Swinging for the Long Ball
Out of the Park Baseball is the Perfect Game
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Disclaimer: John asked me to write this review because I am a major seamhead. Whether it's traditional baseball fandom like arguing over Ruth or Williams (Williams, by the way) or spending hours crunching numbers to prove that the 2003 Cubs were the best team in MLB that season (it's true!) I have done it, currently do it, or am planning to enjoy it.
Baseball is an integral part of my life and has been since my grandmother started taking me to games in pre-school.
Which brings me to the best dang baseball game ever. I have been playing Out of the Park Baseball for almost ten years now going back to version 5. To see the success that OOTP has enjoyed over that time makes me nothing but euphoric.
I have played many, many forms of baseball games, from standard roto to the old tabletop Pursue the Pennant, but OOTP is the best and most engaging for the baseball fan.
OOTP's developers have set out, over the years and versions, to put together a baseball simulation that does all it can to most closely resemble real life baseball. Version 11 is yet another step forward for a system that already is head and shoulders above the rest. From setting lineups to making pitching decisions to negotiating with angry free agents, this is the game that includes it all.
Get me, here. This isn't one more simulation where you swing and miss and such like a console game. This is a game for baseball fans who want to run a team from the bottom to the top.
You're not the player in OOTP...you're the owner and general manager. You set budgets, choose lineups, promote and demote minor league players, respond to messages from players and coaches and scouts and so forth.
It's the only game that I know of that allows for your simulated players to negotiate with you over time. You make an offer, they respond, you go back and forth in a realistic way. Amateurs whom you draft will have specific contract demands that may or may not fall into a slotting system depending on the player and their attitude towards you and your team. If you want a game where you play the game, this isn't for you. But if you want a game where you ARE the game then this is so much for you that you'll regret not having found it earlier.
As in traditional games, players are rated on their ability to do certain baseball-related tasks such as hit for power, field, throw, run the bases and so forth. But there's much more than that.
Players are also rated on morale, intelligence, loyalty, greed, work ethic and other things that all impact how they respond to various events and grow and change as players. A player with a low work ethic, for example, might never develop properly even if he has the greatest potential in the game, just because he doesn't WANT to do enough and put in the time to learn the game. There are seemingly a thousand variables in the game and each of them changes how the individual players perform in the game. It's that brilliant.
In short, I can't recommend this game enough to anyone who's ever thought they could run a major league team. The simple fact is that Out of the Park Baseball 11 gives you the opportunity to run a major league franchise all the way down to which players end up playing in the remote low minors as they learn their craft.
From budgeting to watching your players hit home runs it is both challenging and satisfying. You should go get it today.
Nate Wooley is Game Industry News Publisher. Having an expertise on games based firmly in the classics, Nate occasionally feels qualified to comment on any new game that has that 'classic' feel. You can contact him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.