Unlike many reviewers, I don't always like the genre that I review. I basically hate sports games but I've reviewed them for years. Why? Because Von is an evil bastard and makes me do it. I may not like a game from a personal standpoint but I can tell a good game from a bad game. It works out for everyone: You get an unbiased review; I get to go through hell for a day or two, and Von derives extreme pleasure from my discomfort. There's a German word for that that I recall Lisa mentioning on an episode of the Simpsons. I think it was Volkswagen or something like that. (Actually, it's Schadenfreude - and I love it! - Oh, and it's spelled V-A-U-G-H-N!! - Vaughn)

In any case it turns out that Out of the Park Baseball 6.5 isn't a baseball game per se, it's an expansion pack to Out of the Park Baseball 6 which is a good Franchise-mode-style sim. If you're interested in getting involved behind-the-scenes of your favorite sport, then you've got to check out the original game and this expansion pack. You've got to be a real fan of the original to get your money's worth out of this expansion pack. There are some decent upgrades but most of them are subtle. It still makes the original game bigger, better and deeper and at less than ten bucks you're not risking too much cash if you don't like it.

You will oversee all aspects of running a pro ballpark such as purchasing the players, hiring staff and management, setting ticket prices, offering concessions and designing your ballpark and parking lot. All of this requires money. If you've got a good team you've got it made as long as you manage your expenses properly. If your team is struggling you'll have to be more creative with what you've got. You may have to sell your big-money players and hope that rookies will show more promise later in the season.

An entire week of games can be condensed into a minute. Although this may seem fast it's actually a bit of chore to wait so long for the results when compared with similar games. Keep in mind this engine is a few years old and it's beginning to show its age. You'll realize this when you have to plod through numerous menus to access some stats or make a trade.

One of the best upgrades is the ability to change your roster each day of the week. This gives you more flexibility when you see what is and isn't working - or should I say who is and isn't working? The AI is a lot more savvy than before and will make trades and other changes in mid season to improve its performance much like a human player would do. It's interesting to see the AI in a winning situation trying to grab as many star players as it can before the summer trade deadline. In a situation like this it can be really hard to gain the necessary momentum to make it through the entire season.

One must be mindful of trades because it's not always about winning the game as it is making the fans happy. If the fans don't show up, you don't make any money and money is what makes the world of professional sports go round. If you trade a hometown favorite, even for a superstar, you're liable to suffer a backlash from unhappy fans that might boycott your ballpark making it difficult for you to purchase better players, coaches, trainers and a multitude of other upgrades designed to improve your empire.

OOTP 6.5 is all about menus. The interface is clunky but it does get the job done. It's like a girl with a good personality. She's not pretty but she's fun to hang around with.

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System: PC
Dev: Out of the Park
Pub: Out of the Park
Release: July 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole