Video game review: OOTP 13 Baseballby Troy Patterson
April 24, 2012
I've always been a fan of general manager modes and sport simulators. My favorite one is Football Manager for those who like the beautiful game. In comparison OOTP stands up very well, but falls short in one regard. Let's take a look at the game from top to bottom.
In the 2013 version (I've not played earlier versions) of OOTP baseball you start by taking a job as general manager of a major league team. You can also choose to be coach of a minor league squad. but lose ability to move players or make major roster changes. You deal mainly with in-game decisions and roster or rotation choices. I actually enjoyed this version and it's a very good intro into the subtleties of the game. Once you take over a major league team the game makes you a GM, and I could not find a way to just coach the team. I would have liked this as an option as I felt like it missed a step.
The day to day changes can be as in depth as you want and the GM still has "manager" controls of his team. I took control of the 2012 San Diego Padres and could either allow Bud Black to take the rains of his roster or tell him what to do. It would have been interesting to have the manager be more of an independent source and have to pick coaches who agree or don't with your decisions. Once I took a GM job, I liked to allow the coach to manage the lineup, but once I gave up that control on a day to day I couldn't overrule something without turning off the control. I would have liked some way I to say, "Bud you can do anything else, but bat this guy and play him at first every game."
|Screenshot of 2012 Padres Season|
The interaction with free agents is very good and involves potential competitor bids and a good AI to avoid low bids. You also have to deal with your scouting department, which is only as good as you make it. Upon signing a four-star player as a shortstop, I watched him suddenly graded a one-star by the same scouting staff after half a season of flailing and being benched by the coach. I've only completed one season, but I'm sure this will follow from your future draft picks who were graded by the same scouting staff.
As a GM or a manager you can either simulate games or "manage the game" at bat by at bat. This I found to be the one area I prefer a game like Football Manager as the game flows and you can watch like a manager. I'm not sure I can think of a better way for OOTP to handle the in game, but it's a tad slow and the game is stop and go.
I have been critical of the game, but only in regards to what I think might make it better. I found the game very engaging and love the format of player engagement. You can play pretty much any league you want , and you can even replay a season from the past. You can also empty the rosters and have your own fantasy draft with the current league settings or add and subtract teams.
You also have more to do than just signing and trading players as you also have to deal with the all important budget. You have a limit and must keep amounts for extensions, new free agents, development and staff. If you fail to pay attention to this, your younger players may suffer from a lack of development money or perhaps you can no longer sign the free agent to solidify your playoff run. Also your budget can change when the season is over based on how well you did. After claiming the NL West in 2012, my Padres budget increased for the next season, but I might have had some hard choices if I hadn't made the playoffs.
The 2013 version of OOTP baseball is a real gem and great for all baseball fans. There is also an online game system I haven't had the chance to use yet. Based on the single player system, though I would highly recommend buying the game and I would give it a 9/10. If the in game system was more visual and engaging, I would easily give it a 10/10. You can purchase the game here or read more about the latest developments and game information here.
Check out more work from Troy at Roto Savants. You can contact him with questions or recommendations email me or follow @TroyPatterson