Developed and published by Out of the Park Developments, Out of the Park Baseball 24 arrives just in time for the launch of the new MLB season. Featuring updated mechanics, stats and much more, Out of the Park Baseball 24 promises new 3D visuals, new in-game analytics, tons of both offline and online gameplay modes, and much more as it debuts on PC via Steam. Out of the Park Baseball 24 allows you to digitally manage your favorite officially licensed MLB teams in the most authentic way possible in today’s digital scape. This is our review of Out of the Park Baseball 24 in which we create our very own baseball team and try to become the number one.
Right when you jump into Out of the Park Baseball 24, you are introduced to the extensive tutorial modes of the game. Unlike traditional management sims, the tutorials for OOTP Baseball 24 are not just limited to small scenarios that teach you about different in-game mechanics, but you also have external tutorial videos, a detailed online manual for the game, and a hefty forums section where you can ask about or look information on just about anything related to the game. Thanks to the large dedicated fanbase of the franchise, tons of players are always available to help you understand different mechanics if you are still confused after playing through the in-game tutorials or watching the tutorial videos. According to my experience, completing these tutorials only allows you to understand the basics and you only get better and truly understand the game by actually playing it yourself.
I started playing OOTP Baseball since 23 and I am in no way an expert when it comes to this franchise since I am still learning and getting better at managing the teams. All of this learning comes from actually playing the game, messing up seasons, and then trying again from scratch with a better strategy for the new game. This is where the game comes in handy because it has everything you need to get better at the game. The learning curve for the game is pretty steep but since when was any management game easy to begin with? Out of the Park Baseball 24 is loaded with different options which will allow you to micromanage your favorite baseball teams and they do not necessarily have to be modern as well.
If you love baseball, then the Out of the Park Baseball franchise is a treasure trove of historical knowledge about the sport as well because thanks to its inclusion of nearly every historical team, season, and player, you have the entire history of baseball installed into your system. From the main menu of the game, you can pick your desired game mode depending on your mood. These include a Standard Game where you can manage any real 2023 MLB or KBP rosters or the Historical Game where you can manage literally any historical season starting way back from 1861 all the way to 2022. These modes also offer a Challenge Mode where certain assists and simulations are turned off by default and you can really flex your management wings on your favorite team. You can call these Franchise Modes as well because you will be directly micromanaging the season of your favorite modern or historic team in these modes.
If you want to skip some of the initial setup of the game, you can quickly jump into a game by choosing the Quickstart Game which allows you to pick from a selection of pre-configured games to quickly get into the action. If you want to import your saved files from a previous title, you can do so from Out of the Park Baseball 23. Older saved files are not supported. If you want a quick match with older teams, you can jump into the Historical Exhibition which will allow you to quickly manage your favorite historical team as their general manager. There are tons of new mechanics this time around which give you even more control over the flow of your team such as Dynamic Trade Deadline Day, Dynamic Owner Goals, and an improved financial model for a better understanding of the expenses. If you love trading, there is a brand-new trading ‘Hard’ mode as well.
Probably the most important mode of Out of the Park Baseball 24 is still its weakest game mode and that is the Perfect Team mode. The Perfect Team mode allows you to open card packs to create your very own dream Baseball team. However, while it may sound like a fun mode for hardcore fans of the sport, it is also one which is loaded with microtransactions. Naturally, the card packs that you purchase require a premium in-game currency which is called Perfect Points and after you have exhausted your initial supply of 1000 Perfect Points, and your Starter Packs of cards, you will need to dish out real-world money to purchase Perfect Points which will be in return, used to purchase card packs for getting additional player cards. If you are a hardcore fan, chances are that you have been following baseball for quite some time and naturally, you will want the best players for your dream team but it will not come cheap since you will be purchasing and opening up a lot of card packs to complete your collection.
Opening up a pack will grant you six random players from different eras of Baseball and depending on your personal preferences, you may like them all or you may hate them all. If you find a few good players in a pack and want to get rid of the rest, you can sell individual cards in the market as well where the card will fetch a price that is currently the average in the market. Player prices go up and down according to demand and supply and their personal stats as well so you cannot expect too much from a player card that is easily available to everyone and has low stats. The in-game market for players works just like that in the real world but you can always sell the players that you do not need and also purchase individual players directly if you do not wish to dish out money on card packs and believe in your luck.
One brand-new feature this year added to Perfect Team in Out of the Park Baseball 24 includes the addition of a premium subscription service called Perfect Team Plus. As if, the Perfect Team was not loaded with microtransactions, you now have a monthly subscription added to the mode as well. It will set you back $6.99 for 30 days and it gives you different bonuses like Double Daily Login Bonus, Extra Tournament Slot, Exclusive Home Ballparks, additional bonuses on different Perfect Point purchases and more. I will probably never subscribe to any such subscription in my life and I am not sure how the developer thought that this would be a good idea to add even more microtransactions to this mode when it was already a mess in the previous year’s OOTP release.
If you skip out on all microtransactions, the Perfect Team mode is exactly what you would expect from such a mode and nearly all sports games have a somewhat similar mode these days. You will open card packs to receive players and from them, you will create your dream team and take part in different events from players around the world. There is also an option to take part in Perfect Team Tournaments which allow you to climb rankings with your team. The customization is now better than ever and you have a lot of different options to create the perfect outlook for your team. After having enough players in your team, you can customize your team’s name, logo, uniform, and more to create a team that fits your playstyle.
Apart from the visual customization, the main dashboard of Out of the Park Baseball 24 also allows you to dig deep into your team and customize their playstyle as well by choosing the pitching, lineups, and strategy. You can always have more players in your reserve than you actually need because if one of your players gets injured while playing, you will need an additional player in its place so that you do not miss any upcoming games. All of this can be done easily on the main dashboard of the team management in Perfect Team Mode. Apart from setting your whole team’s strategy, the game also allows you to set specific strategies for each player and in different scenarios as well. This level of simulation really gives you detailed control over the different aspects of your team and you can shape their gameplay according to your own will. Even during games, you can micro-manage different aspects of the game or if you are happy with the settings, just let the AI simulate the game for you and you can check out the results.
The UI and visual presentation of Out of the Park Baseball 24 is still pretty basic and to a large extent, easy to understand and user-friendly as well. Since this is a management simulation and not an actual sport-playing title, the UI allows you to focus on the managerial aspects of Baseball rather than the gameplay elements of the sport. The UI gives you a clear idea of what each button on the screen does and how you can manage different aspects of the team that you are managing. While you are out on the pitch, the visual design of the game will not earn any sort of reward, but it gets the job done. If you have been playing this franchise for some years, you will notice that this is getting better with every new release and while OOTP Baseball 24 offers 3D players and animations are improved overall, the game still requires more work in this department.
The same goes for the audio design of the game as well. The game is so silent that I was often checking to see if my headphones were disconnected or still connected to my PC. There is no menu music or a ‘click’ sound while navigating the labyrinth of menus in the game. I would prefer some sort of refreshed UI with a proper sound design because it will definitely add to the overall value of the game. While the game is still offering a solid Baseball management simulation experience, improving the UI, and adding some sounds will not ruin the overall experience but it will improve it massively.
Out of the Park Baseball 24 brings with it all of the updated stats for players, teams, and plenty of other quality-of-life upgrades. If you have been playing Out of the Park Baseball 23, the new 24 version might not feel like a huge upgrade over the game however if you missed the previous releases, you can jump into the newest release and experience the growth of the franchise. The normal game modes are excellent, and chances are that like me, you will be spending a lot of time in there as well. Unless you have a lot of cash to dish out, you will not enjoy the Perfect Team mode offered by the game since it just feels like an absolute cash grab at this point with the expensive card packs and the new premium monthly subscription service added to it.
Out of the Park Baseball 24 brings the most updated data in terms of Baseball and combines that with a solid management experience to deliver the best Baseball management sim that we can currently purchase. I love the simplistic UI and the choice between going casual or hardcore when it comes to simulation in the game. Although the Perfect Team mode is nothing but a cash grab, I will suggest that you stay away from it and stick to the normal Franchise Mode of the game which offers tons of management fun and historical insight into the sport. For the future, I would love to see a refreshed UI and a better sound design of the game however for the time being, I am just happy with the solid management options present in the game and how the game is shaping u every year in the right direction. If you love baseball and are looking for a good management sim, Out of the Park Baseball 24 is the game for you.
Final Score: 8.0/10