A quick note before I get onto the review. This review was mostly written during patch #4 of OOTP16.
Every spring there are some constants that people have to live with; allergies, rain showers and baseball. With every year, I am more hopeful that my team the Atlanta Braves can get closer to that prestigious World Series Championship that they held dear in 1995. Now I have control of conquering the league with Out of the Park Baseball 16.
It may not be the EXACT same thing, but this game is as real as it gets. This year you can put yourself in the shoes of not only a General Manager but a manager of the team as well. Do you want to focus on your team’s lineup, strategy and substitutions but don’t want to worry about drafting or trading for players, look no further than becoming the manager for the team. The options are still there to GM strictly or take on both roles at the same time. Personally I enjoy being a GM and letting my manager deal with the in-game strategies.
|• The ability to import your league from OOTP 15||• 3D interface has improved greatly, but it’s still not there yet.|
|• Officially licensed by the MLB and MILB||• All-Star game voting system flaws|
|• Added in more International and independent leagues||• No inclusion of the World Baseball Classic|
|• Team owner goals (short and long-term)||• Minor game crashes/freezes|
|• New player profile icons||–|
|• Better playoff coverage||–|
In OOTP15 they introduced a 3D element to the in-game engine, but it was largely unfinished and it left me deciding to not even have it activated at all last year. Fast forward a year and some substantial elements of it have improved. Despite the fantastic effort from Out of the Park Developments, it’s still not where I would like it to be. Once again, I turned it off and haven’t looked back. Perhaps in another year or two I will reconsider but for now, the 3D engine doesn’t add much to my enjoyment.
This will be the third review on this game series and I still consider the World Baseball Classic an important feature to be added into this game. I am hopeful that OOTPD will get around to it when the next WBC happens in 2017. They added in the Australian Baseball League and several independent leagues from the US and Japan for this version. With so many real international players already in the game, it’s just a matter of coding the tournament itself. I’ve got my fingers crossed for the next couple of editions.
The other minor issues I had with this year’s game were the all-new All-Star game voting system. They offered the ability to have GMs vote for the players they see fit to make the mid-summer classic. However, early on, the game was plagued with some issues on that voting system, specifically for the pitchers. I have a screenshot of what I dealt with prior to some patch work. The first thing I noticed was that there were multiple voting options taken up by the same pitcher, dramatically limited the variety and options for me to vote for. The other part of the problem was that I noticed when the voting was all said and done, not every team was represented in the All-Star game. We know that in Major League Baseball every team has to have at least one person represented and when the final teams were announced there were some missing teams.
Now it’s time to look at the positive side of the coin……
The biggest addition to this year’s game was a giant step forward for the crew at Out of the Park Developments, by snagging a Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball license. What that means is the game now officially has authentic player logos, names, uniforms, historically logos and much more. No longer will have you import custom logos or change the names of your teams to match everything currently happening in MLB.
Aside from that, one of my biggest inclusions may be small on the surface but very pleasing on my eyes. That feature would be the all-new “Player Profile Icons”. Essentially what it does is it shows icons in a player profile up at the top bar near their listed salary of awards or accomplishments that they have won over their entire career. When you hover over it, it will let you know for what year and award it was that player won. They range from, Gold Glove, MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards. As well as World Series winner, All-Star selection and more. The more information about a player the better. It’s great to see how easy it can be to find out awards won without having to click around on their profile screen to find it.
The introduction to team owner goals will now bring you closer to your team than ever before. You will be under pressure the instant you take over a team. Your team owner will give you certain short and long-term goals you will have to try and complete to stay on his good side. I have five goals given out from my owner, two short-term and three long-term. Keep in mind my Atlanta Braves are coming off a World Series victory in 2015. John Malone, the owner wants me to have a winning record this year and improve my team runs scored (offense) from the 11th rank that is was in 2015. Both seem logical as defending champions you want to come back next and try to repeat, with an even stronger showing than the last. The other three he wants me to do is acquire a former Cy Young award winner, increase attendance to 40,000/game and build a championship team. Those goals are to be met by 2018, 2020 and 2021 respectively.
There are many other new features under the hood that you will notice right away and some you may experience months into your playthrough. One of the more welcomed additions in my book is the “Pennant Chase” screen. It covers your playoff chases and post season series like never before. It’s available during the final 30 days of the regular season and it gives you info such as, schedule strength and the chances of your team making the playoffs. Rainouts and automatic rescheduling is now a real thing. I have come across many different games that were rained out and I had to play double headers the next time I played that team, whether it is the next day or months later. It made for some really interesting scenarios for my bullpen. I really had to strategize on whom to call up and send down so I could get a fresh arm or two for that second game.
If you’re a fan of baseball you owe it to yourself to give this game a try and unleash the pleasing and sometimes heartbreaking experience of running your own baseball team how you see fit. Let your creative juices flow, the possibilities are endless in OOTP16 and there’s certainly nothing like it. I just can’t imagine what they’re going to add next year; the game boasts already month’s worth of content and entertainment. It just keeps getting better and better.