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I’ve been reviewing Out of the Park Baseball games for four years now, only missing last season’s OOTP 10. I’m a huge fan of the series and can’t wait each year to see what they’ve done to improve one of my favorite games. From the addition of the Face-Gen tech in OOTP 2007 through the written scouting reports in OOTP 9, I have always enjoyed these games. Is the latest the greatest, or has the series finally stalled?

Let’s get this out in the open now: yes, OOTP 11 is better then any of the games I have reviewed before it. It’s faster, the menus are smoother to navigate and the gameplay (including evolving stories as your league progresses and teams relocating or your league expanding automatically) is more engaging then in years past. I really like the schedule at the top-center of your screen. I also love the new manager’s screen. It’s like having a desk in front of me with all relevant information, front and center. There is no way I can go back to OOTP 9, or even OOTP 10. This is the current champ of the genre.

The bad part is that most of the game has been carried over from past titles. The html pages the game produces have hardly changed in years, and most of the screens hold the same information they’ve held in games past. I can’t harp too much, because what’s here works, but I’d like to see some kind of visual overhaul beyond the yearly recolored skin.

Modders, though, have rode to the rescue. Padrefan’s mod site (found here) is a treasure trove of visual and technical tweaks that can make the game look and work almost however you want it. The best mod for me takes advantage of one of my favorite new features in OOTP 11: the ability to create and save face gen faces for individual players. Mods like the Historical Facegen Project (read more here) have facegen pictures for current and past players (for historical leagues) so you’re not stuck with random, often inaccurate pictures for your favorite players.

I want to touch on one more feature that I really like – the baseball card option. You can choose, at any time,  to create a baseball card for any player. They are saved in your league’s save folder for later viewing. Cards are produced automatically for players that make the all-star team each year. This is a great milemarker for your league’s progression.

This is the best baseball management sim to date, and I don’t see how any game is going to dethrone Out of the Park Baseball any time soon. There’s too much content here, too much gameplay, and feverish mod community that continues to pump out content to customize your game. This is, indeed baseball management perfection. Alphasim out.

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