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Review by: Shawn Quigley
Published: July 2, 1997
The time once again has arrived when the next version of EA’s popular baseball series, Triple Play ’98, hits the shelves. There are major improvements to different areas within the game, with the graphics being the most notable. EA Sports has always been known to provide a good balance between realism and the excitement of playing a game “arcade” style.
The graphics in Triple Play ’98 are some of the best ever seen in a PC version of a baseball simulation. The game will automatically detect the highest resolution that your system can handle. The rendering of the players was one of the more noticeable changes since the last version of Triple Play. No more are the players just static representations of baseball players, but they actually act and do things like real baseball players. Between pitches players will walk around, sway back and forth, smack their fists into their gloves, basically “live” on the field. This gives the game a real polished look.
There are different options of playing baseball in Triple Play ’98: exhibition games, seasons, series, All-Star game, Homerun Derby, and practice modes. The practice mode has received considerable attention and now allows you to choose what element of baseball you would like to practice. You can practice batting, pitching and fielding. When practicing fielding, you choose the player you want to use and then set what you want to practice, such as fly balls or grounders. Just like in fielding, for pitching and batting you also choose which player you would like to practice with. Usually, practicing inside sports games was not very useful, but in Triple Play ’98 it is very useful. There is not a better way to get the hang of maneuvering players around the field than in practice mode.
The sound system that is part of Triple Play ’98 has been enhanced to allow for “Atmospheric Effects” and crowd intelligence. The crowd in the game will react to the way your team is playing. If the play on the field gets exciting, then so does the crowd. Triple Play ’98 is also one of the first games to introduce two color commentators.
The viewing of the game has also been given an enhancement by offering more than 20 different camera views of the action. You can easily cycle through the different views through the press of a button and you can also set up preferences based on whether you are at bat or on the field.
Triple Play ’98 includes all the standard teams including the new expansion teams. All the stats are from 1996 with the team rosters being the most current rosters at the start of this year’s season. A new addition to this release of Triple Play ’98 is signature moves of certain players. These moves could be certain routines a player does when they go to the plate or mannerisms that they do while in the field. This is really noticeable when you are playing with teams with which you are familiar.
The statistical engine within Triple Play ’98 goes as deep, as many different stats are tracked during gameplay. In season mode, you can trade and release players while following their different stats. Along with the statistical engine, each team has its own intelligence, letting the players play like their real life counterparts.
Multiplayer mode is also included in this version of the game allowing you to play against friends that are using a different computer system. You can either play over a standard network or you can link up to the other players via a modem. Multiplayer mode allows you to see who is king of the mound as well as the master of the bat.
For one of the first sports titles to hit the market using new 3D technology, EA Sports has introduced a new standard for baseball simulations. Although there are some parts of the game that purists will not take to such as the lack of a robust statistical “fantasy” system, Triple Play ’98 delivers uncompromised arcade level baseball to the PC.
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