I was able to get a preview copy of OOTP Development’s new game, Out of the Park 13. I’ve been a fan of this series for a few years, since OOTP 10, so I was pretty excited when it arrived in the (e-)mail. I have evaluated the game over the past month and I really, really like it.
OOTP has never been big on graphics. This year, despite being a text-sim baseball game, they have greatly improved their GUI (graphical user interface). If you have played OOTP before, you would know that they used to have a main screen — the manager’s inbox. Now the main screen is a brief overview page where you can see the league leaders, the standings, recent events, transactions, player injuries, upcoming and recently achieved milestones, and news. While you could see this in previous versions of OOTP, it would be on a sub-page and you would have to use scroll bars and various other links to see these. Now, you can see it on one page without having to scroll down or click other links: everything is a tab. A new feature is the scrolling score bar, like the one you would see on ESPN, on the bottom.
I have noticed a problem while playing in-game, however. If you use a resolution of 1366 x 768 like I do, then the bottom of the game will be cut off. That means that you won’t be able to see the ratings versus the handedness of the pitcher down.
This is where OOTP really excels. Baseball is to statistics as America is to apple pie. With OOTP, I have rarely had unrealistic statistics. John Bowker will never hit 50 home runs, Matt Kemp will hit 30+ homers, and Kevin Youkilis will get on base at an ungodly clip. You can play each game, simulate a few games, simulate an entire season, or simulate multiple seasons. When you play each game, you can choose to play “one pitch per at bat” mode or a pitch-by-pitch mode. Unlike Baseball Mogul, you cannot choose where the pitcher throws the pitch or what kind of pitch it will be, and that’s the way it should be in a text simulation baseball game. Also unlike Mogul, you will have an ownership group that actually cares about how you do. You will be fired if you win 57 games in a season and your payroll is $114 million. You can even be fired mid-season if you’re doing poorly.
The greatest thing about OOTP is the depth. Unlike Mogul, where MiLB is just a place to stash your prospects as they trend a straight progression line, OOTP will give you stats, it will give you ups and downs in progression. For example, Gerrit Cole was 11-6 with an ERA of 2.48 in 116 innings in AA for me. When I promoted him to AAA, he struggled to adjust and threw an ERA over 5 until I demoted him to AA. Sometimes you’ll get your Jose Bautista in a game, but you’ll also get an Andruw Jones.
If you’re looking for a baseball game that is incredibly deep, OOTP is the game.