As this is the third time I have reviewed an Out of the Park Baseball game, I am pretty much out of things to talk about with this series. As a fan of simulated sports games, I always look forward to the new game in the series each year but the only things to talk about are what’s new each year. Due to that, if you are interested in a general overview of what Out of the Park Baseball is (and whether or not you will enjoy it), I will refer you to my previous review. This review will only cover the new features and improvements in Out of the Park Baseball 19, which are:
Improved 3D gameplay mode with animated players, improved ballpark models, and a redesigned in-game interface-This is by far the most noticeable change in this year’s edition and at least for me, it really improved the in-game experience and made it a lot more fun to watch. There are some quirks in the system right now (players sometimes get infield singles when it looks like they never should have beaten the throw based on the animation, occasionally a hit that looks like it should be a single ends up as a double, and other graphical glitches) but these issues should be fixed in future patches. Some of these might make you hate your fielders (especially when they occasionally just stop and let a fly ball drop seemingly on purpose) but it is clearly just an issue with the animations, not the simulation. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating though. However, once everything is running smoothly, this new in-game experience will feel much more like a game of baseball. This is definitely my pick for best improvement in Out of the Park Baseball 19.
Redesigned interface-I didn’t wind up playing last year’s edition of the game as often as I normally do but the interface was never really problematic for me. However, I do think Out of the Park Baseball 19 improved things a bit more in this area (it does feel slightly more streamlined). While I will never use either option, three new skins and six different fonts have been added to the game as well if you don’t like the standard ones.
New scouting system-Scouting reports are completely rewritten and the rating system is streamlined. While I’ve only played the game for about ten hours so far, the scouting reports do seem a bit easier to evaluate players. I haven’t gotten to a draft or free agency yet though, so I haven’t had to use this feature much so far.
Ultra-realistic AI with improved handling of two-way players, in-game strategy decision making, trade evaluation, and more-Again, this is something I will have to spend more time with the game to fully evaluate but I haven’t noticed a huge change in this area so far. This is mainly because I already thought the AI was very good at the game to begin with, you haven’t been able to rip off a computer GM in quite some time and they have always made generally sound decisions.
New tournament features-Two new tournament features have been added to Out of the Park Baseball 19, the ability to create a standalone bracket and the option to include any teams in baseball history in a tournament. While I have never utilized the tournament feature in past Out of the Park Baseball games, the second addition is something that I might actually utilize. A long time ago I played a lot of What If Sports, which allowed you to play hypothetical matchups like the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers vs. today’s squad. I enjoyed seeing which teams would win in these fantasy matchups so I will almost certainly spend a bit of time with this feature. It’s even better than What If Sports due to the ability to make a tournament bracket of teams.
User voting for end-of-season awards-Even though you are a team’s general manager in this game, you now get a chance to cast a ballot for all of the end-of-season awards. This is just a minor new inclusion and it doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense (writers vote for those awards not MLB personnel) but I’m sure there are some Out of the Park Baseball players who wanted this change. The AI apparently also is better at decision-making for the awards.
Customizable manager home screen-This new addition allows you to add the features you use a lot to your home screen.
800 new fictional team logos-I don’t make my own custom baseball leagues so these aren’t really useful for me but for those of you who have your own fictional leagues, this should be a nice addition.
Improved player morale/team chemistry and player creation & development systems-As I am only partway through my first season, I haven’t really noticed the changes in either of these two systems yet.
Improved game recaps and enhanced play-by-play text and league news-Along with the improved in-game experience, the new play-by-play text does add a little flavor to the proceedings.
Small tweaks-Outside of one thing (delayed substitutions for injured players so you don’t have to replace them until they are needed to pitch, hit, or field) the details on this haven’t been released but supposedly “countless” small tweaks and improvements are included in Out of the Park Baseball 19.
Perfect Team-Note: This feature is not yet available in the game, it is coming out later this summer. Perfect Team is the new online competition mode for the game but as it hasn’t been released yet, I obviously have no idea on how much it improves on the old experience.
In my Out of the Park Baseball reviews I always mention that I love the series but since the game has been almost perfect for many years at this point, I don’t always think the game is worth upgrading each year. My thoughts on Out of the Park Baseball 19 are similar but I actually thought some of the improvements really improved the game this time (especially the new in-game experience). If Perfect Team improves on the online game when it is released, it might be worth upgrading to Out of the Park Baseball 19 even if you already have the previous game (depending on how big of a fan of the series you are). The new in-game experience and ability to pit any teams from history against each other in a tournament are definitely the two best new features in my opinion but as usual, several smaller improvements are also included. I haven’t been playing Out of the Park Baseball as much as usual over the past few years, but I must admit that this year’s verion has gotten me addicted to the series all over again. Recommended.
Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Out of the Park Developments for the review copy of Out of the Park Baseball 19 that was used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.