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Out of the Park Baseball 19 Review: Another Achievement for the Series

Out of the Park Baseball 19

Out of the Park Baseball 19 Review: Another Achievement for the Series

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.

Final Analysis

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.

Buyer beware.

**Perfect team was not yet available for this review, and we plan to have a review of it later this summer

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Discussion
  1. Best baseball game this year! Love how deep the game is. The UI is nice too. Having the ability to change how the home screen looks is a great feature and that all sports games should have.  Should be in the running for best sports game of the year. Wish more people would give this game a try.
    Agree about the new player... I have the game but I just can't get into it. I'm from the UK and my love of baseball comes from MLB The Show. I just can't seem to get started.. It just seems daunting! How do people play this game? Play out every game or sim the majority?
    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    kamackeris76
    Agree about the new player... I have the game but I just can't get into it. I'm from the UK and my love of baseball comes from MLB The Show. I just can't seem to get started.. It just seems daunting! How do people play this game? Play out every game or sim the majority?

    I do a lot of simming, but will play out key games in a series and often during the playoffs.
    I'll also watch some minors games or play games at the ML level when there's a prospect I want to see play. I don't know how faithfully the played out game represents whatever is going on under the hood, but if I see a kid get robbed of hits a lot or a pitcher giving up runs but not getting hit hard, I'd feel better letting them learn in the majors if I can.
    So a lot of times, I watch games to try to see the why of performance the player is getting, especially if they are doing poorly.
    But some play out every game like they would on The Show. Someone just posted they do just that in the franchise thread. It really depends on you.
    I think that's what I love most about OOTP - it really depends on what you want to see and do (be it a purely historical league or purely fantasy off the wall with wild stats and players) and the game will show you the outcome with no bias...or at least with the bias you tell the game to have.
    Sony San Diego should look into merging with Out of the park developments and perhaps prep for the next generation of Playstation console and the future of eSports gaming.
    Been playing this game since OOTP 3. I've been saying for years that this is the best baseball game on the market, and that's no different this year. While most console games can outshine their text-sim counterparts, the opposite is true of the OOTP series. That's a remarkable accomplishment.
    I also agree that we need to find a way to help out the new players. I remember when I first got into OOTP a couple years ago and then set it aside for a few months because it felt very overwhelming. However, I did stick with it and I'm very glad that I did. The same may not be able to be said for every new player though. I wonder if it might be beneficial to have a tutorial game loaded in the spot for "load game" if a user isn't transferring into the newest game that takes the time via prompts to guide the user through the interfaces and nuances in a way that makes sense even if you've never heard of baseball before. Yes, there is always reading the manual, however, this usually isn't the best way to get a new user involved. That said, I feel keeping the manual is always a benefit but it shouldn't be the only way to explain to someone how to play the game.
    From my perspective, OOTP 19 is a very nice game and I've thoroughly enjoyed my latest game of being a manager only and seeing where things go from there. When in-game (actually playing baseball), I usually play either in classic webcast on my surface or on my decently sized laptop I'll go into classic 3-d mode just to see the shifts and little players running around. This isn't a knock on the modern interfaces, I do like them, however I prefer the way the info is presented in the old interfaces just a bit more. I will also add that the modern interfaces in-game are way more touch screen friendly which is a plus. My only complaint is that I wish smaller screen resolutions (1366x768) had been given a bit more love because with that resolution or smaller it begins to get very difficult to navigate menus or to see the information on the interfaces while in-game. Granted I can just customize the in-game widget coordinates but without a way to save that it becomes difficult. Hopefully though the small pitch tracker from the modern interfaces will eventually be available for the classic choices too.
    No offense to anybody that might have a different opinion (including the author of this article), but I am frankly sick of hearing about how we have to cater to noobs at all times and in all places. Same talk with The Show and same rationalization for why that game has stalled in many ways while making way for alternative modes that hog resources and only superficially resemble simulation-style baseball.
    I miss the old fashioned way where noobs would have to learn how to do things and keep working at it until they either: (a) progressed in their enjoyment of the game or (b) put the game down and picked up something else moire suited to their interests.
    The main problem with catering to noobs is that it runs counter to everything that has made OOTP great (depth, numbers and management features out the yang, and hard won observations through the experience of playing it). How did any of us old timers learn how to play OOTP in the first place? By complaining that it was too hard of a game to learn? Actually, no. It was by trying it out, asking questions, reading/researching, and having some level of agency instead of an opinion that because I can't learn to do this within 5 minutes, then it's broken and needs to be tailored to me.
    Hold on a sec while I climb off this soapbox...
    I think we're doing well by having the threads people can ask questions in and stuff. Perhaps we need more - one for each major topic or such so it's more organized.
    KBLover
    I think we're doing well by having the threads people can ask questions in and stuff. Perhaps we need more - one for each major topic or such so it's more organized.

    Or just refer them to the OOTP developments board where it's already organized like that. This subforum on OS has such low activity in comparison with The Show's that I doubt it could sustain a higher volume of Q/A--or there'd only be one or two people (probably you, lol) answering all the questions.
    no offence WaitTIlNextYear but this game is very hard to come at from my point of view being a Baseball and management sim fan from the UK. Just some tips like when you hover the mouse over certain stats what they actually mean ...things like that. i WANT to learn it and play it but from someone like me it is very hard to get started. had i been brought up on the sport like i am with Football (soccer) then yes it would be a lot easier to get started. you would probably have a similar experience playing Football Manager 
    WaitTilNextYear
    No offense to anybody that might have a different opinion (including the author of this article), but I am frankly sick of hearing about how we have to cater to noobs at all times and in all places. Same talk with The Show and same rationalization for why that game has stalled in many ways while making way for alternative modes that hog resources and only superficially resemble simulation-style baseball.
    I miss the old fashioned way where noobs would have to learn how to do things and keep working at it until they either: (a) progressed in their enjoyment of the game or (b) put the game down and picked up something else moire suited to their interests.
    The main problem with catering to noobs is that it runs counter to everything that has made OOTP great (depth, numbers and management features out the yang, and hard won observations through the experience of playing it). How did any of us old timers learn how to play OOTP in the first place? By complaining that it was too hard of a game to learn? Actually, no. It was by trying it out, asking questions, reading/researching, and having some level of agency instead of an opinion that because I can't learn to do this within 5 minutes, then it's broken and needs to be tailored to me.
    Hold on a sec while I climb off this soapbox...

    I agree that what you mentioned is important, however, when the main new user complaint is that it's easy to get lost I feel that it's important to address that in a way that isn't throwing the the literal manual at them. Additionally, not every OOTP user will use the OOTP Dev Forums or the OS Forums so having something in the game that it's less of a sink or swim. This isn't saying to remove features to make them less complex, not at all.
    It's my opinion that the user should be presented with "here's a tour that lets you know what you can do as you click around and discover things" rather than having to flip through pages of the manual as you go along. Alternatively, maybe it's as simple as a startup prompt that's "new to baseball? click here for a tutorial mode that's an interactive manual" type of thing. This way, it still leaves the door open for what you described.
    Slightly off-topic:
    In this day and age where 5,000 (slight exaggeration) things are competing for our attention and mental bandwidth every minute and where software is more user-hostile and development-hostile than ever before I feel that we should return to the software like Hypercard where you can do amazing things but even a child can pick it up. That doesn't mean that it has any less features but instead that anyone can pick it up, not just experts. If any of this sounds familiar it's because I've been thinking about a certain off-site post on this topic for a few days now.
    WaitTilNextYear
    Or just refer them to the OOTP developments board where it's already organized like that. This subforum on OS has such low activity in comparison with The Show's that I doubt it could sustain a higher volume of Q/A--or there'd only be one or two people (probably you, lol) answering all the questions.

    LUL true, good point :y1:
    Yari
    I agree that what you mentioned is important, however, when the main new user complaint is that it's easy to get lost I feel that it's important to address that in a way that isn't throwing the the literal manual at them. Additionally, not every OOTP user will use the OOTP Dev Forums or the OS Forums so having something in the game that it's less of a sink or swim. This isn't saying to remove features to make them less complex, not at all.

    That's difficult to do when the game is oriented around you finding your way in the situation you find yourself in or put yourself in, depending on how you start your career, etc.
    It would be difficult to come up with even a write up to explain what to do. There's too many scenarios and situations and a lot of them need or are handled by multiple approaches...because that's the other beauty of the game...no one right answer.
    Some things are unnecessarily obtuse (coaches, I'm looking at you), and I wouldn't expect a new player to know to look at the development influence as a proxy for the handling/teaching ratings, for example. Heck, I had to think how to explain it myself.
    The basics of roster management - perhaps. Same for signing contracts (though that's very grey area) and lineups and talent evaluation...there's as many opinions on that as there are users, even when you take scouting out of it by turning it off.
    I can understand giving new players some sort of guidelines...but what then as they explore the game further when the guidelines aren't as clear? There is a lot of subjectivity as well as objectivity...and the guidelines can, to a degree, help with objective stuff (roster limits are X, this is what DFA means, this is what waivers are) but a lot of questions newer players also ask are very qualitative/subjective, like "how do I know when to promote/demote my prospects?"
    Should the game tell them to blindly follow the arrows, even when they are suggestions and opinions of the scout? Go by stats alone? Ratings alone? If all of the above...the user is back where they started..."how do I combine these things to know?"
    I think if the player is familiar with baseball - basically just jump in and test your opinions and see what sticks. That's pretty much OOTP. You think you should promote until the prospect sucks at a level? Try it and see how he responds. You want to bat the pitcher 7th? Try it and see. Not sure what to do? Ask your manager or bench coach and see what they do.
    I understand the sentiment and don't disagree that it would be nice to have in-game guides to help the players, but it's hard to give them that but not having them be "this is how the game 'should' play"...because OOTP will do stuff that will defy those guides...and it won't take long.
    Yari
    I agree that what you mentioned is important, however, when the main new user complaint is that it's easy to get lost I feel that it's important to address that in a way that isn't throwing the the literal manual at them. Additionally, not every OOTP user will use the OOTP Dev Forums or the OS Forums so having something in the game that it's less of a sink or swim. This isn't saying to remove features to make them less complex, not at all.
    It's my opinion that the user should be presented with "here's a tour that lets you know what you can do as you click around and discover things" rather than having to flip through pages of the manual as you go along. Alternatively, maybe it's as simple as a startup prompt that's "new to baseball? click here for a tutorial mode that's an interactive manual" type of thing. This way, it still leaves the door open for what you described.
    Slightly off-topic:
    In this day and age where 5,000 (slight exaggeration) things are competing for our attention and mental bandwidth every minute and where software is more user-hostile and development-hostile than ever before I feel that we should return to the software like Hypercard where you can do amazing things but even a child can pick it up. That doesn't mean that it has any less features but instead that anyone can pick it up, not just experts. If any of this sounds familiar it's because I've been thinking about a certain off-site post on this topic for a few days now.

    I'll begin by just stating that we will probably just disagree on this topic. Nothing wrong with that.
    That said, I think OOTP is perfect the way it is and I would hate to see any sort of push for universal accessibility or for more casual players to start calling the shots (kinda like what happened with Diamond Dynasty mode totally hijacking The Show). My philosophy is if this game isn't someone's cup of tea and they don't have the desire to invest themselves into learning, then so be it. More accurately, they should be so excited to play a game like this that learning the ropes doesn't even feel like work--it's actually fun. The guy who doesn't know anything about baseball, or that guy who follows football and basketball, but not baseball, or that guy who doesn't really want to play a text-based sim style game in the first place--this one isn't for them. It never will be. This is our game--the baseball nut's game. We don't need to stretch OOTP's already thin development team to insert countless tutorials and hand-holding while worrying about what Joe Schmoe the non-baseball fan (who will lose interest at the drop of a hat or when Madden comes out anyway) thinks is easy enough to pick up and play.
    Maybe there are 5,000 things competing for our mental bandwidth. There probably are. You are totally right. But, everyone doesn't need to chase down every single possible thing of the 5,000 and force themselves on it. There are things I don't enjoy and things I am just plain bad at--I don't go around with the attitude that these things should be made easier and more enjoyable for me. I just do something else. For the casual who doesn't want a learning experience, they should just stay away. For the casual that is willing to learn and grow and doesn't need instantaneous gratification, then welcome aboard. And know that you won't become a guru overnight.
    KBLover
    I think if the player is familiar with baseball - basically just jump in and test your opinions and see what sticks. That's pretty much OOTP. You think you should promote until the prospect sucks at a level? Try it and see how he responds. You want to bat the pitcher 7th? Try it and see. Not sure what to do? Ask your manager or bench coach and see what they do.
    I understand the sentiment and don't disagree that it would be nice to have in-game guides to help the players, but it's hard to give them that but not having them be "this is how the game 'should' play"...because OOTP will do stuff that will defy those guides...and it won't take long.

    Yeah, I think a lot of new players get in trouble thinking there is a "correct way" to play the game. They don't realize this is more of a sandbox game. It's your sandbox so do what you want with it. Certain types of noobs seem to always want to double check everything first according to a rubric that doesn't really exist rather than dive in and move some sand around.
    WaitTilNextYear
    Yeah, I think a lot of new players get in trouble thinking there is a "correct way" to play the game. They don't realize this is more of a sandbox game. It's your sandbox so do what you want with it. Certain types of noobs seem to always want to double check everything first according to a rubric that doesn't really exist rather than dive in and move some sand around.

    i think this is probably me
    kamackeris76
    no offence WaitTIlNextYear but this game is very hard to come at from my point of view being a Baseball and management sim fan from the UK. Just some tips like when you hover the mouse over certain stats what they actually mean ...things like that. i WANT to learn it and play it but from someone like me it is very hard to get started. had i been brought up on the sport like i am with Football (soccer) then yes it would be a lot easier to get started. you would probably have a similar experience playing Football Manager*

    I usually suggest for people to try the mobile version (MLB Manager) first if they want to try OOTP but don't have a high knowledge of baseball. It isn't nearly as good as the main game but it is way less complex and it is only 5 or 6 bucks.
    Hey Kamackeris, feel free to reach out to me anytime you have questions or even if you want to chat off-line about OOTP.  I remember starting out with Football Manager back in the day and being pretty overwhelmed.  I understood the game, but the level of detail in FM was a lot to deal with at first.  I didn't get into football/soccer until the 2006 World Cup....growing up in the US it just wasn't appealing to me as a kid for some reason.....but I got the bug big time in 2006 and I've been watching the game ever since.  The world cup is my favorite sporting event.  I'm an Arsenal supporter mainly because my local club (Colorado Rapids) is owned by the same owner and they have a loose affiliation.  Also, to be fair, because I used to play as them a lot in PES back in the days of Henry.  LOL.  Anyway, my favorite sport is baseball, which I know like the back of my hand.  I am happy to help another fan learn more about the game, and the wonderful OOTP game.  Cheers.
    Its funny because I love the idea of this game and really want to love it but just don't. I am not sure why. I bought the 2017 version the 2016 version and a bunch of previous ones. Each time I tell myself how much I love baseball and how deep the game is. But then I get bogged down. I try to play day to day and I keep getting news stories that are irrelevant to me, or trade offers that do not make sense, or some roster thing that is irritating to fix or some financial issue that I have to go through twenty screen to till I can move on. Then I try to sim a bunch but it just seems like the same method each time; trade established players for prospects, sign international players (with like 30 emails to do it), finish with a terrible record to draft high then rinse and repeat. Sign some players in off season two or three and then win a bunch. I seem to spend most of my time deleting emails. I end up just getting tired and giving up.
    Just my thoughts and was wondering if anyone feels similar? All this being said at some point I will probably buy 19. I love baseball and want to love this game. Who knows maybe this time it will stick.
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