with the interface as a whole, but I think they need to adjust some of the skins. I always play on the “dark” interface which stands out more to me. The problem had been that there were instances where I could barely see the text above the broadcast because it was black text on a really dark grey background. Of course that is only minor details that could be ironed out in no time.
Now onto the good stuff…
With this year OOTP Developments stressed a revamped scouting and new player origin system. What this made for was a well-constructed scouting period during the season. I found in OOTP 13 even with a high-end scout, I was drafting countless first-round busts. This year it seems to be far less frequent with the accuracy of the scouts and OSA being improved in a good way. The ability to sign big international free agents increases my interest tenfold. Drafting became fun again and who knows maybe I will find the next Ichiro Suzuki?
My two favourite improvements to OOTP 14 was the player development tracking and trading. No longer will you need to check out your organization player development page if you want to just see a specific player. Now I’m able to look at relevant information in a player profile. Having the ability to see an individual player’s development is crucial when I’m out looking for the next big trade. With that page and the vastly improved scouting I feel I have more control over my team than ever before.
Some of these other updates were simply cosmetic and are a welcomed change. For starters the game introduced a new way to view and set up your bullpen. You now have more flexibility when it comes to assigning relief pitchers. They’ve added in an option for your bullpen to have secondary roles. Another neat trick is if you have a young relief pitcher and you don’t want him seeing too many innings, you can set the manager to use him less often.
I’m a big sucker when it comes to sports simulations and becoming a GM to a team is my idea of fun. There is just so much that can go wrong, but when you make the right moves and adjustments the payoff is extremely rewarding. Whether you want to relive the past, tread with the current day rosters or simply create your own league, Out of the Park Baseball 14 is the premier option for baseball enthusiasts.