Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, gets me in touch with my inner child like baseball does. It was the one sport I could sink into with a broadcast schedule and really enjoy myself because while athleticism plays a certain part in getting points on the board, it’s truly a team effort and there’s an added layer of strategy. You need to count on the arm on the mound, you need to depend on the big bat in the middle of the lineup, and you need to know that an outfielder is going to make the one catch to save a disastrous inning and leave opposing runners stranded.
While a more active simulation landed on PlayStation platforms this year, Out of the Park Baseball 15 offers up the manager’s view of the game and gives you every opportunity to run your own team from the minors to the major leagues and into the record books. You’ll have detailed statistics on players, coaching staff, and even the revenue your ball club comes up with month after month. You’ll be able to see anything and everything happening in your organization, but that might prove the biggest pitfall for some gamers who would rather leave top-level management behind.
When you first start Out of the Park Baseball 15, you’ll have a choice of playing a season as the commissioner or as a dedicated manager at a club in the league of your choice. The game offers up leagues from all around the world and you can even play in multiple leagues at the same time, but be careful or you’ll drown in the sheer volume of statistics. It can be mind-boggling, especially when you need to make a crucial decision.
In fact, most of OotPB’s less intuitive information and mechanics fall away once you know what you’re doing, what you need to accomplish next, and what you’re looking for in the mountain of digital paperwork to flip through. You don’t have to worry about signing checks or taking the trash out at the end of a game, but even desk-chair generals should understand the incredible amount of work that goes into a baseball organization. With this much control, you’ll eventually lean in on every pitch if you bother to simulate games by at-bats and innings, rather than flying by while the computer plays every second of a game for you.
It’s that balance which provides the most compelling argument for Out of the Park Baseball in this day and age. Many baseball fans have gotten used to skipping through commercials or particularly boring innings if they’ve recorded the game, but there’s something to be said about taking ownership over your franchise and making the most of it. As a fan at home, it’s easy to turn on a game but when you learn to follow a schedule and make your way to the park at least a few times a season, you quickly find that the team’s wins and losses become your own. Simulating pitch after pitch invariably bogs the experience down, but that doesn’t mean hardcore baseball fans who’ve attend games with their own scorecards won’t love the option to do so.
I ended up getting the most out of simulating half-innings, as I could watch the scorecard fill up along with stats on each at-bat. Out of the Park Baseball still provides entertaining color-commentary, meaning you can get the same experience you’d have watching TV, albeit at a very relaxed pace… which is kind of the point of baseball, right? Still, I’m not sure you can get as excited by a bases-loaded home run staring at all the data or be as invested when you’re not actually listening to the crowd react to mounting pressure or leaping to their feet when a ball flies out to right field.
Out of the Park Baseball is all the baseball with none of the actual sporting competition. It’s everything you could want if you’re a deep fan of the sport with an eye for counts, RBIs, ERAs, and the like. For many others, like myself, it’ll never replace the experience of going to an actual game. I’d say you might consider playing a season in Out of the Park Baseball 15 if you’re interested in season tickets. At the very least, this simulation costs a lot less than a few beers at a professional game which says a lot when the minor league Giants organization near me leaves tickets for free at the grocery store.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on Mac version. Also available for PC and Linux.