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Triple Play 2002
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Treyarch
Publisher:   EA
Genre:   Baseball
# of Players:   1-?
ESRB:    Everyone
Release Date:   March 2001
Posted:   01-18-01

Despite the actual games themselves all being pretty good, the sports titles that Electronic Arts has published on the PS2 have all kinda been voted number one on the system by default. However, come this baseball season we will finally be able to see some actual competition between multiple companyís games butting heads on the PS2. Americaís pastime will see the release of at least three separate titles Ė Acclaimís All Star Baseball 2002, 3D0ís High Heat Baseball 2002 and now EA Sports' PlayStation 2-update of the famed Triple Play series. (989 Studios has yet to announce MLB 2002 for the console.) Triple Play 2002 is on the horizon, and yes, it looks as though it, like all the other EA licensed sporting games before, may very well come out on top of the pack.

The most obvious change to Triple Play 2002 is the graphical improvement. Comparable to Madden 2001 in the "Wow" department, TP2002 sports some of the slickest baseball visuals ever seen across any platform. Newly designed player models are aligned to the correct height and weight, shadows and incredible jersey textures fill TPís world. The stadiums have been drawn from actual blue prints, and now they honestly look like the real thing, to the point of near photo-realism.

Diamond atmosphere will be getting a kick in the pants, too. Over 150 facial textures from real major leaguers will be added, plus individual batting styles as well. New celebrations, such as high fives and post-game jubilation, will be implemented to add player emotion to baseball. Stadiums will be changed, too, with advertisements and life like fans helping out the cause.

Gameplay-wise, as in classic EA fashion, Triple Play wonít be a revolutionary update to the 2001 version, but again more of a refinement. The TP series has always been regarded as an arcadey title, but in an effort to be more comparable to the sim aspects of 3D0ís High Heat games EA Sports has added a few new features that should create a more realistic play. Button pressure will define the depth and speed of throws and pitches, not to mention a brand new pitching/hitting interface, including a visual strike zone and cursors for better control over hit and pitch placement. EA has also scooped up the exclusive rights to the MLB Big League Challenge played in Las Vegas, a competition of 12 baseball superstars battling to see whom can hit the long ball the most.

Lastly, TP2002ís audio scene will receive an upgrade, too. Big name recording artists such as Fastball, Vitamin C and Chuck D. will supply new musical tracks. The commentating is designed for the PS2 hardware, featuring intelligent scripts from the Toronto Blue Jayís new skipper Buck Martinez as the color man, with play-by-play being handled by Sean McDonough.

On track to be released sometime in March, Triple Play 2002 has a lot to live up to. Itís got a ton of competition this year, so Treyarch and EA cannot afford to slack off in areas that the other titles will most likely excel it. But, with itís striking visuals, classic TP gameplay and fresh pitching/hitting components added, TP2002 should have no problem remaining the king of the baseball hill come spring training.

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