Publisher: OOTP Developments
Developer: OOTP Developments
If I was just a teensy bit lazier, my review of Out of the Park 2017 would be incredibly easy to write: I’d just copy and paste what I wrote last year about OOTP 16 and call it a day.
It’s not like the two games are that different, after all. You could probably get away with using that dreaded sports game epithet — “roster update” — and not be that far from the truth. Most of the changes from last year represent little more than tinkering to some degree or another, whether we’re talking about the inclusion of “Facegen” technology (which gives all the real players in this game pictures that vaguely approximate how they look in real life), an expanded historical database that includes more than 150,000 minor leaguers, or a Historic Exhibition option that allows you to pit any two teams from any point in baseball history against each other. All of these new features certainly add to the game’s already ridiculously high degree of realism, but considering how realistic the game already is, it feels like a textbook case of gilding the lily.
If I have any complaint about OOTP 17, it’s a minor one: my favourite feature in last year’s game was the inclusion of weird little biographical stories about players that popped up in your inbox from time. Stories like a player being suspected of having an affair because of where his car had been spotted around town, or someone becoming a cult hero thanks to his commercials for a local used car dealership. They obviously had zero bearing on how a season plays out, but they still added a little off-kilter colour to a game that can otherwise be a little dry. They seem to be gone from OOTP 17, replaced by stories of players getting benched for being habitually late for practice or getting into shouting matches with local media. I may have been alone in loving those strange tales, but I still think they added something oddly wonderful to the game.
As with the minor improvements, however, we’re talking about a nearly imperceptible decrease of enjoyment. Just as adding more minor leagues to the 1962 season only enhances OOTP 17 by a matter of degrees, so to does removing silly stories from the newswire only take away from it by a minimal amount.
As for the rest of the game, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from the OOTP franchise as the deepest sports management sim available. It’ll really only appeal to you if you’ve got an insatiable appetite for the deepest minutiae of baseball stats, but if you’ve ever debated WPA, wRC+, or fWAR vs. bWAR, then OOTP 17 will once again be occupying a significant chunk of your time this summer.