I don't make it a habit to chase base Panini parallels. While I'm somewhat of a Panini apologist I agree than many of the base cards are sub par. Obviously, the lack of licensing takes away a great deal from the overall look of the card. For me Panini often makes up for this by having unique auto checklists, using college uniforms, better price points, and inclusion of pre war players. The latter being the subject of my latest purchase.
2016 Immaculate Collection Honus Wagner /25
At least to me this card still looks cool. Obviously during this time period the uniforms were about as basic as can be so the impact of licensing is minimal. I think this is why I liked the Panini Classics set so much. A good chuck of the checklist was made up of pre war players. Of course it was cancelled after a year.
While I like the Wagner, for every one of those you will find 50 of these...
The most frustrating aspect about Panini is that they still haven't attempted to make some of their core products more visually appealing. Have you seen some the NFL versions of Donruss and Prizm? They are nice looking. It just seems like they could come up with some better photo options for current players to skirt the licensing instead of just brushing out logos. Maybe some shots of guys in street clothes. Topps had a cool shot of Cutch accepting an award in shirt and tie. How about some shots from the neck up? At this point I would be ok with them just trying something. As far as I know they haven't made an attempt in any of their reoccurring sets.
Does the good outweigh the bad for Panini? I guess it depends on how you collect. For me I still like them because of the reasons I listed in the first paragraph. It just feels like they could really improve the one glaring negative....
Thanks for reading!