Out of the Park Baseball is one of our favorite series here at Operation Sports. Year to year, this title serves up quality experiences, enthralling gameplay and unmatched depth.
If you are interested in a game that simulates the business end of baseball with extreme precision while offering up a challenge you won’t get with traditional AAA sports games, keep reading to find out if this is an experience for you.
What I Liked
- All The Options – Seriously if you have dreamed it you can play it in Out of the Park Baseball 19. Want to set up a game in the dead-ball era with modern-day ballparks and stats to see how they compare? Yep, no problem. This is a baseball fan’s playground first and foremost, where you can play and experiment with all sorts of possibilities if you so desire. Needless to say, there’s very little you can’t do in Out of the Park Baseball 19.
- Management Completeness – I honestly don’t know how else to word a subhead for this, but just about every option you could imagine when it comes to managing an MLB roster is present. From fully stocked minor leagues at every level to more obscure roster rules, Out of the Park Baseball 19 continues to have (just about) everything you’d ever want.
- Improved 3-D Graphics – The in-game graphics got a big leap up and they make watching your games play out while you manage things even better than before. The ballparks and players look good and when you take into account this is still a text-sim at heart, any missing animations do tend to be forgiven quickly.
- New Interface Options – The new skins and fonts can give the game a different appearance and several screens also were redesigned a bit to better streamline information. All good things.
- The AI Is Still Really Good – Opposing GMs are tough cookies to crack, and you aren’t going to fleece too many, especially egregiously. If anything, especially after following what real GMs have been doing for years — the GMs in OOTP 19 may be a little “too good” by and large with managing rosters.
- Being Able To Vote For End Of The Year Awards – A small but great little touch.
- The Ability To Edit Your Home Screen – Customizing your home screen to put the info YOU care about on the front should be a standard feature not just in sims like OOTP, but all sports games. This is an amazing and well thought out feature addition.
- The Handling Of Morale/Team Chemistry Is Still The Best In Sports games – New improvements were added this year, and that’s already on top of what is probably the best sports game to handle this aspect of the sports they simulate. Bring in a guy who’s a known clubhouse cancer with poor veteran leadership? You are going to really regret that one in time. A team careening downhill in chemistry and morale will lose a lot and suddenly you have a self-feeding monster. It’s something to behold and also something that’ll frustrate you if you find yourself on the wrong end of it all.
- New Scouting Reports – This was an area of the game that really needed some work and the information is now presented in a way that’s very helpful to quickly discovering the key information you need. This addition is a particular achievement among the new additions within the game. The old system was far from bad, but that’s how this series has traditionally operated. Find the things that are just decent and make them better, which results in an improved experience at the end of the day.
What I Didn’t Like
- It’s Starting To Feel Too Familiar – The game itself has begun to really settle into a similar rhythm from year to year. This makes a lot of the experience familiar, but at the same time perhaps too familiar for long-time players of the game like myself. I don’t want OOTP Developments to reinvent the wheel, and I’m not sure that’d actually be a good thing. It’s actually possible that there’s not many places the game could go without messing up what makes Out of the Park Baseball so great to begin with — but this is definitely a slight negative of sorts from me. The new options are great, but the improvements still result in a familiar experience that has always been excellent, so I may be talking myself in circles here.
- The Accessibility For New Players Needs Work – This is one of those things that is not an easy lift for a developer of a sim like this. Out of the Park Baseball 19 is excellent, and having this sort of an experience more accessible would be great for our genre as a whole. While there has been some effort to add some tips in places, I think a more thorough “hold the user’s hand” experience would do this series well to beckon itself to new players. A new and inexperienced sim player will find OOTP overwhelming and it may turn them off, which ultimately is a negative for the series in the future.
- The Story Elements Are Kinda Bland – This is one of those quibbles that I’m admittedly reaching for, but it’d be great to see a bit more story elements integrated within the game. Things like “Aaron Judge is two HRs shy of 100” would be great and simple little elements to add into the game. Other more complicated and franchise-specific items would be excellent as well. What is here isn’t bad, but fitting within the theme of making serviceable items great, having more of a story-driven experience in the sense of the game framing significant moments would be an endearing feature in the future.
As it stands, Out of the Park Baseball 19 is an achievement yet again for OOTP Developments. While I personally wasn’t so sure last year’s title was worth the upgrade as a yearly purchaser, this year’s justifies a purchase as a yearly upgrade.
From the improved interface and scouting system to the continued smaller tweaks and tunes, OOTP 19 is nailing just about every aspect of the game of baseball and managing it. There’s very little you can’t do here. If you are a fan of baseball and the business of the sport, especially in building teams, this is a game that’s totally going to consume your free time.
**Perfect team was not yet available for this review, and we plan to have a review of it later this summer