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by EA Sports

11-01.jpg (6042 bytes)No, you are not reading the title wrong this is Triple Play 2002. Why not 2003 like the rest of the baseball games coming out? Well the previous Triple Play did not have a year in the title. By doing so they took the extra time to start fresh. What they accomplished was a game that is easy to pick up, start playing and start having fun. Purists might find it not engrossing enough, but it should be the starting point for those who are new to the game.

16-01.jpg (6044 bytes)There are essentially four ways you can play Triple Play. You can play a single game, which gives you an opportunity to get a feel for the game. Beginners should give this a go before jumping into the more advanced settings. Then there is the season mode. This season mode gives you control of your team and allows you to build it from the ground up. At your disposal is the ability to sign free agents and draft your future all-stars. Missing the final piece of your championship team? Just create yourself a player and add him to your team as well. You have control over how many games you want your season to last. For a short season you can play only 15 games, but if you are an iron man play the full 162 games. Other items that are customizable in the season are the length of games, and how long you want the playoffs to be. Missing though is the ability to create a dynasty. This severely hinders the replay value of the game.

15-01.jpg (6407 bytes)If you do not want to risk not making the playoffs in season mode (or if you suck) you can skip ahead and just play the playoff. You have choices on how many games you want to play in each round-- whether it’s one game for each round or 5-7-7. The final mode is the homerun derby. There is a single elimination eight man tournament and one-on-one. The object is to get as many home runs as possible. A hit ball that fails to clear the fence is considered an out. The one thing that Triple Play just does not pull off well is the controls. Breaking this down into three groups, first we will talk about batting. The cursor looks like it is better suited for a space flight sim than a baseball game. It is actually too easy to hit the ball as the computer gives you a lot of leeway. Once you have a batter on base the computer takes control; fortunately it doesn’t do anything too stupid.

111-01.jpg (7201 bytes)The pitching is much more refined than the batting. You have control of both the pitch selection and the touch on the ball after it leaves the pitchers hand. When playing against a friend you can actually hide the place the ball is headed before you select what type of pitch it is. Finally is the fielding; there is a mixed bag for this crucial part of the game. The analog sticks are used to move, and you will not want the computer to do it if you plan on getting to the ball before the runner has an in-park home run. The good part is that it allows you that much control. What sucks is the delay when trying to throw a ball. In a game of split second decisions, quick reaction time is a must in order to get that elusive runner out. Unfortunate the delay between button pressing to reaction is as though you are a charter member of the Bad News Bears and you have no clue where to throw it.

18-01.jpg (7253 bytes)The audio is stellar with commentary that is better than most other games. Bob Costas and Harold Reynolds are the two voices that you will be hearing. As the commentators do in real life when a player struggles, they berate them a little. Sometimes though they are a little overzealous and make their comments before you are at the plate. For the most part though they can keep up with the game play and give the impression that they are actually watching you play instead of reading a set of lines. The shining area of the game is the visual quality found everywhere. Each player has been digitally scanned and mapped on to the polygonal body. The nice part is that they do not look like they are just slapped on there and time was taken to get the features to look as realistic as possible. The ballparks represent their much larger cousins very well. Everything is there in detail from the scoreboards unique look to famous landmarks that are found within. This game is officially licensed by the MLB association. This means the contents such as uniforms stadiums and rosters are all as they appear in the actual game.

14-01.jpg (6312 bytes)Triple Play 2002 is best used as a stepping-stone toward full baseball simulation. Everything about the game is designed to be easy to pick up. There is just not enough there to hold interest for a long period of time. With as many baseball games that are out, there should be something for everyone, but if you have never played one yet you’ll want to pick up Triple Play 2002. Sure your friends might laugh, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Jake Carder   (05/06/2002)


Ups: Great graphics; Bob Costas and Harold Reynolds; easy to pick up and play.

Downs: Not a lot of meat; lack of control; delay in reaction to button commands.

Platform: PlayStation 2