OOTPB15 is spectacular. I never thought I could be this entertained by what is essentially a spreadsheet simulator; I mean that phrase with no negative connotation. I grew up playing franchise mode in Madden Football and dynasty mode in MVP Baseball, and I always thought the actual controlling of the players during the game was secondary to the real fun-- the management. If you were similar, then you'll love OOTPB.
I played the heck out of OOTPB14 and transferred my 50 year league into OOTPB15 without issue. One minor problem happened later on with the save file, but it resolved itself. Additionally, the developers were quick to offer support, which I appreciated but ultimately didn't need.
My experience thus far is limited to single player. The multiplayer sounds awesome, but single player has been more than enough to keep me occupied for 250+ hours (OOTPB14 playing time included).Pros:
- Extremely decent user interface
- Deep baseball business detail
- Deep game management detail
- Smart player progression and aging
- Pretty good rookie player generation
- Fairly good GM and manager AI
- Players are mostly aware of their monetary value
- Huge database of historical players/ seasons
- Detailed game simulation engine
- Injuries are ludicrous
- Not sure the simulation engine is optimized
- No financial inflation or growth
- Team ballparks are not true to real life
- Lopsided game scores
To elaborate on some of the things I've listed as cons...
The injury system is a bit insane. Sure, you can turn injury frequency to off, low, normal, high (realistic), and very high, but I'd feel like a noob if I didn't have it on at least normal. But on the normal level, I have had, on MULTIPLE occasions, six or more batters from the starting lineup injured, two or three starting pitchers out with Tommy John surgery (or a broken finger or some crap), and a couple relievers out as well. So then, a word of warning: make sure you hire a great team trainer, and when signing players, be sure to place a lot of weight on their injury history. I had been careless about it, but one time I actually had all 9 starting batters out of the lineup on long term injuries. Be careful. I list it as a con because the AI managers have no regard for these things, as far as I can tell. The guy with the wrecked injury history? Play him 162 games until he literally suffers a career ending injury in pre-game warm-ups (I had that happen once).
The simulation engine doesn't seem lightning fast. I know there's a lot going on in the game world, but I've got some decent hardware and I feel like it should be faster. The game seems to put most of its load on one core of my i7, but doesn't even max it out. I wonder if it needs to fetch and write a lot of data on the hard drive during the sim, and maybe that slows it down; I'd be interested to hear from someone who plays this with an SSD. Maybe the sim is intentionally slow for suspense reasons. I really don't know.
As far as finances go, the top contracts are always around $22mil, give or take. And my budget has been in the same ballpark (heheh) for all 50 or so years of my fictional league. Anyways, that's really nitpicky. However I don't structure contracts to weigh the money on the back end since I'm not expecting any growth. Even salary throughout.
I understand that OOTP can't use logos or stadium names, but for all the effort they put into detail for this game, you'd think they would have accurate sim modifiers for each stadium. The coefficient for HRs at Orioles' ballpark is like .96 or something, whereas in reality, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a great place to hit homeruns. You can change these stats manually, but eh. I only care enough about it to complain, not to fix it.
And the last thing I can think of is the scoring in the sim engine. There are 15 run blowouts on a regular basis. The sim engine doesn't seem to have a concept that a team would let up once they have a 5 or 6 run lead.
But overall, absolutely brilliant game. If you like baseball and know a fair amount about stats, this is a great game for you.