Out of the Park Baseball 23 differs from its competitors, and delivers yet again – Hands-on impressions

If MLB The Show 22’s franchise mode just doesn’t do it for you, there’s always a game that seems to just get that part right every year: Out of the Park Baseball.

Image via Com2us

Over the past years, baseball games have come with a lot of differences. Some, like the old MLB 2K, and MLB The Show franchises were geared more towards the player who wanted a realistic experience. Other titles, like the now-defunct RBI Baseball and The Big series, had more of an arcade-tilted look. Then there’s Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP). Out of the Park Baseball 23 is the continuation of a franchise that has stood the test of time for decades, by delivering a completely different experience. Rather than actually playing through a game, OOTP is a dedicated baseball simulation, where users are tasked with taking control of a team, constructing the ideal roster, and simulating through games, in order to push to the top. 

How does Out of the Park Baseball 23 look for this year? Well, it looks a lot like its counterparts, but still does enough to not only stand out, but also ensure that the franchise’s future is in good hands.

The key of OOTP

Image via Com2us

Out of the Park Baseball 23’s primary game mode is the Standard franchise mode. Here, users can take control of an active baseball team. Players can choose from one of the current 30 Major League Baseball squads, or teams in leagues that are around the world. This includes Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) or Nippon Professional Baseball League teams over in Asia.

Much like past years, Out of the Park Baseball includes not just authentic MLB team names and logos, but also accurate player names from the active rosters, plus authentic Minor League Baseball rosters, as well.

A big difference between MLB The Show and Out of the Park Baseball is the fact that OOTP is geared more towards the user that not only is a fan of numbers and analytics, but also of an immersive franchise experience. In OOTP, users have way more control of their respective organization, besides the traditional options, like trades, free agency, and the MLB Draft, that have been in other simulation baseball games. OOTP players can hire training staff members, make changes to the stadium, and have a say on how the team manages its finances. The simulation can – and we say can, because this option can be edited by the user – have a much larger emphasis on past statistical production, and not just ratings, that plays a role in how the team plays as a whole.

If you’re new to Out of the Park Baseball, the intricacies of the simulation, and the moving parts that are involved with controlling a team, can be a lot. Luckily for newcomers, the development team this year have implemented new tutorials, to make it easier for new individuals to get acclimated with what is an intense, but enveloping, experience.

Build the Perfect Team

Screenshot by DoubleXP

Sports games, for the most part, have embraced the new CCG model that titles like FIFA and Madden trailblazed in the late 2000s and early 2010s. As has OOTP, which implemented Perfect Team back in 2018. Perfect Team operates much like other “gatcha” card games. Users have the option to buy packs with OOTP’s virtual currency, Perfect Game Points.

Perfect Game’s formula hasn’t changed much since it was first added, and that’s a good thing. This mode really has been a secondary option for those who want something else outside of traditional simulations, and gives baseball fans the chance to construct a custom team full of players from the past and present. Since only historical info (names, stats, etc.) is being used, the list of available legends is much more diverse than what one would find in MLB The Show.

The only thing to be aware of with Perfect Game is that much like with other game modes in Out of the Park, everything is simulation-only. This includes online leagues. In online leagues, users can submit their team into the servers, and then be entered into a season with other players. Then, the push to do well, and get promoted to a higher league starts. It can be a bit RNG-based, but there is a method to the madness, provided that one masters the art of crafting the right lineup and getting high-rated players to fill out the roster.

What else?

Image via Com2us

In addition to the Standard franchise and Perfect Game, OOTP 23 also offers a Historical mode. Players have the option to pick a year in baseball history, ranging from 2021 to even the early days of baseball in the 1800s, take control of a team, and change the course of time. Also, users will have the option once again to port over saves from past OOTP games to Out of the Park Baseball 23. 

The verdict

Image via Com2us

It’s really hard to criticize Out of the Park Baseball or its development team, just based on the fact that every game that has been released over the years passes the quality test. Each year OOTP Developments painstakingly ensures that the rosters, as well as the current upcoming draft classes, are accurate and as full as possible. Granted, it’s much easier to do this as compared to a title like MLB The Show, thanks to likeness and licensing issues. Nevertheless, the process has almost always yielded a splendid, one-of-a-kind result.

It’s good to see that Com2Us, the Korean-based publisher and new owner of the OOTP series, has enabled the development team to retain and refine the formula that has worked for quite some time. 

The only real criticism of this franchise is that outside of the tutorial, updated rosters, and added customization options, there’s not too much that has changed. Still, it does offer a much better alternative to MLB The Show’s franchise mode, thanks to the breadth of features that OOTP has to offer. Plus, I think it’s fair to say that stats nerds – like yours truly – love to sit in the chair of decision-makers, and use all the reports and stats in front of them to make informed decisions for an MLB team.