Thursday, April 11, 2013

OOTP 14 Review

Last summer, I bought a new Mac and didn’t have any games on it. I was browsing through the app store and saw OOTP. I had never played OOTP before. I had purchased iOOTP for two years and loved it. I played it often on my phone at night or during breaks during the day. It was quick and easily accessible to pretend to be a GM and build up a dynasty. The depth of the game was as good or better than any other baseball game on the market. When I saw the game in the app store, I couldn’t pass on it. If the portable version was good, this has to be great…and so it began.

I played it a lot. Sometimes a couple hours would pass and I wouldn’t even realize it. That is what a game should do, in my opinion. It isn’t MLB The Show. It doesn’t look like a real baseball game or even try to attempt that. While I love the aesthetics of that polished console game, it fails on so many levels that I find many part of the game unplayable. Yes, I am a baseball snob and I am proud of that. What OOTP 14 does is replicate how baseball works better than any other game I have ever seen. OOTP 13 was a great game but lacked in amateur player acquisition. I worked on custom rosters but I got sidetracked. So I waited for the new version, one in which I hoped would have the updates I wanted.

For the couple months, I’ve been waiting for a new version to come out and I was excited when I saw the pre-release information that said it improved the parts of the game I wanted improved. Yes! I was lucky enough to get a version of the game before the pre-order release date so I could play it for a few days before I wrote my review.

This year, they used PECOTA for player ratings so the accuracy is as good as it gets. The minor leagues have all your favorite prospects, and the ones who are just organizational guys. You need them too in this game. You don’t want the AA team to suck. It will hurt the other guys’ morale. There are real players for the 2013 draft in the game…and the ratings are pretty accurate. I don’t know who did the labor on this but it is an impressive feat. Congrats to the development team for making a picky guy like me happy. Thanks as well.

At this point, I’m only one season in. I started a game as the GM of the Minnesota Twins. After playing the first season, the Owner thought we should play .500 ball (delusional) so I gave up on that by the 40th game or so and started selling off. I was pleased to find that I had to give up quality to get quality. By moving any veteran that I could get something for, I ended up getting a few decent prospects. The game is very realistic.  You can't trade scrubs for good prospects, though once a team is in win now mode, it is easier to pry them away. IF you want an easier go of it, you can tweak settings or even play in commissioner mode. You want to punish the Marlins? Want to make that contract for A-Rod a couple years longer to hurt the Yankees? You can do it in this game.

Back to my season. I checked the waiver wire often and picked up Jimmy Rollins and Roy Oswalt. I was hoping to flip them. Well that didn’t happen. So, J-Roll is the Twins 2014 short stop and Oswalt will be in the rotation…see being a GM isn’t that easy.

I went through the draft. Some of it was really accurate, some of it wasn’t but it’s hard to replicate something so unpredictable. Mark Appel lasted to the second round. The great part is that most of the ratings are representative of the real player. That is crazy. Eugene Vazquez wanted $2.6 million to sign, so did Justin Williams. They are good players but damn, that’s crazy. The thing is, they might actually have expectations like that. They are both talented, so in a simulation, this is believable. In the end, I paid them. Save at the big league level, spend on the draft. It was fun. The list of available players is huge and I recognized the vast majority of the names. I’m not sure if some were computer generated or not, the big names are there, so you can actually draft Jonathan Gray or Clint Frazier. So much fun.

I got skunked in the international free agency though. The top players kept running up the amount they wanted. By the time I realized I wasn’t landing a big fish, the little ones were gone. I only got a couple low level guys. That hurt.

Well, I will see how I can improve next year. I’ll try to move Rollins, wait for my youth to develop and hope Sano doesn’t miss almost an entire season with a leg injury. Yes, the game is very realistic and can crush dreams just like the real game. 

The game is phenomenal. The depth is amazing. There are reports on everything you could want. It is like having a full staff reporting to you. If I were a real GM, I would want many of the things in this game available to me. 

I can’t recommend this game more than I do. It is the best baseball game on the market. Hands down. Go buy it right now. You will be happy you did. Check out their facebook page for information, screenshots and to read what others are saying. I'm not the only one loves it. Don't miss out.

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