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Out Of The Park 20: A Snakepit Review

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With a new sim out every year, it’s hard to find sweeping differences, but OOTP is as solid as it ever has been.

(Note: This reviewer’s copy of Out of the Park XX was provided to him personally by Out of the Park Developments)

The most unrealistic thing about the simulation aspect of Out Of The Park XX or 20 is the following scenario:

During the 2019-2020 offseason period after a season, I offered Chris Sale (The game’s rosters hadn’t yet updated his extension) a large contract, about 7/$300 MM. Maybe ostentatious , but it’s not actually money that will affect my life one way or another (like actual Baseball owner’s money)

Thinking I was gonna ride high into next season with an Ace, I found a message that, doggone it, another team had offered a Major League Baseball free agent in the future of 2020, which is not far from now, a bigger contract! And in game time it was December! Major League teams don’t do that anymore, we all know that. Haha, enjoy the 2021 strike or lockout, everyone.

Glib comments about the sate of Baseball Free Agency aside, Out of the Park 20 has a lot of the same stuff you love, provided you loved the previous Out of the Park games. To review: You take over as the GM and/or Manager of a baseball team, and you do all the scouting, trades, signing, in-game management, etc to try to get your team to the pinnacle.

If you notice, I didn’t use any Major League-specific terminology there, because OOTP20 allows you to manage in 15 real world leagues, a Baseball World Cup, and create your own custom league using just about any parameters your mind can conjure while listening to Dark Side Of The Moon after chugging a bottle of DayQuil.

Can you expand the league and bring back the Expos, and is their logo already on file? Hell yes

You can also play in any historical season from 1871 to the present. Wanna see if you can change history and have the Seattle Pilots make it out of one year? You can do that. Want to see if you can manage the careers of “Old Hoss” Radbourn or Pud Galvin? Absolutely.

If you’re familiar with the core gameplay of the Out of the Park series, you’re not getting too much new here. You can do things like “The Opener” now, the game has always been pretty good about keeping up to date with new Baseball things. However, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, ya know?

Watching/managing an actual 9-inning baseball game has become a lot better in the recent editions. You’re not going to get a fully detailed 3D experience like in The Show, but the players having animation and moving around gives the game some life. A thing that occurred last year that still gets me is that sometimes on a ground ball, it will look on the animation like the baserunner easily beat the throw to first, but in the game they were thrown out. A relatively minor thing, but it still kinda takes me out of it. Still, managing games is a fun experience that doesn’t feel like a slog like doing your taxes (remember to file today!)

Not what actually happened, but it’s fun to pretend

The interface, and all of the things you can do within the main game, can seem daunting if you’re new to the franchise or haven’t picked it up in awhile, but you can take your time to familiarize yourself with everything before you even start simming a game. You can also, if you like, let the computer AI run anything within your team that you just don’t want to or feel like doing. For me, personally, that’s pretty much anything with the lower tiered minor league system or looking at “work” e-mails. Just like me in real life.

Ha ha, just kidding if any of my bosses are reading this. I care a lot about Low-A ball.

Could happen. Might not. I dunno

The database of the game is so large, it contains player info and pictures and logos of everything from every level of Major League Baseball to international leagues, that loading up a game can take a long time at first. I’m running the game on a fairly new gaming-focused laptop and it still feels like a slog. It’s worth it to wait, but I can only imagine what people on older systems might be experiencing.

The newest and, to me, most interesting mode is “Live Start.” if you select that when starting a new game, it will create a new MLB game with the standings and stats on the day you load up the game.

For example, I started a new game today and...

... those are the standings! What fun!

There’s also, for the second year, the “Perfect Team” mode, which lets you collect cards and points to buy cards to build a team that you take online against others to prove your superiority. If you’re into that.

OOTP 20 is another strong entry in one of the, if not the, best sports management games. If you’re the type who likes the nitty-gritty of roster construction, this could be your fix. If you’re the person that yells in the comments about how you could run this team better because your day job of telemarketing FDA unapproved vitamin supplements gives you the know-how, this is your chance to prove it. If you have the patience to try and fail, but keep at it, it’s a rewarding experience. You can also cheat your way through the game, if you like that. There’s something for everyone.

OOTP 20 currently retails for $39.99 on Steam.