Dale read my mind as far as his final paragraph goes. It's as though EA Sports and most other developers basically gave up on the PlayStation in the face of newer consoles and try to excuse their consistently ugly-ass graphics due to supposed hardware limitations. If you look at most of the titles produced by Squaresoft, Capcom and Naughty Dog, you can tell that the excuse doesn't hold much water, and the PlayStation is still capable of producing clean graphics and smooth animation.

That said, Triple Play 2001 is prime example of the former; a visually poor excuse for any baseball game. This title could have been released two years ago, and I still would have proclaimed the graphics and animation to be hideously shoddy. If this is the best they can do with 32-bit, 3D graphics, I'd gladly see the return of sprite-based 16-bit graphics for baseball games that I can recall as being much more attractive.

Speaking of the gameplay in Triple Play 2001 doesn't really prove much more positive either. The baseball purist in me was borderline revolted at how the game conceptually focuses so much on earning arcade-style cheat extras, like being able to give players big heads, giant bats, etc. When most people think of baseball, I think they have something a little more dignified and respectful in mind. At times, Triple Play 2001 makes the game of baseball look more like a three ring circus.

I was further surprised by overly simplified gameplay. EA Sports is usually a brand associated with hardcore sports fans, but you wouldn't know it with Triple Play 2001. Even the hardest and most complex difficulty settings are amazingly simplistic and reminded me of baseball games on the 8-bit NES. And as Dale alludes to in his review, in-game physics are spotty and hitting homeruns is as easy as stepping up to the plate.

Nonetheless, between those obnoxious extras and overly simplified gameplay, the game still manages to cobble together enough simulation modes for the me to take the game seriously. Triple Play 2001 can't hold a match next to All-Star Baseball 2001 on the Nintendo 64, but it does manage to present a package of features that's more appealing and more complete than MLB 2001 (which is just as visually atrocious) on the PlayStation. So for what its worth, Triple Play 2001 can be considered the best of the worst. Rating: 5 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui
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