Version Tested: PC
Available On: PC
Developer: OOTP Developments
Publisher: OOTP Developments
Genre: Sports Simulation
It’s coming to the end of a great baseball season, with a slight regret that the Back to the Future prediction about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series did not come true. With the offseason looming, there is one game that could quench your thirst for baseball. Out of the Park Baseball 16, created by OOTP Developments, released earlier this year is one of the only baseball management games on the market. Want to lead your favorite baseball franchise to the World Series, think that you can make the right calls, sign the right players and take your team to victory? Even if you do not really watch baseball, Out of the Park Baseball 16 is an entertaining sports management game, quite similar in style to the Football Manager series in style.
Picking a team from Major League Baseball, or create your own league and play through unlimited seasons as the manager, general manager, or both can be rewarding: taking charge of the teams games or running the club. The game is easier to pick up if you have played a similar game like those from the Football Manager series, for those who have little knowledge of baseball or other sports team management games it can be overwhelming and you will need to look at the online manual and the YouTube video tutorials. There is no in-game tutorial so you will have to do some reading and research before playing the game with any success.
Graphically this game is not hard to run, you can easily run this on most modern computers, however, processing power and hard drive space could be an issue, especially if you are running multiple leagues in the same game. Saved game file sizes can be monstrous and if you have lots of leagues running at the same time the game will be slower to load between turns than if you have just one league running. The user interface seems foreign at first but makes sense considering how much information the game gives you.
Playing a Major League Baseball team can be challenging, you can even setup a historical league and have legendary players like Babe Ruth on your team. Creating a fantasy league and playing through it a few seasons was extremely enjoyable, the inaugural draft at the very beginning of your first season lets you build the team you want, but it also means that you must tactically pick which star players you will pick first before other teams cherry pick them. Will you pick a veteran starting pitcher with great stats first or will you pick that first baseman with future batting potential?
This game has literally every relevant stat that matters, everything you could want is provided, Out of the Park Baseball even goes as far to give players and staff personalities, are they a good leader, or are they a arrogant and unhappy, a five-star player could have good stats, but is upsetting the rest of the team in the locker room.
Out of the Park Baseball, 16 is a strong management and simulation game. It is complicated to begin with however, the amount of micromanagement required throughout an entire season seems unnecessary. There is little feedback in the game on from doing certain actions, like having your strategy changed. There was no indication on what effect it would have on your current line-up. The player development is also very fixed; you must rely fully on how good the pitching and hitting coaches are as you have no input apart from who is hired for the respective coaching positions.
Despite certain aspects of the game being difficult to learn, this is a game for those who love to sit down and crunch numbers, build teams and who love baseball. The most rewarding part of this game for me was calling the shots from the dugout, play by play, inning by inning. Out of the Park Baseball, 16 can be a rewarding sports management simulation but is difficult and time-consuming to master.
From London in the United Kingdom.
Games and technology journalist.
PC / IOS / Xbox 360 / Nintendo 3DS