With Major League Baseball back in the full swing of things it brings out my sudden interest in baseball as a whole. Particularly the managing aspect of that great sport. Enter Out of the Park Baseball 15.
Once again it’s developed by Out of the Park developments, which is based out of Germany. I want to go out on a limb right now and say that their PR Manager Brad Cook is easily the most friendly and interactive PR manager of ANY video game company I’ve dealt with. They really care about the fans opinions and more often than not, reply to anything you have to say in regards to the game.
|• The ability to import your league from OOTP 14||• 3D interface headed in the right direction, but not there yet|
|• Seven real international leagues added||• Still some minor interface flaws|
|• Reworked rating system||• No inclusion of the World Baseball Classic|
|• Revamped interface||• Minor game crashes/freezes|
|• Spiced up league options||–|
|• More in-depth player history||–|
Like last year’s game there is very little to complain about. This game isn’t flawless and all games come with their problems, but I’d really have to look deep into the game and nitpick about small things in order to come up with a respectable list. On that note here’s what I’ve come up with…
I must say when I heard the initial list of updates to OOTP15, the 3D engine was actually not high on the priority list for me. It would only be the icing on the cake to this fantastic game. Regardless they were bold enough to venture into the 3D realm and look to innovate their franchise. Unfortunately it hasn’t been fully realized. The 3D engine has been added in but at release date it wasn’t fully complete. There is an option to turn off the engine and personally that’s what I did. It’s a great start but obviously it needs to be improved some more before I consider turning it back on. OOTP Developments have hired a full-time 3D programmer to continue with the foundation they have laid. It should only get better from here on.
Last year I reviewed OOTP 14 hoping that they would include the World Baseball Classic into the game. It made sense since the third tournament was taking place at that time. Jump ahead a calendar year and here I was sitting with my fingers crossed hoping that they would integrate that tournament into the game. Sadly it didn’t happen, but I will continue to push for this feature. With the addition of seven REAL international leagues this year, it seems OOTP Developments is headed in that direction. One can only hope!
The only other issues I had with this game was the occasional interface problems and some game crashes. Starting with the interface flaws I seen was with the “dark” interface. When I went to my team schedule the games are filled with a white or black background in each box. The problem presents itself when the white background boxes are met with the black interface. The boxes have text in them but they aren’t visible whereas the black boxes are.
Game crashes are a part of most games in their early stages and sadly I’ve come across a couple different ones upon release. The first one I dealt with was in the ballpark editor. I tried creating a real life stadium for a Japanese team and I wasn’t able to do so. When I tried to save the ballpark it crashed on me. The second crash that was more frightening to me occurred last night while I was playing my 2014 Atlanta Braves. I was entering the month of June and it gave me my first player development update. Every time I clicked on it to view it, it would instantly crash. This happened to me three times before I decided to just sim that day completely.
I started with the negatives, now let’s look at the positives…
The biggest addition for me was the seven REAL international leagues joining in for the first time. Not only do you have options to be a GM for MLB, MILB and fantasy teams but now you can become a GM for seven other new leagues. This was the two-year compliment to first introduce international free agent signing in last year’s game and then adding to that with the international leagues. The seven new leagues are Japan’s NPB, Korea’s KBC, Taiwan’s CPBL, Mexico’s LMB, Cuba’s CNS, Italy’s IBL and finally the Dutch’s KNBSB.
Another solid addition was the reworking of the rating system. I’m a player that likes to set the ratings between 1-100 because that’s the standard in most sports video games for overall ratings. If he’s a 50 in power, that tells me that he is average in that department. Not only can you make the ratings relative to positions but you can also check out what the ratings would be relative to other leagues. If you’ve always wondered how an above average pitcher would do in the Mexican league you can simply click on said pitcher and find out. Because of the competition level, chances are he would become an elite pitcher if he was ever to play in the Mexican league.
OOTP 15 is now finally entered the new generation of resolutions for computer screens. No longer do they have the boxy 4:3 aspect ratio, instead they have gone to a more modern 16:9 wide-screen resolution. That goes a long way in managing your screens and stats. I am able to see more of what I want to see per page. That wasn’t the only change they made to the interface, other alterations came in part to the manager’s office. The first thing I noticed when I was in that screen is that I can now sort between eight news boxes relevant to my job, making that my one-stop page for my most significant news.
The last little tidbits I have are more for the hardcore fans of this game. They might seem small to most people but they are huge in my books. Those enhancements are the option to expand your spring training rosters. Now you can go ahead and send non-roster invites to free agents during spring training. Being able to edit your spring training schedule from 1-6 weeks is another healthy choice. Not to be overshadowed by that, but now you can offer a contract to a coach while the job isn’t vacant on your team. Finally the enhanced player history tracking is a well thought out page. It gives you the players yearly salary, milestones, game achievements and 2nd and 3rd place award finishes.
Were you able to wrap your head around all of that? I can say that I haven’t even experienced everything this game has to offer and yet, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Out of the Park Developments continues to deliver the most immerse baseball simulation experience to date; nothing even comes close. I am a OOTP fan for life and once you play it, you will become one too.