There may not be any live baseball being played right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your baseball fix at home. Out of the Park Baseball 21, the latest installment of the OOTP franchise, is out now and if you’ve ever dreamed of running your own team, then this game might be just for you.
Out of the Park Baseball 21 Review
If you’re unfamiliar with Out of the Park Baseball, the game is a simulation-style game where players can take control of a team and take their squad to the top. Gamers can choose teams from Major League Baseball, as well as international leagues, including the Nippon Professional Baseball League (Japan) and the KBO League (South Korea). In addition, OOTP once again brings back its historical mode, where gamers can choose teams from the past and change the course of history in the baseball world.
This year’s installment features some new improvements, including a new ‘Game Flow’ feature that will walk you through all the steps that you need to follow, as well as a ‘Live Start’ feature where you can start at any point during the live 2020 MLB season (once it actually starts, of course). Also, if you’re a fan of card collecting, the ‘Perfect Team’ mode returns to OOTP, as gamers can collect cards of past and present stars and simulate against other competitors in online leagues.
Details, Details, Details
Sports gamers, for the most part, like accuracy and realism, and that’s one area the folks at OOTP Developments don’t disappoint in. OOTP 21 not only features accurate rosters from both the past and present, but also accurate MiLB rosters and draft classes for upcoming years as well. If you’re well-versed as to how the MLB Draft works, you would understand how difficult this task is, given how many high school and college players are eligible.
OOTP Gets The New Features Right
I will say that I like the new ‘Game Flow’ feature, especially since it can be quite helpful for new OOTP players. Considering how many tasks a general manager needs to take care of in a given day or month, this feature can be a life saver. In addition, the new 3D Ballpark Construction Kit is great for those who really wanted to get involved with changing the dimensions of their park, as well as modifying the look of the game itself.
How is the Sim Engine?
The sim engine, as far as I saw, seems to find the right balance between randomness, past performance and player ratings. For me, striking the right balance between these three factors is the most important part of the game. You can have the cleanest interface and have the most accurate rosters, but if the simulation doesn’t make sense, then there’s a serious problem. And look I get it, generating high-quality simulations can be quite challenging, but the folks over at OOTP have done a fine job with it yet again.
Yes, every now and then you’ll see a player have a breakout season, or another player will fall off the map. That’s fine because that’s how baseball works. One player will have a good season one year, but could struggle the year after that. However, for the most part, players with the highest ratings will perform as they should. And that’s the way it should work.
How’s the AI?
When talking about the AI in OOTP, I’m not referring to how it affects the results of games, since you can’t actually play out games. Rather, I’m referring to how the AI manages its teams, as well as how it interacts with other AI teams and the user. I will say that based on my experiences, the AI managers have both its positives and negatives. As far as building teams, it does a good job when it comes to roster management. The AI doesn’t really stockpile at one position and neglect other spots, which certainly is beneficial for those who want some serious competition.
However, there is one point that I do have some concern with. I do feel that at times the AI tends to try and wheel and deal to much. Sometimes the AI will propose a trade that doesn’t make sense, or put a key player on the trading block for no apparent reason. I understand that programming AI is tough, and it could the morale system at work, but some tweaking of the AI probably wouldn’t hurt.
Given how detailed and immersive OOTP 21 is, I have to say that this is probably the best game the franchise has offered up so far. If you’re a baseball nerd or if you have ever been curious about what’s like running a baseball team, but don’t really care about actually playing out games, then this game is right up your alley.
As long as you don’t care about actually playing games, the immersive managing experience that the folks at OOTP Devlopments give to gamers is certainly something that we could all use during this time.