MLB Front Office Manager Reviews

  • Tasty PastryTasty Pastry344,048
    30 Oct 2009 08 Jan 2010
    20 1 10

    MLB Front Office Manager Review

    Single Player


    It should be noted before I start this review that I am an avid baseball fan. As I type this I am wearing a Ryan Braun jersey of the Milwaukee Brewers. I won’t miss a game for any real reason, and I am preparing my satellite radio right now to listen to the game in an hour. Therefore I have my very modest (okay, I’m a professional) opinions about what should happen to each baseball team, and like most enthusiastic baseball fans, I believe I am right without a doubt. The guy that signs players (General Manager) of each team knows nothing compared to what I know. Yes, I’m that kind of guy.

    Therefore this was a game I actually preordered and bought on release day – me and one other guy in all of Madison, Wisconsin. It was even more desirable in that the opening price was around forty dollars, instead of the usual sixty. The game was described as the epitome of games for baseball enthusiasts – a game where you become the general manager of any baseball team and control them for years and years, deciding on salaries, free agents, foreign investment, coaches, etc. I had never heard a game described so perfectly for me, so I was extremely excited.

    Let me tell you about the game. You start off by making your manager – you can make them look like you or what not, and you can assign him attributes. These attributes consist of but are not limited to contract negotiation, confidence that the team/owner feels in you, etc. It’s a little hidden though – you have to press the bumpers of the controller – and I honestly missed most of the extra information the first time. If you don’t notice it you get set a default setting, which is fine. You then choose what team you want to manage, and any of the thirty is fair game.

    The game is extremely detailed in that each player has designated statistics. Since the game must continue for an extreme amount of years they also designated statistics for every minor league player in every system as well. They also formulated the drafts for the following years. If you know anything about baseball, this has it all. You’ll see arbitration hearings, free agency, the rule 5 draft, etc.

    Onto the problems – As you can tell I considered myself very intelligent in the sport of baseball – but even I wasn’t good at this game. The first time I played through it I made some drastic changes and it led to defeat with my Milwaukee Brewers. I won about 30 games throughout the season. “Fine” I said to myself, “I’ll play a season with the exact same team, not changing a thing”. Yes, I had to lose CC Sabathia due to payroll restriction, but I kept everyone else. I won about 20 games. I won about 20 games in the whole season, after the exact same team, the one that was put on the field in 2008, won ninety games and won the national league wild card.

    “I must be doing something wrong” I thought to myself. “I’ll just grab a big payroll team and sign the free agents with the highest stats, just to get used to the game”. So I picked the Yankees, signed some big names (Teixiera, Sabathia, Sheets) and put it out there. I won 30 games. “Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself. “I must be doing something wrong.” I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. This game is ridiculously hard for some reason. There are no difficulty selections either. The only thing I could figure out is what my manager was still young and inexperienced, and didn’t have his stats built up. “Fine” I thought to myself, “I’ll just let the game run for a couple of years, totally free up my payroll, and let the game give me some pity stats.” This didn’t happen – the game only upgrades your stats if you win. Do you understand what I’m saying? You have to be good to get better! I wasn’t the only one with this problem – I had many of my friends try, without me saying a thing about any of the game – and they all failed miserably as well. On chat boards on other web sites everyone says that the game is ridiculously hard.

    Now I know lots of things about baseball that most people don’t. The average fan has very little idea about what arbitration means, so I felt I had an edge on them. Yet I still couldn’t do even remotely okay at this game. It’s not like I’m upset that I didn’t win the world series on the first try – I can’t even compete for second to last place in my division! Not even with the best team!

    There are some other problems with this game’s basic single player. There is no real tutorial in the game – there are some message prompts as you go – but you’ll definitely screw something up your first time through. It is very ambiguous what your payroll stands at, and you’ll often times use too much of your payroll signing free agents before you pay up for arbitration hearings (keeping your current young players). As a side note the game has some fundamental flaws with some basic understandings of baseball. The best pitching doesn’t usually beat the best hitting, which means big name pitchers are usually a waste of your money. Also leaving a player in the minor leagues for a longer time to develop doesn’t translate to better stats for them.

    Beyond that there is the problem of when this game was created. Although it was released at the start of our current 2008/2009 depression, the game didn’t seem to recognize this. Bobby Abreu (Made 20 million in 2008, signed for 5 million with the angels in 2009) signs for 25 million in the game. Ben Sheets signs for 20 million (even though he isn’t even playing this year). Beyond that, players seem to have no loyalty. Derek Jeter left my Yankee team in exchange for more money on the Twins. Yea right, no way, get real.

    Figuring out what to do is only part of the problem. You’ll have to navigate through many menu items to find out what you need. You can easily accidentally ignore important aspects of the game (spending funding to find young players in different parts of the world was something I didn’t notice the first time through). You’ll get emails daily telling you some of the important transactions of the other teams, notably free agent signings. You’ll also get told when some teams are being disappointed with some of their player’s production, and it is basically an opportunity for you to propose a more advantageous trade. You’ll also get told of fan excitement of the signing of big free agent names and what not.

    Beyond the signing and trading and what not, you can actually play each game if you really want to, but I say play very loosely. You stay as the manager during the game and have some very simplistic choices. You can choose whether the batter should swing away, bunt, hit and run, etc. You decide if the pitcher should intentionally walk, pitch to the batter, etc.

    There is a large problem with this in that you cannot choose to change your mind in the middle of the at bat, which is a pretty important part of baseball strategy. You’ll often get upset as your guy swings away at 3-0 because you had previously told him to. For how deep the gameplay is, this is a real setback. You can manage the spring training games, the regular season games, the postseason games if you get there, and the minor league team games if you feel like it. It takes about 20 minutes to manage a single game, so you will obviously not be doing it every single time, and honestly, it gets pretty boring pretty fast. There is a great simulate button that you can use for an individual game or basically fast forward the whole game. The simulate button will stop when important events are happening (all-star break, trade deadline).

    Injuries are relatively frequent. You can choose to fix it yourself or just have the computer do it. The same goes for setting your lineup. It will get real upset at you if you have an invalid line up. At the end of the season you are awarded a payroll for the next season based on your performance.
    Honestly the game has some major flaws in the gameplay that make even the most knowledgeable baseball fan get upset. The graphics and sound are another problem that will be discussed below.

    Single player score: 4/10

    Multiplayer:

    You can join online fantasy leagues in the multiplayer. You can customize the league with fantasy drafts and create your own rules. You can choose either Rotisserie or Head-To-Head. You could also do this against a computer A.I. if you felt like it. Yea, this is cool, but it requires your friends to have the game as well, because, well, fantasy baseball isn’t that much fun against strangers. Secondly very few people own the game as well, and are mostly too frustrated at the single player to have even noticed this mode. Plus you can get the same thing on Yahoo! For free…

    Multiplayer score: 5/10

    Graphics:

    Now I understand that the game got released at a cheap price, which translates to half-done work throughout the game. But I assumed that this was because of the very simplistic gameplay that wouldn’t require much programming to make work. Instead they were cheap on everything, especially the graphics. When you are in a game, managing, you’ll be seeing a diamond with basic human shapes standing around. Once you make your choice of what to do a new square will appear in the middle of the screen which will show you the batter and pitcher, and a very simple swing and hit. You won’t be able to track the baseball once it is hit, and you’ll be wishing for the graphics of “baseball” on the Nintendo.

    If you’re in the Menu selection area, you’ll have even more of a fun time. You must play this game on a high definition setting or else you won’t be able to read a thing. They didn’t make the text large enough, or clear enough. The wording is vague a lot of the time too, which will make you wonder exactly what you’re clicking around on. The only motion you’ll see throughout the game is your manager either celebrating or being upset at the end of a game if you decided to manage it. It’s lackluster to say the least.

    Graphics score: 2/10

    Sound:

    Uh, there is sound in this game? You’ll be hearing mostly nothing while navigating the menus. You’ll get a loud sound when you open up an important email that will physically scare you out of your seat. If you’re managing a game you’ll hear the generic sounds of the ball hitting the bat, but little else. I’ve actually never heard worse sound in a disc based video game, and that includes Sneak King. I felt really awkward, and had to turn on music from my harddrive.
    Sound score: 1/10

    Achievements:

    These achievements are the epitome of game replay achievements. You would assume an achievement would be “win the world series”, and in fact there is one. There are about 10. Win the world series for the first time with the Brewers, the Rays, the Rockies, the Nationals, the everything! I have 65/1000, 4 of the twenty-five achievements. I could easily get about one more (manage a minor league team), but the rest are basically completion based ones. They really make you play the game over and over and over, which is upsetting, considering that beating the game even once is an accomplishment. No, I don’t know what they could have made them, but that isn’t my job. They are bad achievements and I greatly despise them. I have spent time trying to get them (legitimately). You can try to mess with the system enough/look it up on the internet that you can stockpile the achievements, but considering I’m still trying to like this game, I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

    Achievement score: 3/10

    DLC:
    There is no DLC for this game.
    DLC Score: N/a

    Final Score: 5/10

    Pros/Cons:

    Pros:

    • Includes real name players. The amount of pure content they have in the game is astounding.
    • First game of its kind
    • Fantasy baseball can be fun

    Cons:
    • If you’re not playing on a high definition television, you won’t be able to read a thing
    • “Tutorial” system is absolutely horrendous
    • Even the most knowledgeable baseball fan will be lost
    • Outdated money amounts, confusing gameplay, confusing balance between pitching and hitting
    • Managing is way too simplistic after the amount of depth they give you in the gameplay
    • Game is way too hard, especially since they give you no difficulty options
    • Graphics and sound are laughable

    Final Comments:
    Wait till this hits ten dollars before you even consider purchasing it. Otherwise, avoid this game. It really hurts me to tell you this considering how excited I was for this game, but it really isn’t any good at all. Even for the achievement junkie it doesn’t stand out. Huge disappointment, unfortunately. If you have any comments or questions write them below or message me. My username is tasty pastry.
    2.0
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    LIBERT4DFantastic review; you're a really good writer. Got a chuckle when you said 'all of two people' bought it in your town, because I don't know anyone with it either. I made the mistake of trying this game and I got 2 achievements, a long time ago. Now I've got to get it again and work on it. I initially got rid of it quickly because I was pretty bad at it, being a casual sports fan, and I was on a SD TV, which was unbelievably disappointing that you can't even make out any of the menu text.
    Posted by LIBERT4D on 24 Apr 11 at 08:08
    Tasty PastryThank you !
    Posted by Tasty Pastry on 24 Apr 11 at 22:03
    blueriversbeastGreat review and yay for Wisconsin, especially Madison!
    Posted by blueriversbeast on 17 Jul 15 at 19:41
  • The Preston 13The Preston 13606,584
    13 May 2009
    8 1 8
    Front Office Manager

    I need to begin this review my saying that this game is certainly designed for baseball fans. The MLB game is 100% numbers. Whether it’s being familiar with your player’s batting rankings to set up you’re line-up, balancing your payroll, or keeping up with player progression, you will be looking at A LOT of numbers. Considering what your expectations of the game are, this can be a good or bad thing. Baseball is the one sport where numbers define everything. That being said, there is very little excitement to this game.

    There are essentially 2 sides of this game. 1: simming through seasons, and focusing on the year to year development of your GM character and team progression, deciding who stays, goes and gets traded. 2: managing games (162 a year, not to mention the pre-season) and micro-managing everything, until you reach the off-season. There is also a ‘Fantasy’ side of the game which is at best a novelty, and not worth much exploration.

    As a baseball fan, and a fan of sports management games, is still have to say that they have left room for improvement, and I expect the future versions of this game to be much more refined. The game starts during the off-season, and you immediately get to decide what to do to your favorite team. You get to create your ‘GM’ character but with very little options. You will continue through the pre-season, regular season, post-season, and off-season again. By the 3rd or 4th season, you should have a good grasp of the game and all the details surrounding resigning players, free agent schedules, bidding on Japanese players, ect. Warning: there is a fairly large learning curve. But after a few years, and a few hours of navigating the menus, you should be able to sim through a year in about an hour.

    It can take quite awhile to find out where all the information you need is, as some of it is spread out. I personally had to start over after my third year the first time through, because I didn’t keep a close enough eye on my payroll, (it’s a bit tricky to figure out), but as I said, it will take awhile to learn everything about the game.


    Playing the actual games themselves, leaves you with very little options Bat/Bunt, Pitch/Walk, ect. Once you start an at bat, you cannot stop it. This is a very good way of keeping up with the day to day development of your players, but can be very tedious and time consuming. I personally enjoyed the off-season more than the regular season. You’ll spend a lot of time managing the disabled players list, reconfiguring your line-up, and rejecting crappy trade offers. The minor league system can be aggravating to keep track off, but if you develop a player properly, then you’ll usually be happy with the results.

    The achievement list is time-consuming, making you win the World Series with 9 different teams. On average, I had to play 2-4 years with a team to get them into a good financial position and make a solid run at the post-season. Obviously, you can always Save and Re-load to help. Other achievements are kind of standard: Make a trade, Sign a Japanese Player, ect. The hardest achievement was bidding on, and signing 20 Japanese Players over the course of a 30 year career. This can only be done with a very large market team like the Yankees or Red Sox. By being forced to manage other teams for the achievements, I actually learned a good deal about other teams and players aside from my favorites, which I enjoyed.

    In conclusion, this is a good game for baseball fans, and probably a nightmare for non-baseball fans. There is certainly room for improvement, but it was a decent attempt at a game that is very hard to make great on a console; the pc games of the like, I think are better. If you like exploring the numbers that make up great ball players, and great baseball organizations, then you should like this game. If you like playing the baseball games themselves, and aren’t much interested in everything else, then give this one a pass.

    AUDIO
    Turn the T.V. down and the stereo up. Nothing to listen to here.

    Visuals


    The visuals in managing games are ok, a bit choppy and overall, not too impressive. I give them a good deal of credit in this category, however, because of the menus. Seeing as this is mostly a menu game, and you are going to spend crazy amounts of time looking at these numbers, it was very important that the numbers were clear, easy to read, and not too hard to stare at for hours on end. To this point they did a really good job. Crisp, clear numbers, which is something I cannot say for a lot of games where reading and analyzing numbers is important.

    Playability
    This was hard to judge. Managing every game, the playability is short-lived and leaves you with little options. Managing your rosters, and year to year finances, the playability is pretty good; but I have to dock some points for the extended learning curve. If the hard-core fans give it some time, they will like it, if the casual baseball fan gives it time, they still might find it confusing. You’re teams performance is directly related to your GM and Manager Stats, seeing an increase in performance as your GM becomes better. I personally like the relationship, but some might find it annoying the first couple years, as their team underperforms. As far as repetition goes, it’s the same series of events every year, but what could you expect? That’s baseball.

    Delivery
    I have to dock them for not making the game immediately fun and easy to learn. This game will turn off a lot of casual baseball fans in the first few hours, whereas a smaller learning curve, could have saved them. However the game gains some face by making the game very realistic from a management standpoint. Every financial decision is important, not only the size of the contract, but also its length. Players slump, your payroll goes up and down, based on performance, ect. All very realistic.

    Achievements
    The list is certainly repetitive, but it forces you to take over teams that are not only stable and easy to manage, but also the teams that are in bad shape, and need an overhaul. I think that helps to complete the GM experience.
    3.5
  • cc99999cc99999311,315
    16 Nov 2009 16 Nov 2009
    3 4 1
    In a Minute Review: MLB Front Office Manager

    You ever get crabs from sleeping with a girl you shouldn't have been with? Yeah?

    Well then you probably can remember hearing your buddy's badgering hidden coyly behind the statement, "well, you should have known better than sleeping with so and so..."

    This is that kind of game. If you have it- you should have known better.

    MLB Front Office Manager is probably the worst sports title released on the Xbox 360. That counts import games as well. This game is worse than MLB Stickball. It's worse than both XBLA Dodgeball games.

    You'll find that Space Giraffe is a more realistic space sim than MLB Front Office Manager.

    The problems are legion. A management interface that isn't one. Total lack of control once the game starts (you'll love all the 3-0 counts with runners on that your hitter swings away at and grounds into that inning ending double play), likewise your bullpen's ball to strikes ratio is ridiculously out of whack, and opposing hitters will foul off about two thirds of your pitches before unloading that crooked number inning on you.

    You can take just about any team - big market or small market and find yourself in last place fast.

    I decided to play with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays- and have spent the better part of a month playing off and on to get a 9-0 record. That's 9-0 after let's say 30 tries to stay undefeated.

    For shits and giggles I let the rest of the season play out. Keep in mind one key fact. This was the 2008 stat Devil Rays plus the 2008 stat CC Sabathia.

    My simulated record at the end of the season? 48-114. So much for speed never goes into a slump.

    The game has easy enough achievements- all you have to do is win with certain teams- and people have done it. But you are kidding yourself if you think this game is going to be fun.

    This is the All in Poker of Sports Games.
    1.0