OOTP 14 Review: The Best Got Better

OOTP cover

Vitals:

Game: Out of the Park Baseball 14 (OOTP14)
Platform: PC
Developer: OOTP Developments
Modes: Franchise, Online Franchise
Cool Features: Incredible contracts system, massive player and coaches database, complete customizability, plenty of add-ons, and a robust online community.

Categories:

Realism: 10/10.
Graphics: 8/10.
Difficulty: 10/10.
Details: 10/10.
Playability: 10/10.
Intangibles: 50/50.

Total Score: 98/100 (A+)

Pros:

• Amazing contract details (arbitration, minor league contracts, team/player options, waiver wires, Rule 5 drafts, etc.).
• Massive and accurate rosters.
• Detailed scouting and free agency, now with more complex and realistic international scouting systems.
• Massively customizeable.
• Advanced-stat friendly.
• New, cleaner interface.
• Real-time simulation options.
• International leagues.
• Online/multiplayer functionality (still haven’t had the occasion to try).
• Authentic and unilateral rule changes, as well as total customizability, if’n you dislike the AI’s random changes.
• Authentic development and declines for rookies, prospects, and veterans.
• You can get fired. Owners can die. Rules can change. The game keeps itself fresh, constantly. Loved ones go neglected.

Cons:

• Many and lengthy loading screens, though it seemed to be better in OOTP14 than in 13, but maybe my expectations were what mostly changed.
• Still no BABIP for hitters. No LOB% for pitchers.
• Unpleasant in-game / game-management interface — busy, ugly, and unchanged from OOTP 11. It is more bearable, I discovered, upon enlarging the window size. Baseball Mogul still has the upper hand here.

General notes on the updates:

• It would be cool to have independent league stats for players out of the the MLB, much as how Baseball Mogul does it. There are supposedly “hidden” indy leagues, but I’m guessing “hidden” means they don’t exist until they poop out a player via the scouting system.
• Though pitcher’s have it, still no BABIP for hitters. I look at BABIP a lot. I would like BABIP for hitters.
• The pitching setup is MUCH easier to manage. I did not find the graphical depth chart particularly useful, but I had already become accustomed to the old depth chart / lineup system.
• Why did no one before suggest using a wider screen setting?! I used the narrow, default screen of over a year, and it allowed me to watch MLB.tv while playing, which is nice, but the screen, when made wider, rearranges in many useful ways (such as additional transaction boxes in the overview section, more and more useful displays in the in-game / game-management screen, etc.).

OOTP transactions

• Also: Keep on eye out for the add-ons. In particular, the all-in-one mod, which includes realistic faces and accurate team logos, among other things.
• The new international management system gets some getting used to, and I’m still not keen on having my Shortlist populated by dozens of low-ceiling players, but it seems more authentic than the previous system — though still a little less complicated than reality. The new international free agent period is quite fun, though I’m not sure how that spending gets allocated in my budget. I hit a wall in my int’l FA spending at one point, which is realistic, but I’m not sure if that was because I had spent so much the previous season (which would be the most realistic) or if I had merely run out of cash.
• Here is their official list of updates. I appreciate it when companies avoid abusing needy gamers by merely updating the player ratings and then slapping a new number on the title. OOTP Development genuinely improved the game.
• At some point, this game has nowhere to go but sideways. At 98 A+, this rendition of OOTP breaks the old record of 97 A+, set by none other than OOTP13.

Purchasing: ($39.99 at OOTPDevelopments.com)

Other Reviews:

97 A+ Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) 2013 (PC)
96 A+ Baseball Mogul ’13 (PC)
96 A+ MLB ’12 The Show (PS3)
79 C+ MLB 2K12 (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii, PC, etc.)
74 C MLB Ballpark Empire (Facebook)



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Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Brandon Warne
Guest

Nice format Woodrum!

Jacob Smith
Member
Jacob Smith

There’s an international spending cap that’s set at 3mil by default it seems. Going over that cap starts imposing penalties. Probably what went wrong for you. The most notable penalty is the more you go over, the more limited the contracts you can offer in the following IFA period.

Jacob Smith
Member
Jacob Smith

Also relevant, while the game uses OPS+ for hitters (and wOBA), doesn’t use wRC+. Why no wRC+ if you have wOBA? :(

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

My preorder copy arrived Friday and I immediately wasted a solid hour optimizing the 2013 Astros lineup and pitching staff, scouring the free agent market, telling my manager to favour prospects, and having my scouts do new reports of various potentially promising minor-leaguers from around the sport. As massively addicting as ever, and even more useful and enjoyable.

My one complaint: perhaps out of sheer perversion, I do wish real MLB players could be loaded in fictional leagues. Character flaw: fictional player sets simply confuse me (“hmm…I guess he’s good”) but I would love to force Strasburg, Harper, Price, Kershaw, Votto, etc. to take their talents to the London Broilers, the Ulster Bombers, Manchester Disorganised, and the Lincolnshire Posies.

Brad Cook
Guest
Brad Cook

Well-Beered Englishman:

You can indeed load real MLB players into a fictional league. Turn on commissioner mode and then go to the Free Agents screen. There’s a button to import players. Thanks.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Many thanks! I must now leave work early to try this.

Also, since I assume you are the Brad Cook who is one of OOTP’s developers: thank you, keep up the excellent work, and please accept partial responsibility for my diminished productivity over the coming months.

Brad Cook
Guest
Brad Cook

I’m actually the PR/marketing guy, not one of the developers (my coding experience consists of learning BASIC on a TI-99/4a in 1983), but I’m still happy to accept partial responsibility for any lost productivity. :-)

Blue
Guest
Blue

Here’s the problem I’ve got with OOTP. My scouting guy tells me some guy is awesome, I trade for him and then three months later he’e a half-star prospect. It’s just completely ridiculous.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

This has happened to me too in the past, but I never chalked it up to a bug in the game. There are other possible explanations:
– your scout went wild about a guy but is simply flat-out wrong
– your scout didn’t see much of the guy and maybe saw an especially strong outing
– your scout is not very good
– your scout gave five-star potential to a guy that the other scouting bureau in the game didn’t much like and you thought you had insider knowledge

I can still remember, in OOTP 11, my scout telling me Samuel Deduno had 5-star potential and was a three-star pitcher with dominant stuff already. I acquired him from the Rockies and installed him in my rotation immediately, but he flopped. At the end of the season a better scouting director was available on the market, I hired him, and many of my players’ ratings changed.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Oh or of course
– the player did have great potential as a prospect, but is simply a bust

Brad Cook
Guest
Brad Cook

Well-Beered Englishman is on the right track here. People forget that scouts have abilities in the game too, just like the players, coaches, and managers. (Believe me, I forget that all the time as well.) So, just like in real life, one scout may have a different opinion than another one.

Of course, if it bugs you that much, turn on commissioner mode and edit the player to your liking.

MustBunique
Member
Member

Any word on the availability for mobile devices? Can’t tell you how old iOOTP 2012 is getting.

Ben
Guest
Ben

iOOTP 13 came out quite recently.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Honestly, give me Mogul’s interface with OOTP’s under the hood stat porn and this probably becomes the greatest game ever. Still find myself simulating lots at a time because I don’t care for the interface in the nittygritty game by game aspect.

Though judging off the screens from what I’ve seen on others, it’s getting there. I myself will be picking this up in June. The stats behind everything are still pretty incredible, so the OOTP guys do great jobs!

Peter
Guest
Peter

I’ve been playing OOTP for about 6-7 years now, and also just in the last month or so “discovered” the larger screen feature (in OOTP 13, so I don’t know how long its been around). Makes you wonder what other cool features no one knows about!

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