The game turns the single most challenging action in sports into child's play.
It's very appropriate that the first words you hear when you begin playing Triple Play Baseball are, "That ball's outta here!" After all, it's the latest installment in an action-packed sports series that's always emphasized home-run excitement over meticulous stat crunching. And perhaps with good reason: America didn't go crazy over the national pastime in the summer of '98 because Greg Maddux led the Majors with a 2.22 ERA. Anyone who witnessed the media frenzy focused on the race to catch Roger Maris could hardly blame EA Sports for trying to cash in on the long-ball heroics of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
But you can blame EA Sports for taking this to an extreme. Offense has completely consumed the Triple Play Baseball series, to the point that the current edition isn't so much a computer representation of baseball as a rough simulation of hitting a ball with a stick. Every other aspect of the real sport has also been dumbed down to the point of irrelevance. Pitching, baserunning, fielding, and those all-important managerial moves mean nothing as long as you have good hand-eye coordination. Gameplay has devolved to a simple button-pushing exercise.
All of this would be at least partly excusable if playing the game itself were enjoyable. It isn't, and the main reason is overkill. Every Triple Play contest features a minimum of three dozen hits. This turns nine innings into an hour-long marathon that will try the patience of even the most dedicated player. Regardless of whether you're playing on the rookie, pro, or all-star difficulty settings, hits are so easy to come by that you'll rack up two or three per inning. Your final box score almost always reads like something out of a slo-pitch beer league. Home runs and hard shots to the gap are such routine events that they've been robbed of their natural drama and excitement.
Needless to say, this is the result of a thoroughly unrealistic pitching/batting model. The game turns the single most challenging action in sports into child's play. Hitting against computer pitching is ridiculously easy because you can get the end of your bat on anything this side of a pitchout. You can make solid contact on everything from balls thrown outside in the dirt to balls thrown inside at your head. Just time the swing right, and you're golden. This is simplified even more by the fact that computer pitchers refuse to "work" batters. Instead of trying to keep the hitter off-balance with a variety of pitch types, locations, and speeds, the computer-controlled hurler will often keep to the center of the plate. Swing early and often in Triple Play Baseball, and you can turn Rico Brogna into Ted Williams.
Pitching against the computer is similarly handicapped in that you can't fool your opponent into swinging at bad pitches. Switching speeds, mixing up fastballs and junk, and just generally moving the ball around are meaningless since the computer won't take the bait on pitches out of the strike zone (on difficulty levels above rookie). If you attempt to mess with the digital batter's mind the way that a flesh-and-blood pitcher would, you'll be rewarded by constantly falling behind in the count and then surrendering long singles or mammoth dingers into the bleachers. The only way to deal with this is by giving the computer exactly what it doesn't expect--grooved pitches in the middle of the plate at the start of every at bat. Our most successful games came as a result of simply gunning fastballs down the pipe for nine full innings.
- Player Reviews: 1
- Game Universe:
- Triple Play 2001 (PS, PC, GBC),
- Triple Play 2002 (PS2, XBOX),
- Triple Play Baseball (PS2, PS, PC),
- MVP Baseball 2003 (XBOX, PS2, PC),
- MVP Baseball 2004 (PS2, PC, GC, XBOX),
- Triple Play 2000 (PC, N64, PS),
- Triple Play 97 (PC, PS),
- Triple Play 98 (PC, PS),
- Triple Play 99 (PC, PS),
- Triple Play Gold Edition (GEN)
- Number of Players: