OOTP 15 (PC) Review
Ryan Bloom / May 16th, 2014 1 Comment
When it comes to baseball video games, few will argue the greatness of MLB The Show. However, more and more baseball nerds are ditching the traditional controller experience for a title that has more depth than the Los Angeles Dodgers outfield. Over the past few years, Out of the Park Baseball has developed a large loyal following in baseball circles. This season, Out of the Park Developments decided not to bunt over a slightly improved version of the game but swing for the fences and go for it all.
OOTP 15 takes the franchise to new heights. Already the most realistic baseball sim on the market, OOTP 15 adds further depth that blurs the lines between real-life franchise management, video games and fantasy baseball. Thanks to a dedicated community, OOTP 15 is quickly becoming the best baseball game on the market.
If you are not familiar with OOTP, think fantasy baseball on steroids. Players can choose an MLB franchise and run it from top to bottom or take a trip back in time to tinker with rosters of yesteryear in historical leagues. But OOTP’s vast customization options mean the real fun comes when users are more creative.
Legends can be imported to compete against current rosters, allowing users to create the ultimate “what if” scenarios. Of course, baseball aficionados may argue that does not account for other factors that have occurred throughout the sport’s history, including the deadball era and steroid era. OOTP 15 lets users counter this by adjusting sliders to generate more ground balls or home runs.
OOTP Developments is constantly working to make the game as realistic as possible, a goal developers have consistently achieved. This season, the game received even more depth with the addition of real-life international leagues. Teams from leagues around the world are complete with accurate rosters.
This may not seem like a big deal to users who pay no mind to leagues outside the U.S., but it affects all leagues. When running a franchise, users can keep an eye out for the next Yasiel Puig or Ichiro Suzuki. Recreating MLB’s posting system for international players, players looking to make the jump to Major League Baseball are posted by their team in the offseason.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Game management is the other element of OOTP gameplay. While gameday screens have never been much to look at, that has not hindered the experience. But this year, OOTP has an actual graphical overlay with the introduction of 3D ballparks. Unfortunately, the feature is like a timid youngster just called up from the minors who is not quite ready for the show. The feature somewhat works and has already improved greatly since the preview build, but it adds little to the overall experience and is still a work in progress.
OOTP Developments is working to fully realize the team’s vision for 3D ballparks. However, a dedicated community is expected to beat developers to it. In fact, OOTP 15 encourages players to explore the wealth of user-created upgrades available. No game embraces its fans more than OOTP 15, and the community has grown into an integral part of the game’s framework.
What’s on the Menu?
As a text-based management sim, much of OOTP 15’s gameplay is actually spent in the menus. Developers understand navigating the menus smoothly is an important aspect of the user experience so they worked hard to improve it.
Menus are largely similar to last season’s installment of the franchise and players just discovering the world of OOTP will face a difficult learning curve. However, a new user interface adds a sleek modern polish that previous versions of the game have lacked. Menus are still buried under other menus, but this year’s more visually appealing system gives players quicker access to the most important screens.
Once again, the newest iteration of OOTP is the best the franchise has offered. International leagues complete with an MLB style posting system add a new layer of depth to an already realistic experience. However, the game is still a work in progress, which is disappointing after the title has fully released. Still, OOTP 15’s enhancements cannot be ignored.
OOTP 15 proves Out of the Park Baseball is no longer a promising young prospect. As an established veteran, the franchise has solidified its spot on stat geeks’ rosters for years to come.
tags: ootp , ootp 15 , ootp 15 review , out of the park baseball 15 , review