Game Review - by Jerimiah Pratt
Spring has finally arrived and with the melting snow and budding plants comes another exciting season of America's favorite past time: baseball. This year, EA sports jumped out of the gates first with the new edition of their popular baseball series, Triple Play 2000. Has EA improved upon last year's mediocre effort enough to remain a top contender? Or will this be the year that EA is finally dethroned as the leader in the sales race?
It's time to go deep with Triple Play 2000, the game that lets you experience the thrill and excitement of America's national pastime. And just like in the big leagues, you can throw blazing fastballs, lay down perfect bunts, make spectacular defensive plays, or drive towering moonshots out of the park. Only the greatest ballplayers become legends, so step up to the plate and power your way into hardball history.
Total control batting-More Power, More Contact, More Often. Enhanced gameplay control including new mouse control. Fully licensed by MLB and the MLBPA-over 700 real major league players. All 30 American and Nation League teams plus two All-Star teams with complete rosters. Immerse, hi-res polygon graphics-so real, you'll think you're at the park. Motion-captured animations that capture the look and style of all your favorite players. Dynamic cameras that reflect the emotionally charged atmosphere and intensity of the big leagues. Challenging big league AI. Realistic Weather and field conditions.
The gameplay in Triple Play 2000 is very exciting. Gone are most of last year's frustrations, but in come new ones. One can never expect everything to be to his liking, but there are some minor oversights. If you play the game on CPU-Talented, chances are it will be a long day for your pitching staff. And although the base running is much improved, you seem to get picked off a little too often. But those are small compared to what the positives are. Now, for the actual gameplay. I simulated a full season several times and I got some very interesting results.
On the statistical side of things, Triple Play 2000 meets a good portion of a stat lover's need. During season play, the stats for many players tend to be pretty accurate, nobody will hit 70 Homeruns this year, and nobody will win 30 games. All the stats seemed to be in order, except who hit what.
A major concern I have is with the Smart Trades. I played one season with that on and it was a trading frenzy for the computer. Trades were early and often and the trading is not perfect either. It's a good idea that needs perfecting. After you finish a season, it will start over again, and player ratings will change according to what kind of season they had, I thought this was a very neat feature.
The new batting control is awesome. If you're aiming for the right side of the infield, chances are you will place it there. The base running is a lot easier to deal with, although if you take a big leadoff, the CPU will throw over to first way to often, but I guess that does not differ much from real baseball. Stealing second is not a given this year as it was last year. Yes, the computer can and will throw you out and steal more often, but not very successfully. I still have a small problem with doubles and triples. Yes you can hit them this year, but it's still not a given, even on a shot down the third base line.
The pitching and fielding is pretty much the same. A ball trail has been added to any moving ball this year, which you can turn on and off. The CPU pitcher mixes up his pitches very nicely and will even strike you out at times. If you put the game on hard batting mode, hitting is much more difficult, but with practice, you will get the hang of it and it is, in my opinion, the best way to play. Controls.
You have the option to play Triple Play 2000 with the keyboard, gamepad, or the revolutionary new mouse as a controller. The mouse as a controller is very slick on EA's part, although it takes a while to get use to. However, it seems to be more natural than the gamepad. One item on the gamepad. I use the Microsoft SideWinder Gamepad and you have the luxury of being extremely precise when using it to throw to a certain base. But this is not the case with the Gamepad Pro. You'll find yourself throwing to second base many times, when you originally wanted to throw to first.
If there were any aspects of EA Sports' game lineup that don't warrant any criticism, it would definitely be the graphics. TP2000 continues this winning tradition with accurately rendered stadiums, realistically scaled players and all the interface eye candy you've come to expect. But while such innovations as real player faces and animated crowds have greatly improved the atmosphere in EA's other sports titles, there are no noticeable changes that really make it stand out this year. Player detail hasn't changed much, and with the exception of animated flags and other little nuances (such as running waterfalls in Kansas City), neither have the stadiums. This is not to say that the graphics are poor, but basically, if you saw last year's game, you've seen TP2000.
EA's dynamic duo of Jim Hughson and ESPN's Buck Martinez are back to call the game and for the most part, do an adequate job. EA has worked hard to keep the dialogue up with the game and the results are noticeable. You won't be two outs into the next inning by the time Hughson gets done telling you the score this year. The two work together well, but most of what Martinez has to say would never actually be said in a real broadcast. Other sound effects are exaggerated in a way you'd expect from an arcade baseball game. Stadium chatter and applause sounds as it should, and the various ditties that play from time to time add to the overall atmosphere.
It's in the game. Triple Play 2000 s a new level of gameplay in the Triple Play series. With the addition of the total control hitting and more solid gameplay, this version is sure to make most people happy. There are plenty of things that can detract from these new features, but most players can play through them. The graphics look better than before, but could be even better, and the sound is top notch. Being the first baseball title to hit the shelves, Triple Play 2000 has set the for every other title to aim for.