(NOTE: The copy of OOTP 19 for this review was provided to the reviewer from OOTP Studios)
If you have played the Out of the Park series of PC Baseball Management Simulation(TM) before, OOTP 19, gameplay wise, will be nothing new. That’s a good thing, as this is probably the gold standard of all sports management simulations. You can choose to run an MLB team from every level (Full and current MLB and MiLB rosters are included in the standard game mode.) You can try to draft, sign, scout, play, manage, etc your way to a World Series title. If you’re feeling frisky, you can take the reins of an International team. Want to make the Nippon Ham Fighters a Japanese League Dynasty? You can do that. Want to create an expansion team in the KBO and build them from scratch? You can do that.
If you want to have a single exhibition game between any two teams in history, you can also do that.
So what is new in OOTP 19? I’ll let their press release tell you, officially-like.
Out of the Park Baseball 19 Now Available Worldwide
OOTP 19 features dramatic 3D enhancements, a redesigned interface, new scouting systems, ultra-realistic artificial intelligence, 2018 Opening Day rosters, and more!
Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and MiLB.com, announced today that Out of the Park Baseball 19 is available worldwide, ahead of the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season on March 29.
OOTP 19 offers dozens of exciting new features and deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay including a dramatic 3D in-game engine that shows players pitching, hitting, fielding, and running the bases. Images of the new in-game engine can be found in the screenshot bundle and in the trailer.
Out of the Park Baseball 19 includes:
New 3D stadiums and 3D player models with improved on-field movements, including running, sliding, jumping, and throwing.
New in-game screen design for an optimized virtual dugout.
2018 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues and the Arizona Fall League. All Major League (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.
Rewritten scouting reports that give a more detailed and realistic look at players.
New tournament modes! Create a stand-alone tournament bracket and draw any teams in history into it. The possibilities are endless!
Ultra-realistic AI roster management and in-game decisions.
A reworked ratings module.
User voting for end-of-season awards.
Many more improvements, including:
Redesigned interface, with the ability to choose between 6 different fonts
800 custom team logos for fictional leagues
Improved Manager Home screen, with a more customizable layout and new widget options
A new stat -- RA9-WAR (WAR based on runs allowed) -- for pitchers
Delayed substitutions for injured players
The TL;DR version: Most of the game upgrades comes in the form of a nicer looking interface, and improved 3D Modeling during games. In my opinion, they succeeded in both. Take a look at last year’s in-game interface...
... and here’s this year’s
Just feels a lot livelier and less bland.
The new animations aren’t going to replace the graphics engine in The Show anytime soon, but they’re a nice little addition to keep you more focused on the actions going on during a game, as seeing little players run around in mostly realistic fashion is fun.
I say “mostly” because the animations and their timing aren’t perfect. Sometimes you’ll have a play where it’s hit into the outfield, the outfielder grabs it, throws it into the cutoff man, and the cutoff man sort of stares into the void contemplating the finality of existence while a runner takes an extra base. My guess is that the outfielder getting and throwing the ball goes faster than the baserunner running, but the outcome of the play is “Hit, runner advances extra base”, and so the game engine has the cutoff man have an existential crisis to make up for that. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but the first few times when you’re mentally imploring your fielder to THROW THE DAMN BALL TO HOME YOU’LL GET HIM BY A MILE can be tense.
The GM/Manager mode has most everything you’d want, but there’s some unrealistic aspects. For example, at the beginning of my Diamondback 2018 franchise, Ken Kendrick himself told me he wanted “A.J. Pollock extended” and “Acquire a well-known player”, as we know from observing this past offseason, those things require “Spending Money” which would run counter to what every owner wants from a Baseball team.
Also, I can’t seem to communicate with other teams in the offseason to make sure all Free Agents get similarly lowball offers. Must be a bug.
OOTP 19 is another really good entry in the series, and a good have for any baseball obsessive who thinks they can run their team better than the bozos currently in charge. It retails for $35.99 on Steam.