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     " I donít know about you, but I donít like those baseball games where the score is more like a football game. "

      Title: Triple Play 2002 by EA Sports

      Format: Baseball for PS2

      Reviewing Monkey: Simi N.

      The Hype: Take control of your favorite baseball team. Make the calls, choose the pitches, throw down a bunt, steal home, this game lets you do everything on whatever team you want. You get to choose between full length seasons, short seasons, or you can just go straight to the playoffs for all the glory. Whatever way you choose you will be awed by the graphics and the amount of control you get.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: My roommates actually thought I was watching a baseball game until they saw that David Bell had a .537 batting average (of course my roommates donít follow baseball and donít play a lot of video games). Really, the graphics are sweet. Definitely above the level of detail brought to us with Madden 2001, in this game the skin tone looks a bit more realistic, and the playersí movements are more natural. The stadiums are extremely true to life, except the advertisements, I personally never saw an advertisement for "Chork Lite" before. The biggest disappointment in this game is the crowd graphics. In one way they are kid of cool, because they move, and when they are far away they actually look decent, but when you get those close shots, the crowd looks like a picture of an actual crowd that has been blurred beyond recognition. At one point I even saw where the game makers had cut a person in half at the end of a row of seating. It should also be noted that this game has a wide screen mode for all of you who have wide screen TVs. 4 out of 5.

      Sound: Oh yeah the roar of the crowd, the crack of the bat, the sound of the ball smacking leather gloves, the announcers and, of course, that one drunk jackass in the crowd yelling, "címon give me something to write home about" or, "Iíve seen better hands on a snake!" The sound is just right on, you almost feel as if you are watching a game. Even the color commentary is as repetitive and annoying as in real life. The only problem with it is that it can sometimes get a bit behind the action, but only every once in a while. Another problem is the way that some sentences sound when they are spliced together. Itís the classic syndrome that every game has had since announcers were introduced. When the announcer says "a run scores FOR SEATTLE" and the Ďfor Seattleí part is said with a completely different tone of voice. This doesnít get really annoying unless it is repeated a lot. 4 out of 5.

      Game Play: There is no way that a person could actually pull off a triple play in this game, the double plays are hard enough as it is. Of course it helps when you donít keep throwing to the wrong base (not a fault of the game, rather a fault of my own stupidity). The game is very easy to play, some of the pertinent controls appear on screen when you are pitching, or about to bat, and it is set up like most other baseball games, the D-pad buttons correspond to the bases on the diamond. The only problems are: all of your outfielders seem to move very slowly, and the game picks stupid people for you to control when someone hits a ball. For example if a person hits a sharp ground ball towards left field between the shortstop and the third baseman, the game selects the left fielder for you. As a result your efforts to make the shortstop dive for the ball simply makes the left fielder dive. Yes you have the ability to change the player you want to control, but when this type of thing happens it would be too late by the time you switched players for the one you want to dive for the ball. The other annoying thing is that when you pitch the ball (and you get to choose anywhere in or out of the strike zone) it almost always either ends up very near where you chose to pitch it, or it ends up outside the zone. But when the computer pitches, the ball is rarely where they left it, and is usually still a strike. 3.5 out of 5.

      Level and Environment Designs: Each "level" is actually a stadium. The stadiums are extremely true to life. Everything is recognizable (except for the ads), the shapes are all the same, the scoreboards, big screens, flags, lights, and everything is reproduced precisely. The grass looks great, but the crowd could have used a bit more work. 4.5 out of 5.

      Multiplayer: Here is the problem with multiplayer. Just like in the one player mode the pitcher chooses a spot to pitch the ball, and the batter can see where the pitcher is pitching, so he moves his bat cursor over the same spot. The pitcherís only chance of fooling the hitter is with different speeds or with sliders, curve balls, and sinkers (which are supposed to move away from where you set the cursor, but all too often donít). This leads to tons of extremely high scoring games where teams average 33 hits each. It is ridiculous! I donít know about you, but I donít like those baseball games where the score is more like a football game. There should have been more ways for the pitcher to fool the batter (like moving the ball further up or down, in or away, after he picks his spot). Despite this, the game is still fun to play with your friends. 3.5 out of 5.

      Replayability: If you actually play a full 162 game season, you probably wonít play another one until you buy the more current version of the game that has all of your favorite players, but if you play the shorter game modes you will never stop playing the game. The multiplayer mode factors in too, even though the games can be aggravatingly high scoring, it is still fun to play with your friends, even if you already played a full season. 4 out of 5.

      Story/Dramatics: N/A

      Instructions and Learning Curve: The game is so simple you only have to read about two pages in the manual. But he manual has useful information to make you a better player anyway. You should have this game figured out (but not necessarily mastered) in ten minutes tops. 5 out of 5.

      Installation and Real System Requirements: The save file size for this game is very reasonable (especially considering the usual size for sports games), and the game supports the analog buttons of the Dual Shock 2 controller. But the best part is that the load times are fairly quick (although the loading screen could have been more useful Ė like in Madden). 4 out of 5.

      The Verdict:


       Despite a couple of issues this game is still really fun to play. You may not like some of the gameís decisions (what fielder you pick, when you get jammed etc.) but it just adds to the kind of frustration that you get when watching an actual game. And hey, it looks great.

      The Good: Great graphics, easy to learn, very accurate stadium design, and just plain fun.

      The Bad: Sometimes the game wonít give you the chance to make a great play, it doesnít have Ichiro, and in two-player mode it is way to easy to score a crap-load of points.

      The Overall Ugly: This is a damn fine Baseball game. Get it if you like baseball, but donít expect it to have all of your favorite players from the 2001 season.

      What it's Worth: Market.

Buy it direct from Amazon.com

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