OS Scores Explained Out of the Park Baseball 15 Overview
Deep and realistic; Interface looks great; Improvements add depth/options
No 3D at launch; Still a steep learning curve; Super addicting.
Bottom Line
Despite missing a touted new feature, Out of the Park 15 is the best version of the best PC sports game available.
out of 10
Out of the Park Baseball 15 REVIEW

Out of the Park Baseball 15 Review

The newest edition of the well-reviewed Out of the Park Baseball series has gone live. And, after a week of playing, I can attest, as usual, the latest edition is the best -- even without one of its newest features.

If you haven’t read my initial impressions, that would be a good place to start. If you have, they all still hold true -- in fact, my overall impression of the game has gone up with repeated plays.

As of 2014, the best way of describing Out of the Park is not as a singular game, but rather a baseball gaming platform. You want to simulated any past MLB season? Here you go. GM Simulator? Yup. Want to manage a team on the field? OOTP is good for that too. Create your own world and populate it with fictional teams and fictional players. Start an online league. Expand the current MLB. The options are nearly limitless.

The versatility of Out of the Park makes it a game that is well worth the money, even if you are carrying over a previously saved game. This is especially true this year, because I think the new features are worth the upgrade.

I think my favorite addition is the refined user interface. First, this is probably the prettiest versions of OOTP; it features a streamlined, almost minimalistic, style reminiscent of iOS 7. The fonts are slick and stylish, the default colors pop, and usability is better than ever.

A big part of the increase in functionality is the increase in available screen real estate. As I said in my impressions, the game looks outstanding on my 27” iMac; so much information is available on each screen. Of course, the game retains the ability to right click on every player to bring up all of the necessary actions and statistical information. Again, I think this is the best looking and most functional interface the series has ever had.

The one disappointment in the presentation department is the delay of 3D game views. This is at once a big deal and minor issue. Big because 3D is a huge step for the traditionally flat OotP; minor because it is coming, and the 2D is perfectly functional. I suspect even with the addition of 3D later this spring/summer, some users will continue to utilize the familiar flat field.

For kicks, I tried to run a game in 3D, with odd results. All of my players’ pictures were blue, like Smurfs, and the game suddenly crashed. Again, I trust Out of the Park Developments to get this working and release it when its stable. When it does, I’ll revisit this options look and playability.
Other New Features

The other major features, namely enhanced statistical ratings and more ingrained international leagues, work well and serve to enhance the overall product.

The international leagues really help to flesh out the default “universe.” I was really surprised to see most of their logos included in the “All in One” mod available through the in-game menu.

When I started a career as an unknown manager, I had a few managerial and general manager options across the Italian and Mexican leagues. It makes an interesting choice for new players: Do I begin at the bottom in the States, or do I start near the top of a lesser known international league? It's these kind of choices, in addition to the accurate posting system and international free agents, that make Out of the Park 15 such an engaging game.

To help make these decisions easier, the ratings can now be adjusted per league and/or position. As I stated in the impressions, these adjustments can take some getting used to; but in the long run, they help create a more useful overall picture of your players’ ability and potential.

Out of the Park touts the game’s improved AI, and while I don’t have any specific examples of it in action, I can relay some instances that I think can be attributed to its improvement.

First, I found pulling off a “steal” of a trade a little more difficult. In the past, I’ve shopped a player, found a match, and then tried to add a high-potential prospect. Naturally, the computer would ask for more, and I’d oblige. Then I’d try to add another piece, and this cycle would continue until one of us conceded (or I used the “Make This Trade Work Now” option). The trade would end up being four for four, something that doesn’t happen too often in the the real MLB.

I tried that strategy again this year, and it worked the first time. But other AI GMs didn’t engage, and when I wanted to “make it work,” I was asked for my truly valuable players. So, I was forced to go back to the original more pedestrian 1-on-1 trade.

Also, when managing in game, I’m seeing the AI making more logical moves, especially in terms of bullpen usage. I’ve also been seeing some more variety in regards to play results and play-by-play than in past years.
Final Thoughts

There’s no question that Out of the Park is a great series, and one that gets better every year. As long as the developers don’t strip something out or truly break the game’s AI or simulation engine, each new edition should be better. And, as expected, OOTP 15 continues this pattern.

If there’s one thing that you can fault with Out of the Park 15, it’s that the game continues to be overwhelming for new users. As a veteran of the series, it’s hard for me to look at this title with fresh eyes, at least in terms of usability. I’m guessing that the learning curve for newbies is steep -- but trust me when I say the top of the hill is worth the climb.

The new interface, changes to the ratings, international leagues, and its continued variety make Out of the Park 15 the best version of this esteemed series. And even without the 3D engine, it’s easy to recommend upgrading to this year’s edition.

Learning Curve: If you've played OOTP in the past, you'll have no problem jumping in. For new users, be patient with a game that, at times, can look like a daunting spreadsheet.

Control Scheme: I love the new interface; the changes increase style and functionality.

Visuals: No 3D is disappointing, but the 2D we've lived with still works.

Realism: As good as it gets. I'm thinking the new AI makes better choices, and the addition of the international leagues helps create a deeper and more realistic universe.

Technical Issues: Outside of trying to run an ill-advised 3D game, I've not run across any bugs or crashes. Of course, your experience may vary.

8.5 (Great)

Member Comments
# 1 tbbucsfan001 @ 04/29/14 05:27 PM
Are the in-game menus and such still the same?
# 2 BradOOTP @ 04/29/14 07:32 PM
RE the menus: The top level menus are still the same, but we've reorganized the hierarchies below them, so certain things are easier to find. And we redid the Manager Home Screen, now known as the Manager's Office.

RE 3D: Unfortunately, yes, it causes crashes on Macs, but it does work on the PC side right now, albeit not as well as we'd like. (I'm on a Mac too, so I haven't been able to experience it fully either.) So, while it's not there on the Mac side at the moment, it's probably 75% there on Windows.
# 3 Perceptor @ 04/30/14 01:10 AM
Alongside FM, one of the best text sim sports games you can get
# 4 AlexOvechkin @ 04/30/14 07:32 PM
How can I get the player portraits in?

Located them into OOTP 15/data/photos but I still get only fictional protraits...
# 5 beedl001 @ 05/01/14 03:51 PM
This is a fantastic game. Every year they improve it with not just tweaks but big additions (one isn't fully functional but this is a team I have a lot of faith in). The depth can be a little overwhelming at the beginning, but I would rather be overwhelmed than underwhelmed.
# 6 CrShepard @ 05/01/14 08:55 PM
Have been a fan of the game for some time, basically purchasing it bi yearly, and I can say I am excited to play this years version. As a baseball fan as a boy I would play stat-o-matic hour upon hour and always have to do all my statistics by hand, OOTP is what I would dream about back then, it is simply the best.
# 7 tarek @ 05/02/14 01:44 AM
I agree this game is amazing. But also quite daunting.

I have a knowledge of baseball, but not an indepth level of knowledge. As such it's easy to get lost with all the minor leagues, prospects, staff and player issues, rotations and all other amazing stuff. Thankfully, you can delegate tasks and then watch how things unfold before you take more and more responsibility.

For example, as a ML GM you can micromanage and control every aspect of the minors in your farm system. That's unreal, amazing and totally insane. I delegate that to the minor league managers.
# 8 Cubfan @ 05/05/14 06:44 AM
I tried the 3d for a bit and then turned it off it was kind of ugly looking. But i do like seeing the pitch location after each at bat.
# 9 reo @ 05/07/14 07:13 PM
Of course 3D doesn't work on Macs, no real gamers buy Macs, only the hipsters do!
# 10 Mashiasu @ 05/08/14 01:48 PM
Originally Posted by reo
Of course 3D doesn't work on Macs, no real gamers buy Macs, only the hipsters do!
you know instead if being snarky, you can go check the OOTP forums and find out that the main Mac guy is sick and they have to rewrite code but they are working on it


Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.