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Bill Lee's Out of the Park Baseball 10

Score: 92%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: PISD
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Sports (Baseball)/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

From detailed stadiums and larger-than-life players to the crack of a homerun and roar of the crowd, modern baseball videogames have really aspired to bring America's pastime to life for the everyday Joe and Jill playing at home on their PCs and consoles. However, for some select gamers, these sensational aspects are not the real appeal of the sport. For the die-hard statistician, few sports offer the in-depth numbers and detailed numerical abundance of baseball. For these gamers, as well as the would-be managers, Bill Lee's Out Of The Park Baseball 10 (OOTP 10) is a dream come true. OOTP 10 provides the players with unparalleled statistical and managerial control of all Major and Minor League teams. If you are looking for a game that is graphically and aurally slick and beautiful, this is not the game for you. If the idea of crunching the numbers and making the key decision of which players to play, setting pitching rotations and arbitrating contracts are the real thrill, then welcome to heaven.


Gameplay in Out Of The Park Baseball 10 is a bit different from most "games." The player initially chooses a team or teams to manage. All 2009 Major League rosters are included in the game, as well as many of the Minor League and farm system teams. For the more adventurous, the option to create your own team exists, including the ability to design your own uniforms. If desired, players can then proceed through a draft using real players to repopulate teams. If instead you prefer to jump right into the game, you can simply choose to manage pre-existing teams, taking over at the beginning of the 2009 campaign. If all of this sounds fairly similar to other baseball games on the market, well, here is where the similarity ends. As the manager, players have no direct control of the individual team members or of their performance. Instead, it is the job of the manager to maintain contracts, read scouting reports, determine pitching rotations, adjust batting orders and primarily oversee the general day-to-day operations of the team. Some of this can be handled by an A.I. general manager system, but for those who like to have their fingers on the very pulse of the team, every facet can be controlled if desired.

I must admit, not being a number-centric individual, this game did cause me a bit of stress. Aside from the managerial dealings, there are still 162 games (if you choose a ML team) to be played. These can be quickly simulated, but there is also the option of "managing" the game. This is where my frustration was brought to the fore. As manager, you can dictate how the pitcher will pitch (intentional walk, pitch around, pick-off attempts, etc.) as well as how the batter will approach his at-bat (bunt, sacrifice, swing away, steals, hit-and-run, etc.) However, there is no real control. You "signal" in the desired play, but the action is totally out of your hands, much like the actual manager in real games, and just because you called in a play doesn't necessarily mean that that is what will happen. As involved as you may be, it is very much a spectator sport in this regard.

Aside from seasonal play, OOTP 10 also includes historical simulations of many great games in the past. Take over as the manager in any of these to try and repeat (or change) history. This is a fun and refreshing angle for those that do not want to play through an entire season or for just taking a short interlude.


There is a fairly steep learning curve for first-time players of Out Of The Park Baseball 10. Being the 10th installment in the series, return players will not have much difficulty at all jumping right in and getting to work, but for the newcomer, the multitude of screens which provide copious, seemingly overwhelming amounts of information can be quite daunting. If the player is not already a fan of baseball, many of the statistical categories will mean almost nothing and learning what they are and how they relate to the game can and will take quite a while to process. That being said, for those with some familiarity with the sport, after the initial assessment of the screens, the learning curve quickly levels out. No doubt the nuances of managing a team will take quite some time figure out, but isn't that the point? The screens are fairly user-friendly and once the player has explored a bit, become fairly intuitive to navigate. There was a pdf manual included with the copy of the game I received for review, but I was unable to open or view it, so that did not provide me with much guidance. I can only imagine that many of the minor questions I have would have been answered within and that this is a one-off incident and not something endemic to the entire run. If it is a persistent problem, I would hope that Strategy First will somehow provide a manual to players that request it. Regardless, even without the manual I was able to become a competent, if not outstanding manager in fairly short order and, though I'm not a numbers guy, I was able to keep pace with the gameplay without much issue.

Game Mechanics:

As mentioned above, Out Of The Park Baseball 10 features mechanics that differ from most games. Most of the gameplay takes place on statistics screens, dragging and dropping various players in rotations and batting orders, negotiating and arbitrating contracts and disputes, evaluating new talent and free agents and maintaining communications with the "head office." There is no "reflexive" gameplay using the mouse and keyboard, nothing that requires any real dexterous ability aside from pointing to the right buttons or fields and typing the right numbers. The real mechanics of OOTP 10 take place in the player's head, trying to crunch the numbers and determine, through math or intuition, what the best decisions are for the team. According to the documentation, there are online leagues which would I'm sure increase the competitiveness for those managers out there that want to challenge more than a computer simulation. Although I did not participate in one of these myself, my association with a roto-baseball league leads me to imagine that this would be the true appeal of this type of game for most players.

Even without the visual and audio appeal of a flashy baseball "simulation" game, OOTP 10 holds its own as a true simulator. I will venture to say that if you are not already a fan of baseball, this is probably not the best way to initiate contact (though you will undoubtedly learn a lot about the game if you stick with it.) For those fans of true simulation, especially those that want to go one-on-one online against friends or strangers, this game offers a plethora of content and flexibility. Returning fans of the series will find a nice mix of familiar features and some fresh new content. If you love baseball and numbers, then this is definitely a game to satisfy your needs. Batter up, play ball!

-The Mung Bard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Buddy Ethridge

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows Vista or XP, 1024x768 display, 1GHz processor, 256 MB RAM

Test System:

OS: XP, Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU 3.06 GHz, Memory: 2 GB of RAM, Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512

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