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Out of the Park Baseball 23 Review: Newcomers Welcome

Out of the Park Baseball 23 review

Out of the Park Baseball 23

Out of the Park Baseball 23 Review: Newcomers Welcome

When playing a sports title that is so refined in what it offers, it can sometimes be easy to become complacent when looking at it year after year, which can then on some level lead to not respecting what is being offered. This is both a testament and curse, and it’s where Out of the Park Baseball probably exists at this point for some folks. OOTP has set the bar for sports simulation titles right alongside Football Manager for years on end. Yet, every year (review or not), I find myself amazed at just how profound an experience it is, and an experience that continues to grow and evolve with each new iteration. Of course, this leads me to my Out of the Park Baseball 23 review.

Out Of The Park Baseball 23 Review

Out of the Park Baseball 23 review

It seems that the focus for OOTP 23 was to take what is there and add more depth or refine it, and I love that approach. The question is, and always will be with this approach, is there enough to draw veterans of the series back, and is it accessible enough for newcomers to feel comfortable and enjoy all the series has to offer?

What I Like

New Graphical Enhancements

As a massive fan of this series, I will continue to hope for and champion any additions that bring the visual representation of the sport closer to the real deal. When I first read that improvements had been made to the 3-D view found inside the OOTP series, I quickly perked up with excitement.

OOTP 23 review

Although pleased with the initial release and the improvements found in the last version of OOTP, I kept hope that with each new release we would see visual upgrades in how the game played out in the 3-D view, and here we are. For those unaware, in previous versions, the game played out in a three-quarter sort of camera with official stadiums that were somewhat basic looking in stadium architecture and venue surroundings.

In OOTP 23, the stadiums have been given a nice upgrade and a camera angle that feels more like you are sitting in the press box. These graphical upgrades in the stadium and the new camera angle helped create an experience that was simply truer to life. They had me watching the game play out in greater detail and added an element of captivation.

On top of the improvements listed above, the new camera angle(s) also includes a smattering of “broadcast” views that show the action unfold in ways never before seen in the OOTP series. Now add some refined players models with more detail and depth to them, and things start to feel a bit more authentic on all levels. These improvements to the camera views, player models, and greater detailed venue surroundings elevate the already addictive quality of the series to a new level.

Gameplay And Tutorial System

While touched on a bit above, the gameplay found in Out of the Park Baseball 23 is as good as ever, and the improvements in the visual aspect and some “quality of life” improvements are also found in the simulation aspect of the game.

Out of the Park Baseball 23 review

The ability to shop player(s) for a prospects package is an excellent addition. The updated catcher-framing model and improved scouting mechanism are all part of the minutia that makes the off-the-field running of a franchise equally exciting as what takes place on the field.

The gameplay has been refined to help maximize the authenticity and reduce some of the oddities from the past. For me, the ability to sit for hours and page through the near-limitless amount of information and create my baseball universe the way I see fit has always been a time-stealer, in the best of ways.

I run a standard league MLB league, and the ability to edit my depth charts, players, and roles in how the players participate is worthy of a game all by itself.

One of my favorite options in OOTP revolves around the flexibility given to me to play the game how I want. I have the ability to have control of one pitch at a time for every individual ballgame, or I can simply create the league and depth charts as I see fit and simulate a day, a week, a month or even a season at the click of one button. When you add in the ability to scout with the new enhancements, make trades, deal with injuries, and player morale and contracts, the blissful chaos of all that OOTP 23 offers can be inundating at times, but in a good way.

And that leads me to the next improvement that I and many others have wanted to see implemented for years, and that is a new tutorial system that is easy to follow and understand. It can be viewed at any time and utilized throughout via popup overlays.

All the information is on point, and it caters to newcomers of the series (as it should). For years, the most significant drawback to the OOTP franchise to me has been how hard it can be to fully enjoy and understand all the series offers in terms of depth and customization. While the OOTP developers and community are excellent at providing in-depth help and feedback, this tutorial system is another tool to help onboard people taking their first step into a bigger world that, at times, can feel suffocating.

Modding Community

As I mentioned above, I run a standard MLB current year season with OOTP 23. Still, if you’re not aware, the OOTP franchise allows you to start and play in any era during any timeframe throughout the history of baseball.

This is where the wonderful modding community comes into play, and I can never say thanks enough to the people who help create an immersive and authentic baseball world for us. From current stadiums and rosters to past eras, MLB, NCAA, international leagues, and so on, the OOTP mods are endless. There are mods covering venues and rosters, face-gens, sound packs, and real-world adverts for stadiums.

You may have zero interest in any of this, but they are available from a passionate community, and as always, they’re provided for free.

What I Don’t Like

Perfect Team MIA

I do not like card-collecting modes in most sports titles, but the OOTP franchise version titled “Perfect Team” was one that I enjoyed in my previous reviews and was looking forward to trying this year’s rendition out.

Sadly, due to some developmental “back-end” issues, Perfect Team 23 was not available at the time of the review. The development team has been very transparent about the situation on the whole. While that is appreciated and respected, the fact remains that a significant mode that the community loves was not available at launch.

While issues in development happen, and sometimes full title delays are the result, I respect the fact that the developers released the title under beta, realized there were issues, and subsequently pulled the mode to get it into a fully optimized state.

And, on the bright side, we held this review a little longer than usual, and so we now know when Perfect Team is coming:

Bugs And Glitches

While this somewhat goes hand in hand with development issues, as much as I enjoyed the new 3-D view found in OOTP 23, some odd occurrences were witnessed on the field. Occasionally I saw batters in the box facing the opposite way, balls that would disappear in mid-flight, and fielders who would hold on to the ball for too long once it was in their possession.

There are also issues with overpowered draft classes, and one that I often witnessed was a pitcher stamina bug that allowed my starters to surpass the 100-pitch mark with zero issues many times. There are some workarounds for some of the problems I have mentioned, and both the community and developers are hard at work with fixes and patches.

OOTP 23 review

Again, none of these were what I would consider game killers or a firm reason for a non-purchase this year. With any new implementation comes some struggles in the genesis stage, and I suspect most of these minor problems will be worked out soon with each new patch.

Bottom Line

As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, there isn’t much new for OOTP as a franchise to hang its proverbial hat on with Out of the Park 23, but the refinements and improvements are felt throughout the title, and they make a positive impact. The most significant form of excitement comes in the form of the “player for prospects” addition, tutorial system, and new enhanced 3-D view that, as I mentioned, really creates a much more authentic and immersive experience for the user.

When all combined, Out of the Park Baseball 23 creates a deep baseball simulation experience and one that is finally accessible to the masses — or at least much closer. If you’re new or a seasoned veteran, the improvements in OOTP 23 deliver a highly impactful baseball punch that is sure to please.

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