The challenge with any sports game, be it video or text, is keeping things familiar enough that hardcore fans don’t feel betrayed, but also fresh enough to entice fans to spend yearly to have the latest version.  Over time, OOTP has answered this challenge.  The question is, does OOTP 14 follow suit? What’s here will […]
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Review: OOTP 14 for Mac

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The challenge with any sports game, be it video or text, is keeping things familiar enough that hardcore fans don’t feel betrayed, but also fresh enough to entice fans to spend yearly to have the latest version.  Over time, OOTP has answered this challenge.  The question is, does OOTP 14 follow suit?

What’s here will feel very familiar to OOTP veterans.  You are the puppet master of the entire baseball universe, be it real life today or a 100% work of fiction.  The choice is yours.  Watch everything unfold without any interference on your part or meticulously manage each at bat, and everything in between.

(Note:  For the purpose of this review, I managed an MLB team over an entire season.)

But the question here is the same as it was last year and the year before that:  is it worth the price this year or should I Just stick with OOTP 13?  To help answer, let’s take a look at a handful of some of the new features.

The developers completely recoded the player origin system.  It may not sound fancy, but it amounts to a lot.  For starters, the way players enter your OOTP universe was given a refreshing change, particularly when it comes to international talent.  You’ll see everything from 16-year-old prospects to established stars a la Ichiro or Yu Darvish.  With that also comes more realistic creation algorithms, which leads to better long and more realistic long-term sims.  I never saw this as an issue in last year’s version, but it’s good to know the developers have their eyes on all areas of this massive game.

Scouting has also received an overhaul to increase realism.  Scouts will now be better able to rate a veteran than an unknown prospect.  And to add some more excitement to your OOTP world, there will be some players that are universally mis-rated by all scouts.

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OOTP 14 lets you see all transactions at-a-glance with this new screen.

This year’s release also addresses what I felt was a weakness in last year’s game – cumbersome prospect management.  Navigating between the various screens that are used to help analyze how a prospect is doing was sometimes frustrating, but OOTP 14 features a new way to track player development.  You can receive monthly reports that clearly shows how your players are progressing.  Each player’s page even shows more relevant development data.  It’s a very welcomed addition.

It's much easier to see how well your players are progressing.

It’s much easier to see how well your players are progressing.

Trading also received some refreshing tweaks.  There is a new transactions log screen, which records and displays each trade in your league.   But my favorite addition is the ability to mark a player as “not interested” so the computer will stop offering you the same player you’ve already rejected 17 times.

I admit that I chuckled when I received this message.

I admit that I chuckled when I received this message.

The cosmetics have also been touched up quite a bit.  The game features a new font and, in my own words, feels crisper and brighter.  It’s just more pleasant to look at, which is critical in text sims   Many of the screens themselves have been changed a bit.  My favorite is the new pitching screen, which features a new layout and more options on how can set your rotation and bullpen.

This year's release looks a lot sharper.

This year’s release looks a lot sharper.

There are some areas that could use some updating.  OOTP has come a very long way in improving the layout of the game, but one area that could use a refresher is navigating the OOTP universe.  The fact is that the game is so deep that it can feel overwhelming at times.  There have been a few instances where I’ve noticed myself frustrated with how many clicks it takes to find a particular stat or look for certain data.  A streamlined interface that better illustrates what GM’s should focus on would go a long way.

These are not game-killing flaws by any means.  In fact, within that flaw is one of OOTP’s greatest strengths – cramming so much material into such a fun and enjoyable game.  It’s still early, but I don’t see how this won’t end up being my favorite release yet.  Whether you’re on the fence about trying OOTP for the first time or a long-time player contemplating the new version, you can’t go wrong with OOTP 14.  I highly recommend you try it out.

OOTP 14 is available now for $39.99 for Mac & PC.

Also available right now for iOS is iOOTP 13.  Click here for a list of features.  The price is  $4.99 and it is a universal app.

A copy of OOTP 14 and iOOTp 13 was provided by Out of the Park Developments to iSource for review purposes.  See our ‘About’ page for policies on reviews.

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