Triple Play Gold


Review by Matt Paprocki

EA Sports


Graphics: 8

Sound: 6.5

Gameplay: 8.5

Overall: 8

EA Sports has always been the leader in the video game sports world. Their Madden and NBA Live series have sold millions of copies around the world. Even their highly revered NHL series is a best seller. When it comes to baseball however, EA just can't seem to get it right. Numerous false starts from the deep sim Tony LaRussa Baseball to the arcade styled MLBPA Baseball have all fell flat in most gamers opinions. Finally, EA has put together the right mix that have made their other franchises so successful into a little baseball game called "Triple Play: Gold Edition."

Options are plentiful in this addition, from a nicely configured season mode to the quick pick-up-and-play exhibition. Would be managers can sit in the dugout and simply call out the wanted plays, never having to step up to the plate.  Multiple teams can be used in the season mode, a refreshing change from most sports games. Up to 4 players can take the field if so desired, making this perfect so a small group of real players looking for a nice diversion to the real thing.

These real life players could even plop themselves into the game with the general manager mode which allows for created players. Stats however, are left up to the computer. Based upon the name entered (according to the manual), the players attributes are generated randomly with no way of editing them. This prevents players from creating a dream team of flawless players who excel in every category, but a little more freedom would be appreciated.

Once a mode of play has been chosen, it's time to step out onto the field, and what a detailed field it is. The close-up batters view looks outstanding with some realistic shadowing/shading on the jerseys. The pitchers animation is relatively smooth, but the choppy animation of the batter may irk some.

The fielding view showcases so many different animations, a novel could written on these alone. Players collide with walls, each other, spit, dive, slide, jump, fall into the stands, bobble the ball, point, and step up for that big throw to home. The crowd is also the most detailed in the history of sports games. Look for the punk rocker who head bangs to the organ music, fat guy who always has a bag of popcorn, 2 young lovers not afraid to show their feelings to the entire world, and more. Fans will even dive for the ball if one is hit into their direction and proudly wave their souvenir in the air if they end up with it.

A price is paid for all of these aesthetically pleasing features though. The insanely choppy movement of the camera trying to follow the ball after it's hit makes controlling fielders an impossibility at times. If a ball makes it just outside the infield, the frame rate drops to roughly 5 fps until the camera catches up. A crying shame since all the detail in the animation is outstanding and a lot of work was obviously put into it.

Gameplay is a mixture of arcade and sim, perfectly combined to make a game accessible to the novice and hardcore baseball fan. A wide variety of pitches are available to throw, including the ever so handy brush back. Batters can swing for the fences or play it more conservatively, saving themselves from a possible strikeout. Fielders also have a choice of getting the ball somewhere faster but less accurate or slowing it down and making sure it reaches it's destination. Be warned however, that any fielder can toss the ball from the outfield to home without a single hop.

Every batter will come to plate with standard organ music which can be turned off if the player so chooses. Voices are definitely on the scratchy side, and it's hard to tell the difference between umpire calls. A PA announcer will comment on the action from time to time if something exciting happens, but this is the closest thing to play-by-play to be found.

It's rare a game can mix styles of play and still be completely playable. Baseball fans can finally come over to EA's field as they have risen above Sega's benchmark World Series Baseball franchise. While some smoother scrolling would be greatly appreciated, they have to save something for the next years edition. There aren't many baseball games that come this highly recommended.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:34 PM