I’ve had the new version of Out of the Park Baseball for a couple of weeks now. I’m a huge fan of the franchise.
Short review, it’s a terrific game. At $45.49 Canadian it is well worth the money. It is very addictive. You can get it here.
The great part of the game is that there are many ways you can play it. You want to play out every game of a season you can. If you want to sim a season in a couple of hours you can. Want to start out as a manager for a minor league team and see if you can move up the ladder, you can do that. Want to run a team in the Korean Baseball Organization, you can do that.
The game has always been good. Each year’s new version has small improvements, but the real reason to get each new version is to get to start it with as the teams as they are at the start of the new season.
The little improvement I’ve noticed, this year, is an improvement in the AI on trades. Playing as the Blue Jays I, wanted to trade off guys like Kevin Pillar, and I couldn’t get much back in trade. In past versions you could generally trade veterans for prospects. My usual method of playing is to go straight into rebuild and gather as many prospect as i can. It is harder in this version, which is likely a good thing.
As always you can do almost anything in the game that real life front offices can do. Waivers, trades, free agents, Rule 5 draft. Players get hurt (currently Randal Grichuk is on the IL for 3 weeks with a torn thumb ligament).
There are a couple of glitches that will likely be fixed, Rule 5 pick up Elvis Luciano isn’t locked onto the major league roster and yet when Travis Bergen was returned I have to keep him on my roster.
The start of season roster was pretty close to the Blue Jays real roster, Kendrys wasn’t on team. Buchholtz was on the DL and Norris was actually on the roster. Pompey was on the IL, but, he was ready to come off after a couple of weeks (at the start of the season he wasn’t on the 60-day).
Unlike real life, Ken Giles started the season just terrible for me, he gave up 6 home runs in 8 innings and I got frustrated and traded him. I was planing on trading him anyway, but not in the first two weeks of the season (I did get a good first baseman prospect and a reliever prospect. He’s been equally bad for the team I traded him to.
And, unlike real life, my starting pitchers were terrible at the start of the season (I’ve been grabbing every starting pitcher who hits waivers to try to help the rotation, Gio Gonzalez has been good), but my team hit some. We still have a terrible record. I’ve have Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette on the major league team (I traded Glavis as soon as Bichette was marked ready for the majors).
Anyway, graphics have been tweaked a bit. The graphics are pretty minimal, which is find by me. Occasionally, annoyingly, ground balls hit directly at a fielder often go for hits, but I expect this to be fixed in a future update.
There are a couple of things I’m not thrilled with: I could do without:
- ‘Achievements’, where you get a badge if your team does something, like a player stealing 3 bases. I guess these things are in a lot of games these days but the only achievement I want is my team to win.
- At the start of the season, the owner gives you a list of goals. This is ok, but my owner’s goals are ‘achieve a winning record’ which seems pretty silly for a rebuilding team and ‘sign Eric Sogard to an extension’, which is just stupid. I don’t like the idea of the owner being mad at for not doing things that wouldn’t be helpful.
You can also play the game online against real people. I haven’t tried this, I feel I spend enough (ok, too much) time with the game already, but I like playing on my schedule. If I’m too busy to look at it for a week or two, I don’t have to, playing online would make that tough.
And this year they have a new online game called ‘Perfect Team’, where you build a team out of ‘baseball card’ packs that you open and can buy with ‘Perfect Points’ which you can get by playing the game (or you can buy with real money. As someone who collected baseball cards in the past, and liked trying to build teams out of the cards I had, I can see how much fun it would be.
Other new features:
- “Intergrated live services”: You can start the season on any day of the season and the game will have rosters as they sit that day.
- You can play any of 12 different international leagues: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico and Cuba, Germany, France, Spain and the Czech Republic.
To me it is a great game for a baseball fan. They have a similar game for hockey, Franchise Hockey Manager. It is a good game as well, but I’m not enough of a hockey fan to enjoy it as much as OOTP.