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tp_logo.jpg (5537 bytes)
Review By: Louis Yakobson
Developer:   EA
Publisher:   EA
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Baseball
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:   11-20-00

EA Sports have really outdone themselves now. Triple Play 2001 is the best looking baseball game out there for the PSX. It makes MLB 2001 look like someone Mike Tyson is boxing. Anyway, this is the latest version from EA Sports of this franchise. The game can be improved but so could any other game. The fact of the matter is it’s the best baseball game out there.

The graphics in the game are great, especially considering the PSX’s power. On a system that doesn’t push that many polygons per second, the graphics look great. The stadiums look beautiful. They’re very big and detailed, making it look very realistic. When you are about to start a game, the environmental graphics make it look almost like a television broadcast. All the stadiums are included, and they look exactly like the real stadiums in the Major Leagues. When you change the time of day, (you can change it from Dusk, Afternoon, and Night) you can really tell the difference. When it is dusk, it looks a little dark. Once you play an afternoon game it’s beautiful. The sun shines very well onto the field, showing that the lighting effects in the game are just about top notch. When you change the weather, you may choose some options such as clear and overcast. You will easily be able to tell which one you’re playing, because the contrast between the two is amazing. The lighting effects are a plus for the game. The uniforms are nicely detailed; you can see the number on the back, the logo, and the team name. The designs of the uniforms are just like the uniforms in real life.

One thing I have stumbled upon is, although the game says more signature pitching and batting styles are an option, just about every player is missing his signature batting stance. Some of the players do have their signature batting stances, but there are only 10 different stances at the maximum. They just give these 10 stances to all the players throughout the game. It’s not a big part of the game, but it is a bit of a disappointment. The fans are a part of the game but not a big part. Every once in a while you’ll hear fans chanting sayings such as "Come on, hurry up," or "If you’re in the show then show me something." The crowd will also cheer at times, but nothing realistic. The play-by-play and color commentary is a great feature in this game. The announcers are very funny, with all their sayings. One cool thing is that if you don’t press a button for a while, the announcers will give you old baseball stories and facts. This is a great feature for the avid baseball game fan, and just a cool feature to have. The announcers may be occasionally annoying but they’ll make you laugh. The play-by-play is just great. Sometimes they’ll announce the batter; sometimes they’ll give praise for a nice hit or a great defensive play. If you get a hit, they’ll say, "Just a slow roller but it goes through the hole," or if you’re pitcher is having a great game they’ll say, "Man, look at the pitcher, you can’t touch him." So, they’re a big plus and keep you from turning off the sound like many other games do.

The control of the game is such that the learning curve may be as short as 5 minutes. The controls are very simple. First, if you want to bunt all you do is press O. If you want to hit for contact, then you press X. If you want to swing with power, you press the square button. To change your stance you can press the R and L buttons. They’ll turn your player, and the other will move him closer and further away from the plate. If you have a base runner and you want him to steal, you have to press the triangle button and the D-Pad. (If you want him to steal second, you press the up button because the D-Pad symbolizes the bases. Down is home plate, right is 1st base, up is 2nd base, and left is 3rd base) The overall offensive controls are great and very user-friendly. When you are pitching, a screen comes up with a list of pitches. Next to these pitches is a button. After you select your pitch, you press X to throw a perfect strike. If you don’t want to throw a pitch down the middle you press X and simultaneously press the D-pad. If you want the pitch outside to a left-hand hitter, you would press X and the left D-Pad. If you want to pick someone off you press square and the base you choose.

To move the fielder you use the directional pad, and X plus the D-pad to throw. There are more controls, but basically these are the main ones. One nice defensive feature is you can jump up to the wall. That’s right folks, you’re playing a big game, somebody on the opposing team hits a ball deep, you can jump up the wall and steal a winning home run. That is one of the great parts in the game...you’ll be checking out the replay for hours! Speaking of the replay, it can be improved in many ways. It does have many different views such as catcher’s view, 1st baseman’s view, 2nd baseman’s view, and all the other positions. There is also an overhead view. The one bad thing is you can’t do slow motion. I frown on this because when you make a great defensive play, you WANT TO SEE IT in slo-mo! Anyway, the overall control is user-friendly and has some cool features to it.

There are 5 different modes, and many options in each of them. The 5 modes are Exhibition, Season, Playoffs, Home Run Legends, and Big League Challenge. In Big League Challenge, you can select a tournament, one on one, or a new feature this year, an extreme challenge. In the tournament mode, you select up to as many as 16 players and you slug it out. You will have to win, and then you'll face other winners until there are only 2 players remaining. In one on one, you and a friend can have a slugfest and see who is Home Run King! You can also slug it out with a CPU player. The Extreme mode, which is new, is by far the most fun out of all three modes. Here you can pick extreme stadiums such as one that resembles a living room, a medieval stadium, and a Las Vegas stadium. In these stadiums there are different targets which range from 100 to 10,000 points each. An example of these targets in the living room stadium are baby pictures, (which make a glass-shattering noise when you hit them) a television, a stereo, (which plays music if you hit it) a dog, a mug filled with coffee, and many more. If you’re hitting lots of homeruns in a row, the ball will get bigger and have a red laser around it, which rewards you by making the hitting more simple. If you hit a lot in a row with the glowing red ball, you then have a glowing red bat and ball. This makes it very simple to hit a homerun. Once you get a hit that’s not over the wall, you hit normally again.

In Homerun legends, you can play as your favorite hall of famer. Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and more are now available to play in this mode. You could still use these players in the extreme stadiums, which is cool, because they go DEEP! I think this mode is great, especially if you love the history of the game, which almost every baseball fan does. It’s America’s pastime. It’s great also because it’s fun playing with guys you always wanted to play and watch but never had a chance to. This also might be a smart tactic by EA Sports to get the older generation to buy the game, since they grew up with some of these players.

In an exhibition game, you can play as your favorite team against a friend or CPU. In playoff mode, you can go through the Division Series, League Championship Series, and on to the Fall Classic. If you’re lucky, you’ll go all the way and win the championship with your favorite team. In the season mode you can play all 162 regular season games and the playoffs. The season also consists of an all-star game you play. If your players are good enough, they’ll make the squad. A very nice feature in the game is the salary cap points and reward feature. You can have a draft before the season starts and you have a certain amount of points to choose players. You use these points to sign free agents, trade players, and you can even buy old players and improve your own players. You do this by using the reward system. There are rewards for different things such as a stolen base, a grand slam, or a homerun. These rewards give you points and unlock features such as old players and improvements to your existing players. If you want teams with different players than real life, you can have a draft and select your own players.

Another feature is you can go to MLB news. This is screen displays the top 5 homerun hitters and the all-star voting. It shows all the positions and players. Each player has points next to his name with how many votes he got. After the all-star game is over, the screen displays the candidates for MVP awards and CY Young awards. All the stats are there, as usual. You can go to League Leaders and see who leads in different categories. You can check out your teams stats and player stats. There is also a standings screen which shows what place you’re in, your record, winning percentage, and how many games back out of first place you are. It also shows your teams stats. You can trade players, sign free agents, and do other key transitions. If smart trade is on, you won’t be able to trade a bad player for a star player, which is cool. You can basically do anything here. It’s a nice key to the game. There is also create a player mode where you can make your own player. This can be improved because the options are limited. You can have about 5 different skin tones, some other options, and your attributes. This should be improved next year; it’s a disappointment. As you can see, the main part of the game has a lot of bulk. It’s full with great features and modes.

If you’re looking for a baseball game, then you can’t possibly go wrong with this game. If you’re an expert, then the extra features will have you playing for months, and if you’re a beginner the user friendly controls will help a lot and save some frustration. This game is the best baseball game for the PSX. Once again, EA Sports makes another big hit, which will be a top seller.

HIGHS:

Triple Play 2001 is the best baseball game out for the PSX. The graphics and textures are nicely done, making the game look very realistic. The extras, such as extreme homerun durby, and homerun legends are a great addition to this game, because playing in a living room is the coolest extra in a game I’ve ever played.

LOWS:

The announcers repeat the same sayings over and over, which gets on your nerves and influences you in turning the sound off. There are also too many hits that you get that are considered errors, decreasing your overall batting average. The A.I. in the game is very poorly done because it’s way too simple. Play on the last difficulty level and you’ll win over 125 games in a season.

FINAL VERDICT:

If you want a baseball game that is very realistic, has good graphics, and many addictive extras, Triple Play 2001is the baseball game to purchase for your PS2. No matter what, you can’t go wrong with this title, it’s the best baseball game out for the PSX!

Overall Score: 8.8

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