Triple Play 2002
Review of Triple Play 2002
Some of the early reviews on this game were making me half expect to see some grossly disfigured players or jumpy graphics when I started playing this. All because of the 3d head scans that EA is touting. I didn’t find this to be nearly as bad as it has been made out by some critics. Yes, if you look very closely, the players heads are a bit out of proportion to their bodies, but not in some freakish grotesque way, but just barely noticeable. Besides the head thing, the graphics are stunning. The stadiums are truly a sight to see. The detail in the layout of the stadiums is so incredible, it’s almost as if you are there. Details like the part of the stadium where a foul ball is hit erupting with fans clamoring for the ball are great. The fans are blurred out and no real detail to them, but you see movement (random) in the stands.
The 3D rendering of the players faces is very good. These are the most realistic faces I have seen. In other games like NBA Live, the players sort-of look like their real counterparts, here, it looks like you are looking right at Ichiro when he comes up to bat. In addition, the rendering of the players is excellent, and no noticeable polygon seems or edges are evident. The players have natural reactions to various situations as well. Strike out and he grabs his helmet and shakes his head. Miss a pitch and he has that disgusted reaction. On home runs his teammates greet him at home plate. One bad thing is you don’t get to see him run the bases. The game just fast-forwards to him crossing the plate.
Playability is (pun intended) hit or miss. In typical EA fashion, the controls are simple and easy to learn. With the simplicity comes a tradeoff on playability. As a rookie who is just learning to play, in fielding, it is nice to have the throw go to the correct base by simply pressing the X button. Other baseball games have controls where the buttons correspond to the bases (the layout is so perfect for this!). I would like to see that as a customizable option in the controller layout. The reason is the AI on this game seems to pick the wrong base sometimes. For example, bases loaded, 2 outs, hitter hits a grounder to the shortstop, the default base for this is to throw to home rather than the force at first. With the runners already running on contact, it ends up as an RBI. If I had control, I would choose to throw to first. Yes, there is a way to override it by using the d-pad and pressing X, but that is not so hot. It seems to end up that the wrong base is thrown to, but maybe it requires more practice.
As for the other parts of defense, you have a choice of pitches (4) based on your particular pitcher’s skill and his arsenal. Some have sliders, while others may have a forkball. The analog control allows you to take some off of the pitch or send it across the plate at full bore. You use the d-pad or d-stick to aim where in (or out) of the strike zone you want to place the pitch. Then you choose the pitch and hope for the best. After the ball is hit, then the game chooses the “best” fielder who you then have control over to move to make the play. Sometimes the AI picks an infielder on an obvious fly ball that the outfielder is best suited for. There seems to be no way to change that until the ball lands on the field and you get control over his actions. Most of the time, the fielder is correct and you can get him to run to the right spot, they have big arrows pointing the proper direction he should run. The game has the ability to turn errors on or off. Once in a while you’ll get a throwing or receiving error. Most of the time that happens if you try to throw the ball before the player has fully controlled it.
Batting is relatively easy. You see where the pitcher is placing the pitch in the strike zone and line up a set of ‘crosshairs.’ I use that term loosely, since it is more like an oval in the center of a cross. Line up the crosshairs over the ball and you will be able to make contact—and—as you improve, start hitting. I noticed the size of the oval is larger and smaller depending on the player. I think the better the hitter, the larger the oval, which allows him to get contact on more of the pitches. The smaller oval is harder to get perfectly centered and make good contact. Nice touch. The best way to practice hitting is by going into the home run derby and hit some easy pitches. This allows you to learn the rhythm of the pitch and when to start swinging.
Besides the home run derby, there is the usual quick start mode to quickly get a game going against the CPU, in addition, you have the full 2002 season that you can play, single games, and playoffs. There is nothing earth shattering or new here.
The sound effects are also excellent. The crowd sounds are very good and even respond to the action in the game. Bob Costas does a great job of play-by-play and the canned phrases don’t get too repetitive. The color announcer, Harold Reynolds is also very good, but at times sounds like Chris Rock filled in for him.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Triple Play 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Downey © Absolute PlayStation
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