Hello, Jerk-O-Philes! It’s the start of a new era here at T2J, and while we’re planning our grand podcast comeback (It will happen, we promise), we’re going to do our best to provide with you with some new content here on the blog, from movie and sports news to reviews, essays and general rants.
We’re kicking things off with a review, of a video game you’ve heard us talk about on the podcast many times before: Out of the Park Baseball. This year’s edition is the 18th iteration of the popular baseball management sim, and, long story short, it’s the deepest, most accessible one yet.
The game returns all of the features longtime fans love, including historical rosters dating back to 1871, historical minor leagues (Manage the real-life minor league baseball careers of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Michael Jordan, John Elway and others, if you want), full customization, and current 2017 major and minor league teams with realistic scouting and ratings. However, the new features are what make the game really shine.
This year, OOTP Developments (Makers of OOTP Baseball and other sports management sims) not only brought the historical Negro Leagues into the game, but also an all-new challenge mode. If you’re a console “Franchise Mode” nut, this is for you. Challenge Mode helps you learn the game’s intricacies, while also eliminating the ways one could “cheat” by not allowing the player to turn on Commissioner Mode and edit players’ ratings or force trades, etc. Commissioner Mode is still available outside Challenge Mode, if that’s your thing. Instead, it offers an experience that is similar to playing a console game, minus controlling players during the game — this is still a management sim, after all. Developers promise that Challenge Mode will lead to a long-term expansion of OOTP’s online platform, which the company plans to unveil as the 2017 season goes on. The game has also added the Arizona Fall League to its minor league system, as well as a “World Cup of Baseball” tournament (think World Baseball Classic).
As someone who has played console baseball games in the past (I’ve recently been playing MLB The Show ’17), this game offers a deeper, much more customizable experience. It even has improved its 3D stadium and player models to make the in-game presentation more fun to watch. If you’re a Franchise Mode junkie, and you don’t mind not being able to swing the bat or throw the ball yourself once in a while, this is your game. If you’re new to sports management sims, don’t be intimidated. OOTP 18 has an upgraded, easy-to-understand presentation, and offers worthwhile help to navigate some of the game’s more arcane rules regarding contracts. OOTP 18 is a must-have for baseball fans, sports stat-heads, or if you’re the type of person who thinks you can do a better job as GM or manager of your favorite team than the real-life ones. It’s available for PC, Mac and Linux systems for $39.99 at OOTPDevelopments.com. You can also get the game on Steam or the Mac App Store.
Full Disclosure: OOTP Developments provided T2J a free copy of the game for us to review.