Out of the Park Baseball 5 improves on the series and will no doubt keep would-be baseball managers up late many a night.
Out of the Park Baseball has been steadily improving since its inception in 1999. The text-based sports management series has grown from meek beginnings as an amateurish online-sales product to a remarkably complex simulation of running a major league baseball franchise. Last year's Out of the Park Baseball 4 was a big step forward, thanks to innumerable new features that added depth in every area. This year's game is even more of an evolution. Although the game is still only available online from .400 Software Studios, it is as professional as anything you can buy in a retail store. And playing it runs a close second to getting the job of your dreams in the big leagues.
Basics of the new game remain rooted in familiar, well-established mechanics. As in previous releases in the series, in Out of the Park 5, you take over the general manager's job with the pro ball club of your choice. Every detail of club operations is under your direction, both on the field and in the boardroom. Players are signed, lineups are set, pitching rotations are tweaked, tickets are priced, and so on. Careers stretch over decades, so you can pursue a dynasty to the end of the 21st century and beyond. You can play against cutthroat computer competition or play multiplayer games against other human general managers, thanks to the game's exhaustive support for online leagues. In any case, Out of the Park 5 simulates each game in great detail.
The new game also has many new features. Every menu has been dressed up to provide the user with more to look at than fonts and columns of numbers. For instance, you can customize your interface with multiple skins. And while every page is wallpapered with words and statistics, the use of different colors makes it a snap to sort through the data. Multicolored bars to indicate pitching, batting, and running ratings and player photo and logo boxes further jazz up what could have been dreary catalogs of facts and figures. Greatly improved audio effects add more elegance. A futuristic whoosh accompanies the opening of every drop-down menu, and you can hear the roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the bellowing of umpires in play-by-play mode.
Where the first four editions of Out of the Park 5 were plagued with minor production problems, the new version is much more refined. Even the scouting reports reflect this, as they now feature diverse phrases and come free of the typos and grammar mistakes that were common in the past. Every player comes with a full bio, detailing everything from an outfielder's "slow as molasses" speed to a pitcher's ability to "simply blow batters away." And there is a greater variety of comments in the internal e-mail system used to notify you of such things as trade offers and player demands.
Out of the Park 5 expands on nearly every aspect of the series. The new game provides much more information than previous versions, so you feel more in control of your club. Stat categories now encompass the invaluable WHIP rating for pitchers, and the opening player info screens provide all of the pertinent ratings and numbers. Players are rated with stars for the first time, making it easier to separate all-stars from duds. Team roster screens contain more factoids than before, encompassing a dozen stat categories showing your numbers and listing where you rank in the league. HTML reports can be generated on the fly in all sorts of areas, letting you pull up one-page overviews of such things as a player's entire career or the contract and salary status of everyone in your organization. Player names are hyperlinked on the majority of screens, so you can access all of this knowledge with a minimum of clicks.
- Game Universe:
- Out of the Park Baseball 9 (PC, MAC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 10 (PC, MAC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 11 (PC, IP, MAC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 5 (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 4 (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball II (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 3 (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 6.5 (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 6 (PC),
- Out of the Park Baseball 14 (PC)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players: