SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$39.99

DEVELOPER
EA Sports

PUBLISHER
Electronic Arts

RELEASE
04/99

Triple Play 2000 Review

By: John Doe


Featuring many improvements over Triple Play '99, TP 2000 comes out shining like a diamond (excuse the delicious pun). Bravo to EA Sports for making a great baseball game that anyone can jump into and start swinging!


Highs:
Lows:

I was a little disappointed with last year's effort due to the lack of control while batting. I'm happy to report that EA has greatly improved this area and has given players much more control over where to put that ball. You can now try for a grounder or a fly ball and even angle your batter to get that ball into an area where there are no outfielders hanging around. Be warned, those pop flies are sitting ducks for this years AI and you'll be counting three outs really fast if hitting high is your only strategy. The control of the rest of the game remains firmly planted in the "this works great so why change it" category. Your throws to 1st, 2nd, 3rd or home are once again relegated to the 4 positions on the d-pad which makes total gameplay sense. Once the ball is in your possession you can choose to throw accurately, conservatively or aggressively depending on the immediacy of the situation. EA has also added a "speed burst" which does exactly what it says and can be used for either runners or fielders. This helps out immensely.

The graphics this year are excellent and baseball fans will recognize their favorites without a problem. Even causal fans will recognize Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, due to their mugs showing up on TV and in newsprint constantly. All of the animations accurately portray baseball in all of it's glory; gum chewing, grimacing and cockiness are all well represented, but where's the scratching?

As you'd guess all of the real teams, real stadiums, real players and real stats are in this game. All of the usual gameplay modes are here like Single Game, Season, Playoffs and new for 2000, Homerun Challenge. Two batters battle it out and any swing that doesn't result in a homer is counted as an out! Ouch! Since the rosters in TP 2000 are as current as of January 15, 1999 you have the ability to trade players and make lineups changes that would reflect the real-life roster changes that took place after this date.

Control is spot on this year and thanks to the speed burst button the game is much more realistic. Fielders can dive, jump and even climb the wall if necessary to make the catch. Even newbies will get the hang of the easy controls relatively quickly. It took about half a game for my player 2 to get comfortable with the controls and he has never played video game baseball before. He even beat me in a game which I promptly blamed on my controller and sent him packing. Who needs player 2's like that, huh? Once you get used to the manual base running you won't go back. It takes a while to get used to for players who think that they should actually see their player run to the bases, but as I explained to my player 2, it is more important to see where the ball is going so that you can make an informed decision as to what base you are going to run for. If the game didn't show you that the ball went way out in left field, you may think you only have enough time to get to first base, ruining the chance for a double or triple.

The play by play and commentary is excellent and really adds to the overall realism of the game. I found it to be accurate to the situation and informative at the same time. The sound effects such as rock music, organ music, crowd noise, player grunts and hits are equally well done. Even the between play stadium announcer captures the spirit of actually being at a game.

In the end this game is a rock solid effort and has easily become my favorite baseball game. With the addicting and sometimes maddening Homerun Challenge, you can put yourself into one pressure cooker of a hotseat and get a taste of what stress Sosa and McGuire go through. EA Sports has produced an excellent title and as with most of their products with the year 2000 on them, they have a winner on their hands. All that's missing from Triple Play 2000 is a hotdog cart and a popcorn stand, but I'm sure EA will somehow manage to throw that in next year.

OVERALL
9.0

GRAPHICS
9.5

CONTROL
9.0

MUSIC/FX
9.0

FRUSTRATION
6.0

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