Game Over Online ~ Triple Play 2001

GameOver Game Reviews - Triple Play 2001 (c) EA Sports, Reviewed by - Jimmy Clydesdale

Game & Publisher Triple Play 2001 (c) EA Sports
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 63%
Date Published Wednesday, April 12th, 2000 at 03:24 PM

Divider Left By: Jimmy Clydesdale Divider Right

Over the last month, I've had the opportunity to play a number of baseball titles including Triple Play 2001 High Heat Baseball 2001, Microsoft Baseball 2001 and even a little known managerial game entitled Out of the Park 2. I've been able to compare, contrast and dissect each of those titles and I've come to a pretty concrete conclusion. I've realized that of all the EA Sports titles out there, the Triple Play series has become one of their worst entities. They've really got some work cut out for them if they hope to keep up with the pack because right now, they're striking out badly.

Triple Play 2001 is by no means a realistic baseball simulation. If you're looking for true-to-life physics, accurate statistics and impeccable manager options, Triple Play just won't fill your lineup card. If you're looking for an over-the-top arcade style baseball game, I still have a hard time recommending Triple Play 2001 simply because there's very little difference between the 2000 edition and this new one. Every year, without fail, EA Sports cranks out yet another in their series of sports titles, but Triple Play is by far their worst effort. Year in and year out there is relatively little change and the 2001 edition is no different.

There aren't many highlights in Triple Play 2001, but we'll touch on those first. There is one thing that EA Sports does best across each of their sporting titles and that's presentation. The visual department continues to shine above the crowd with their incredible level of detail. Triple Play 2001 is the first in the series that supports resolutions higher than 800x600. The end result is spectacular to look at. Field and stadium textures are bright and alive while player textures are as detailed as ever. You'll have no problem distinguishing your favourite ball players by their body type and facial likeness. Everything within the field of play looks tremendous. Animations are also present outside of the field of play, as flags wave and fountains flow in the background. The only gripe in terms of graphics is environmental objects in the far distance as well as the actual crowds. 2D sprites continue to be used and when you make a catch at the outfield wall, or behind the plate, it is extremely noticeable. That aside, only Microsoft Baseball 2001 rivals the visuals in Triple Play 2001.

Hand in hand with the visuals, the audio in Triple Play 2001 is spectacular, particularly the play-by-play. Once again Jim Hughson and Buck Martinez return to provide their take on the game and it's by far the most varied commentary available. Although somewhat generic in comments, their voices seem lively and attentive. Outside of the play by play, the rest of the sound effects are strong. Whether it be the comical advertisements, the sounds of baseball or the musical interludes, it's all crisp and convincing.

Ok, so Triple Play 2001 looks and sounds good, but how is the actual gameplay? This is basically where the entire game falls apart. Triple Play 2001 is extremely over-the-top. Hits occur on a regular basis and homers are hit frequently. The home run record is in no way safe in Triple Play 2001. No matter what level of difficulty you choose to play at, hitting the ball is extremely easy to do. Emphasis has obviously been put on action and although it can be entertaining the first few games, it can be quite annoying playing such high-flying games on a regular basis. The batter-pitcher confrontation remains the same, with the pitcher selecting from his assortment of pitches while the batter chooses whether to make contact, bunt, or swing for the fences. Why one wouldn't swing for the fences at all times is beyond me, unless you've got Craig Grebeck at the plate.

The lack of realism at the plate translates to the field as well. There seems to be a number of bugs that result in gameplay glitches that are extremely frustrating. Runners will attempt to steal bases without your permission. It doesn't seem as though the computer knows how to tag up properly either. Besides the home run power many players possess, just as many possess superhuman arms. I've had outfielders throw strikes to the plate from the outfield wall in time to catch players well off guard. I never knew Shannon Stewart had such a cannon for an arm and I watch him play on a daily basis up here.

Obviously EA Sports has decided to go with an extreme baseball experience, as seen in their Extreme Big League Challenge. You can go one-on-one in a homerun derby with a number of Hall of Famers. If you wish, you can have a variety of targets placed beyond the outfield walls that offer bonus points if you can strike them. When I first stepped up to the plate, I couldn't believe my eyes. The outfield was filled with monkey crap! I'm sure some players will enjoy this contest, but I couldn't stand it. I was out of that mode faster than (insert your own joke here). I'm assuming the EA folks were hammered when they came up with some of the ideas found within Triple Play 2001. The Living Room Stadium? Who with the what now? My lord, what have they done to America's favourite pastime?!?

Triple Play 2001 offers several unique and re-hashed features. The ability to create your ideal player has been enhanced to include signature batting and pitching styles. The home run tournament now includes three modes to choose from: Tournament, One-on-One and Extreme. Legendary Hall of Famers the likes of Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth, have been added to the game. A new camera angle that gives you the outfielder's perspective on balls hit to the outfield (an angle that is extremely difficult to use when fielding the ball, but quite useful when running the bases). Finally, special awards, as seen in Madden Football, have been added in that allow you to unlock such options as special teams, unique stadiums and player power-ups. Player Power-ups? Only in Triple Play 2001.

I'm really not going to touch on the multiplayer available in Triple Play because if there's one thing EA Sports has never been successful with, it's multiplayer options. Was I surprised to learn there was a patch released for online play only days after the release of the game? Not particularly. Perhaps EA Sports should focus a little less on visuals and audio and concentrate more on gameplay and multiplayer features in the future.

Player power-ups and targets the size of Jennifer Lopez's ass located just past the outfield wall! Oh that's right, if it's in the game, it's in the game! That's one slogan down the drain. Are you in the market for an over-the-top arcade baseball experience? The Triple Play series is probably right up your alley then, although I can't find many reasons to justify the 2001 edition over the 2000 edition. If it's a realistic baseball experience you're looking for then allow me to point you in the direction of High Heat Baseball 2001 and Microsoft Baseball 2001, you'll have better luck finding a real baseball game in those two titles.

[ 17/20 ] Graphics
[ 13/15 ] Sound
[ 16/30 ] Gameplay
[ 10/20 ] Fun Factor
[ 01/05 ] Multiplayer
[ 06/10 ] Overall Impression


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