Forgive the pun, but Out of the Park Developments most recent iteration of its flagship baseball game, Out of the Park Baseball 16 (OOTP16) hits it, frankly, out of the park.
The game’s 16th edition (not to be confused with the year 2016) is available for PC, Mac and Linux as well as on the Steam platform. For the first time, the game is licensed by Major League Baseball and out of the box can play with 2015 rosters all the way down to rookie ball and logos. The rosters will be updated to Opening Day rosters shortly after Opening Day happens.
That is great news on its own, but even better news is that the game’s engine has not been compromised by the addition and has in fact improved in many ways.
The 3D feature that started last year with ball tracking is improved with 3D stadium models included and, yes, all Major League stadiums are included and a league can be created with a few clicks of a mouse.
Perhaps the coolest new feature included this year is interactive Hall of Fame voting. Every year, all active managers can send a Hall of Fame vote along with a ghost BBWAA to create a full voting ballot. The vote percentage required for entry as well as time on the ballot and years on a ballot is fully customizable as well.
And players who are enshrined get a beautiful looking Hall of Fame Plaque with a team given to them as well as a brief description of their career.
Another great feature with the MLB licence is the fact that historical leagues have true-to-era logos automatically imported so that if you play a game in the 1940s, the Brooklyn Dodgers will have their trademark ‘B’ which turns into their trademark ‘LA’ once the team moves to Los Angeles which is also done automatically.
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Within a few hours, you can simulate the entire history of Major League Baseball from 1871 with authentic players and see the game and the players evolve as it did in real life. Within three days, I have done this twice once using the game’s historical adjustments and once as if the game was played for over 100 years with 2015 rules and finances.
Not having to micromanage the logos and having them already included makes it quicker and easier than you can even imagine allowing you to tweak things and re-run things with a few clicks of a button.
The greatest part of OOTP16 is that it is customizable in so many ways, you can get bogged down by the slightest details.
Whether you want to expand the league in 2015 to include a new baseball team in Montreal, or start in 1969 and rewrite history and skip the 2004 move to Washington altogether, OOTP16 allows you to do it quite easily.
You can also take over from the 1994 season with the 74-40 Montreal Expos on August 12 – the exact day the strike hit.
You can also create a league which is completely fictional from the set up to the teams to the logos, uniforms and players.
The game released last Friday and is already scheduled to receive a second patch (the first patch came with the official release). The support is quite unprecedented when problems creep up but it has to be said that the problems have been quite minor to date.
More information can be seen on the game’s official website here. The game can also be purchased from that link at $39.99 (US) or, as mentioned above, on Steam. There is also an iOS and Android version (called MLB Manager) both of which include the MLB licence with a lighter game engine.
Having played this game since OOTP3, it is easy to say that this edition of the game is its best ever and if you haven’t given it a try, there is no better time to do it and if you have played it before, you already know what it can offer and it definitely deserves a look.