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Review: Out of the Park Baseball 14

OOTP 14 is out. You can buy it here. I've had a review copy for a few days, not really long enough to try out all the bells and whistles, but long enough to get a feel for the game.

I'm a big fan of the Out of the Park Baseball franchise, I have been for several years now. Every year it gets a little better. This year, along with the complete through the minor league system 2013 rosters (they do miss the odd player but it is pretty complete), they've updated the 'Player Origin System'. improved the trading AI (no team would take Esmil Rogers from me, when I shopped him) and many other behind the scene improvements. You can take a look at the long list of new features here.

In the game you pretty much get to do all the things a major league GM do. From the game I've learned that players with options are worth their weight in gold. There is a draft. A rule 5 draft. Players have moods, if they don't feel like you using them properly they will complain, and maybe ask for a trade. Young players players improve, older ones decline. You can make trade, negotiate with free agents and move players up and down your minor league system.

And you get to do most of the in game stuff a manger does: pick the lineup, pitching rotation, pinch hit, pick relievers, decide when to hit and run, steal or even bunt (if you really must).

Things I've noticed:

  • The interfaces, the screens have a nice clean look this year, there aren't too many major changes in the look, but it seems much cleaner.
  • They've added a couple of things to where you actually play a game. They give you the win probability after each at bat. I like that. I generally pull a couple of players when the game gets past a 95% chance to win or lose. If you give them a few innings off, here and there, they will be more rested for future games.
  • The pitching team now has a 'Pitch to Contact' button. I guess, if you are winning big and you want your pitcher to save on pitches, that would be the way to go. I haven't tried it out much.

I've started a season as the 2013 Blue Jays. In my OOTP world, it is May 11th. April went, surprisingly, even worse than it is going for the real Blue Jays. At one point we were 4 and 10. Some of this will sound familiar:

  • Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco and Emilio Bonifacio weren't hitting at all.
  • I signed free agent Roy Oswalt, who made a couple of starts, then got injured.
  • Mark Buehrle couldn't pitch at all. After three games he had an ERA over 9. When I tried to trade him no one wanted him. Brandon Morrow was up and down.
  • Casey Janssen blew his first couple of saves. Darren Oliver and Esmil Rogers were awful.
  • We've had a mess of injuries. Lind and Arencibia are gone for a long time, but the way there were hitting, it's not a big loss. Brett Lawrie came off the DL, had a few good games and then got injured again.
  • Like Alex Anthopoulos, I've picked up a number of players off waivers.
  • May has been much better (like I'm hoping it will be for the real Blue Jays), we've made it to a game above .500.
  • I've dumped some of the dead weight, Rogers, Oliver, Blanco are gone. I even traded to get Travis Snider back, but he hit the DL soon after I got him. Yeah, the game is like real life.
  • With Lind hurt, I've moved Bautista to DL. In real life, I don't think he'd go along with the idea, but, in the game, it lessens the chance he'll get injured and, as a DH, he won't need any rest days. He's such an important part of the offense, I really need him in the lineup everyday.
  • I'm hoping Anthony Gose will take over for Colby at some point, but since his OOTP numbers in Buffalo aren't good, I'll wait.

Anyway, the game is great. I think it is well worth the money. I get hours of play out of it.

    Here are a couple of screen shots: