Here I was at 1:10 AM, unwittingly realizing I had let the night slip away from me. I had been playing Out of the Park Baseball for five hours in what I thought was going to be a quick play through to get a feel for the new game.
But yet, I couldn't help myself.
A small tweak here, move this player to AA from AAA because he's struggling, adjust my pitching staff, let's see if the Reds will take this trade.
And then it was five hours later and 1:10 AM. That's how Out of the Park Baseball has always gotten you, and again this year, that's how it got me again.
Out of the Park Baseball 18 is the latest release in a series that has become a staple in the discussion for Sports Game of the Year here at Operation Sports.
This year, the game has several new tricks up its sleeve. Tournaments such as the World Baseball Classic have been added. Also added is the Arizona Fall League, and several big changes have been made to the 3-D engine. Last but not least is the addition of the Negro Leagues in Historical Play.
On top of that, there are several other changes to how you play the game. You can now retain player contracts in trades, and the roster and transaction AI has seen an overhaul this year.
The latter is perhaps the most important day-to-day change with the game as the AI GMs in the game are smarter than they've ever been. While a perfect modeling of MLB general manager behavior in a game which sees thousands of transactions a season is just not possible, Out of the Park Baseball is definitely rather good at it.
On top of that, you'll get smarter trade offers in OOTP than just about any other sports game. I've even had a couple of trades proposed to me through years one and two that I actually was surprised at how well it worked for both sides.
Of course, the AI will also continually try to swindle you in trades, but you have to give the AI credit for trying anyways.
Managing an MLB organization's roster is a tall task that can mire you down in minutiae -- and at the very least it's a little overwhelming. In OOTP 18, you have every level of the minor leagues plus your MLB roster to manage. Players are assets to be developed, traded, acquired or released.
Much of your time will be spent managing your roster from top to bottom, and while you don't see the players in as great of detail as something like MLB The Show, you develop an odd attachment to at least a couple of your players. As you watch their statistical performances and their ratings ebb and flow, you can't help but root for faceless players whom you only know by name over the course of seasons.
The true beauty of Out of the Park Baseball 18 is that it doesn't change the formula enough to mess with the familiarity of the whole concept. In that way, Out of the Park Baseball is instantly a winner.
In fact, Out of the Park Baseball is a must buy for anyone who enjoys the business side of baseball. If you've never given the game a try, you owe it to yourself to give OOTP a try. Check it out at OOTP Developments Website.
I'll have a lot more on Out of the Park in the coming weeks as we arrive at Opening Day of the MLB season.