Out of the Park Baseball 15, Reviewed

Out of the Park Baseball 15 (OOTP 15)
Developer: Out of the Park Developments
Platforms: Mac, PC, and Linux
Release Date: April 18, 2014
Price: $39.99 

A week before opening day, Ben Zobrist was traded to the Atlanta Braves for a pair of prospects – pitcher Cody Martin and shortstop Jose Peraza. With the addition of Zobrist, the subtraction of Dan Uggla, and a trade for reliever Tim Collins, the Atlanta Braves won the 2014 World Series. Not in real life, of course, but in Out of the Park Baseball 15, which is almost as real as real life.

OOTP is, simply, baseball simulation software. A little less simply, it is the portal to a higher plane of ascendancy. You don’t play the game, so much as you use it to hover over a variation of our very world and tug all the strings attached to Major League Baseball.

Out of the Park Baseball 15 allows the player to build an alternate reality in which they are both the general manager of a MLB team and Master of the Universe. Nearly everything can be customized, with a lot more emphasis on “everything” than “nearly.” I can’t stress this enough. To provide even the highest level detail on each available customization would turn this into a Ulysses-length review.

The most basic explanation of the experience is this:

  1. The player chooses a game mode. Their choices are Standard Game, Historical Game, Custom Game, and Quickstart Game.
  2. They customize their level of involvement, which can range from simulating literally everything to manually controlling literally everything.
  3. The player spends two hours choosing their facial hair.
M.V. Zobrist is the general manager of the Atlanta Braves, a gentleman, AND purveyor of fine monocles/snake oils.

M.V. Zobrist is the general manager of the Atlanta Braves, a gentleman, AND purveyor of fine monocles/snake oils.

Visually, OOTP 15 offers quite an improvement over previous versions. It’s flatter. The fonts are thinner. It maximizes space in a way that allows it to present an abundance of information on every screen without overwhelming the player.

The Manager's Office presents a lot of information, but it's easy to look at.

The Manager’s Office is busy, but it’s easy to look at.

As for gameplay, a game that offers the massive scope of OOTP is expected to play a bit clunky. It doesn’t. Simulating is surprisingly quick. It’s easy to navigate from space to space, too, which is super important in a game that allows the player to manage everything from roster moves to revenue streams to international scouting. Individual games within a season can be played, but it’s important to know that, rather than a MLB The Show-style gameplay in which the player executes actions as the pitcher, batter, and fielders, OOTP has you select the action and simulate the result.

For those interested in advanced statistics, OOTP 15 delivers. Basic batting stats include OPS+ and WAR. An expanded stat sheet offers wOBA, BABIP, and WPA. For those nostalgic for Fire Joe Morgan, it even includes VORP. There are four stat views for pitchers – basic stats, opponents’ batting stats, and two expanded stat sheets. The expanded pitching stat views show FIP, WPA, VORP, WAR, etc. If you’re reading this from your mom’s basement, you won’t be displeased.

Overall rating, on a scale of 1-5 Zobrists: 5 Zobrists.

Scouting report, using the traditional 20-80 scale:

Playability: 70
Details: 80
Realism: 80
Visuals: 75
SABR-friendliness: 75

OOTP is a legitimate five-tool game. It’s the Mike Trout of baseball simulation software. BUY IT.

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1 Response to Out of the Park Baseball 15, Reviewed

  1. Pingback: The OOTP 15 reviews thread - OOTP Developments Forums

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