I was first introduced to Out of the Park (OOTP) Baseball 13 last year when one of my good friends in the industry recommended the game to me after he started playing it. A few years ago, MLB Front Office Manager came out and I bought the game right as it game out because I was excited about the possibility of playing as a GM and running my team (because who doesn’t?). The game stunk, didn’t run well, the AI was faulty, and the game was full of bugs. I stuck to MLB the Show for a while (I still play that a lot too) but when I started playing OOTP, I instantly enjoyed the game. Last year game was great, but this year is vastly improved from before. Updates include:
- Up to date roster sets and every player is individually rated thanks to Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system.
- Player Development Reports, these can be sent to you every month and will tell you the progress of your prospects and notable other players. Such as when they gain an uptick in velocity or learn a new pitch
- Improved Depth Charts
- Improved AI for player evaluation, contract negotiation, in-game decisions, and trading
When you first start up OOTP 14 there are many options to start with, starting in the major leagues you can be the GM of a major league team, or the coach of any team (minor league or major league). I first started the game as the GM of Tampa (what a surprise I know) and had a blast, but my team still did very well, even with injuries, harder trades, and increased difficulty. The game also starts with player ratings as 1-20, but I changed it to the standard 20-80, but can be changed to 1-100, 1-10, or Stars. I needed a better challenge, so I expanded the league and made the Portland Stars and the Charlotte Carolinas (have to do two teams). To do this, just start the game as unemployed, GM only, and turn on commissioner mode (you can turn this off afterwards). After the game loads, go to league setup and click Expand League and hold Draft. This was much more of a challenge as you start the game with an empty roster, have to go through an expansion draft, and then fill a minor league system that is completely empty!
Your team will probably stink in the beginning (unless you change the rules on the expansion draft) and it is much more satisfying to bring a team from the bottom to a world series victory. (Feel free to play this while celebrating your World Series victory). There are a lot of ways to customize the game so that it can play certain ways based on what you want. During the game you can have it set up so that you control everything from the top down, from setting lineups and depth charts and the rotation (minor leagues and major leagues), to promotions and signings at all levels to game decisions. The best way I played was to have the computer control the minor league promotion, lineups and depth charts, and signings while you keep the focus on the big league club. Otherwise it got kinda annoying when you are trying to play the game and can’t because your short-season team needs another OF and you need to adjust the whole system.
Some faults I do have include the AI promotion/demotions setup. At times it would leave players that would need a promotion in the lower league, or would keep a player at a level that is too hard for him when he should be demoted. For individual players this can be fixed by having them locked to the current minor league team. Also, the game (at least while I was playing) would crash every once in a while or start running extremely slow. I’m not sure if it is just because my computer stinks (might be) or if the game just gets bogged down the longer you play. So just make sure to save often while playing. This game was an absolute blast to play and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this type of game.
FYI: If you have any questions during the game, the forums were extremely helpful in answering questions about setup or if you were confused about something.